Do-It-Yourself Haircare and Skin Care

Airdate: 2/7/14

Is a honey mask the answer for acne? What about lemon juice for lightening brown spots? And does the “No Poo” method really improve hair? Find out the answers to those questions and more as Paula’s Choice Research Team members Bryan Barron and Nathan Rivas discuss do-it yourself hair- and skin-care products! You’ll learn what works—and which DIY products are a waste of time.

Bryan Barron: Hello everyone. Welcome to the all new “Be Beautifully Informed with Paula Begoun and the Paula’s Choice Research Team Radio Show.” Today we’re going to be talking about do-it-yourself hair care and skincare. And you’re listening to Bryan Barron, that’s me, the research and content director at Paula’s Choice. And with me in the studio today is Nathan Rivas. He is our social media community manager and senior research team member.
00:00:28** We rely on Nathan for all kinds of things, including Starbucks runs.
Nathan Rivas: I love Starbucks.
Bryan Barron: He keeps us all caffeinated and make sure that we’re on our toes and does a brilliant job of making sure that Paula’s Choice presents its best face to the world and just an all-around great guy to work with. So, welcome Nathan.
Nathan Rivas: Hello.
Bryan Barron: And one of the reasons that Nathan is joining us for this particular show is because the topic of do-it-yourself skincare and hair care comes up quite a bit in social media.
Nathan Rivas: It does.
Bryan Barron: And so it was Nathan’s prodding…
Nathan Rivas: Ha!
Bryan Barron: If I can use that word. He’s like, “We really need to do a show on this. People keep asking.” And so, you know, all right, sure, why not? Let’s talk about it. And so what we did was we picked some of the DIY products that you ask us about the most.
00:01:18** So, we’re going to talk about honey for acne. We’re going to talk about lemon juice for discolorations. We’re going to talk about the “No Poo” method. We’re going to talk about aspirin masks. And all kinds of stuff. So, if do-it-yourself beauty is something you’ve been curious about, if it’s something you’ve tried with disastrous results and you thought, “I don’t understand. It was supposed to work perfectly!” We’re going to tell you why it didn’t work out and we’re going to tell you which do-it-yourself projects at home, skincare, hair care, not putting up dry wall…
Nathan Rivas: Ha!
Bryan Barron: …are going to be worth your time and worth your money. So, without further adieu, let’s just get right into it.
00:01:57** And, Nathan, let’s start with…
Nathan Rivas: The “No Poo” method?
Bryan Barron: …the “No Poo” method.
Nathan Rivas: I love this name. “No Poo.” No Poo Method.
Bryan Barron: No Poo as in No Shampoo.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: Not no pooh as in you’re constipated.
Nathan Rivas: I know. We’re going to say, “Eat a lot of bread.” Ha! So, what the No Poo method is, a quick primer on this was the No Poo method really is kind of an internet, you know, more or less sensation that really denigrates the use of cleansing agents, any type of cleansing, common cleansing agent you would find in shampoos.
00:02:30** Usually it frames cleansing agents as being toxic or being extremely damaging on hair and how you really have to do something more natural to bring out all of your hair’s potential, or what have you. So, this method avoids kind of what they frame as toxic cleansing agents in favor of vinegar and baking soda.
Bryan Barron: Oh my gosh.
Nathan Rivas: Vinegar and baking soda . Well, so the whole claim with this, the home remedy of vinegar and baking soda method is that, you know, using one will help bring out the shine and reduce the buildup on your hair.
00:03:03** And then using the other will help to counteract the acidic effects of vinegar. So, as far as vinegar goes, well, there’s really no credible research-based information that shows that doing a vinegar and baking soda rinse in your hair will have any type of benefit for maintaining healthy hair or improving its…
Bryan Barron: Plus, just to interject, it smells terrible!
Nathan Rivas: Yes. Yes.
Bryan Barron: It smells awful!
Nathan Rivas: Yeah. You never smell vinegar and are like, “Oh, that’s great. What is that?”
Bryan Barron: It is probably the most inelegant way to wash your hair that you can think of.
00:03:39** I would rather shampoo with sand.
Nathan Rivas: Ha! Well, all vinegars are a problem for not only hair but also for skin. You know, for those who’ve asked about vinegars, toners for acne, vinegar is highly acidic. The pH of a lot of vinegar seems to be quite low, right around 2, which is very damaging to both skin and the hair itself. So, especially if we’re doing this on a repeated basis, it’s not a good idea.
Bryan Barron: It’s going to [lock] the cuticle.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
00:04:08** It’s not, and you know, for those people who have very normal hair or very healthy hair, they probably wouldn’t notice as much damage at first, but certainly if you have a lot of color treated or chemical treatments done, it can really wreak some havoc on hair fairly quickly. So, the counter to the vinegar is you’re supposed to rinse your hair with baking soda. And baking soda is quite alkaline.
00:04:31** Has a pH of around 10. But, I mean, the amount of harshness here can depend on how much you’re using and how damaged your hair is to begin with. But, because of how alkaline baking soda is, it absolutely wreaks havoc on a lot of different elements, especially the cuticle of the hair shafts. It can make it very rough. It can make it very dry. The more baking soda you use, the more damaging it can be. Again, your experience with this method might vary depending on the health of your hair.
00:05:00** If you have very healthy hair, you know, you’re probably not going to notice much at first. Someone with very damaged or chemical-treated hair can notice - can really wreak some damage on hair. So, the bottom line with this is that there is nothing wrong with cleansing agents, especially, there’s a lot of very gentle, very mild cleansing agents out there in formulas. You know, sulfates aren’t bad for your hair. There are some strong sulfates that can be damaging, like sodium lauryl sulfates.
00:05:27** A lot of very gentle ones, like sodium laureth. Also, a lot of the ingredients that are used in alternative to sulfates, I mean, there’s really no difference in how they work in terms of how the emulsify things off skin. You know, there’s really no - not a lick of research anywhere that demonstrates that sulfates are in any way harmful for hair. Certainly none - a lot of research actually out there that demonstrates the destruction that can happen to skin and hair in terms of using a very acidic substance and a very alkaline substance.
00:05:56** So, we absolutely would not recommend doing the “No Poo” method. It’s better that you just skip shampooing for a day or two instead of doing something crazy like this.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. If you tried this and have had success with it and think it’s just the best thing since sliced bread, check us out, connect with us via social media on our Facebook page, or send us a tweet about it. I have yet to meet someone who has tried this and stuck with it.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely. It’s always one of those interesting things. People get very passionate about this formula.
00:06:28** It’s almost like you’re just insulting their religious beliefs. You know, if you say that the No Poo method isn’t something that we recommend on Facebook, you know, it really does draw some very polarizing results. Those handful of people that really like it will get very, very, very adamant that it’s working. But, you know, honestly, we’re really just about the chemistry and the research behind these claims. So, whether or not you feel like it works, we’re just really going to evaluate this based upon the ingredients that you’re actually using and what their potential is to damage your skin.
Bryan Barron: Well, even, whether or not it works beautifully for some people or not, what is disappointing about the way that this method is marketed, so to speak, because it’s not like there’s a particular brand.
00:07:09** L’Oreal isn’t saying, “Here’s your vinegar and baking soda. It’s our Ever Fresh Shampoo line.”
Nathan Rivas: Our Ever Fresh!
Bryan Barron: It’s about the fact that the No Poo method denigrates every other type of shampoo and sends the misleading - actually just wrong message that all shampoos are bad and that this is the way to go.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:07:30** Let’s move onto the next one.
Nathan Rivas: So the next one, let’s look at lemon juice. Lemon juice for…
Bryan Barron: Always makes me think of Jan Brady and her freckles. If anyone remembers that episode of The Brady Bunch, where she gets a bunch of lemons and cuts them up and is putting them on her face because, you know, she’s the middle child, so she has that stigma. And she has freckles. Oy! And glasses. Actually, that sounded a lot like me, except I’m not a middle child.
Nathan Rivas: Ha!
Bryan Barron: Sorry.
00:08:01** Got a little off track there. This is our last show of the day. My voice is going.
Nathan Rivas: You’re kind of memory…
Bryan Barron: I think I’m Jan Brady.
Nathan Rivas: Some kind of trauma that happened.
Bryan Barron: Ooh! It’s almost Happy Hour, right?
Nathan Rivas: So, lemon juice for fading discolorations, and the claim here is that lemon juice - just rubbing lemons on your face - can just fade red marks and other forms of discolorations like sun damage. The only reason that I could think that this would even have become a reality somewhere is someone saw the effect of rubbing lemon juice on an apple or something and saw the browning disappear.
00:08:35** And realized, “Oh, well I’ve got brown spots or red spots on my skin. This must be the same thing.” Well, you know, the whole quick summary, as far as like lemon juice on fading discolorations on fruit, for example, that’s just about the acidity interrupting the enzyme that triggers that browning in like an apple flesh for example. That’s what that’s about. It’s not about any other type of melanin fading abilities.
00:08:58** Purely about the acidity. As far as the reality behind this claim is that lemon juice is highly acidic. And like vinegar, that is a very bad thing for skin. The other element of that is that lemon juice has some chemical compounds in it that have very detrimental effects on skin, especially if you’re looking to treat discolorations. Part of what creates that fragrance in lemons, or in a lot of citrus fruits is a chemical called limonene.
00:09:28** Limonene is like tomato/tom-ah-toe, limonene - so limonene can have potentially a result when it comes in contact with sun, especially when it’s on your skin, and it can cause what’s called a phototoxic reaction. It reacts with the UV light and that can actually introduce a discoloration onto skin. Especially, if you’re looking to treat sun damage or red marks, you don’t want to have that type of ingredient on skin.
Bryan Barron: No.
Nathan Rivas: It’s always surprising when I see it actually in skincare products like anti-acne products or discoloration products.
00:09:59** We’ve reviewed a few in the last couple of months that had that similar chemical element to it. Always a surprise. So, that alone makes this a ridiculous idea for fading discolorations. Oh, go ahead.
Bryan Barron: Also, it’s just so - I mean, going back to The Brady Bunch reference.
Nathan Rivas: Yes.
Bryan Barron: The Brady Bunch was on TV from I think 1969 to maybe ’73 or ’74. That lemon juice on freckles may have been a state-of-the-art recommendation back then, but think about what else we were doing and using back in the early ‘70s, almost 40 years ago.
00:10:33** Would you give up your iPad and go back to a typewriter, where you had to correct every mistake with Whiteout? No.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: Nobody in their right mind would do that, unless you had a very twisted sense of nostalgia and just wanted to stay firmly planted in where we were as a society 40 years ago. Lemon juice - it’s bad advice. It was bad advice then and it’s bad advice now for all of the reasons Nathan just went over.
Nathan Rivas: Especially if you’re prone - if you’re trying to fade it for red marks and you’re prone to acne, that type of irritation from lemon juice, from the various compounds can actually trigger even more breakouts from the irritation elements of it.
Bryan Barron: Absolutely.
Nathan Rivas: Definitely something you just need to just leave behind.
00:11:12** Save the lemons for your cocktails, or…
Bryan Barron: Yeah. So, let’s say your squeezing a lemon into a cocktail and you have a paper cut on your finger.
Nathan Rivas: Oh yes.
Bryan Barron: Ouch!
Nathan Rivas: Yeah. Ha!
Bryan Barron: That’s kind of, I mean, yes, the skin is broken in that sense and it’s more susceptible to a reaction, but man, lemon juice is bad news for skin.
Nathan Rivas: It is bad news in a lot of ways.
Bryan Barron: Don’t do it!
Nathan Rivas: Just leave the lemon juice behind.
Bryan Barron: So, what about honey for acne?
Nathan Rivas: Oh, okay.
Bryan Barron: Where did that - that’s just a sticky mess waiting to happen.
Nathan Rivas: It is.
Bryan Barron: Although honey is not a bad ingredient for skin.
Nathan Rivas: That’s true. It does have some antioxidant properties.
Bryan Barron: Start off by saying that.
Nathan Rivas: It does some antioxidant properties. Yeah.
00:11:50** It does have some antioxidant properties when used in a skincare formula. You know, certainly aesthetically it’s much more pleasing when used in a skincare formula. This is kind one of those instances where I would only guess that someone read that honey had antibacterial benefits and so somewhere along the way it got translated into being a treatment for acne. And there’s really not a lot of research at all that demonstrates that honey is a good option specifically for acne. And when I say specifically for acne, just because something is an antibacterial agent doesn’t mean that it’s effective on the specific bacteria that attributes to acne.
Bryan Barron: That is a very good point.
Nathan Rivas: And that p-acne is the specific bacteria that I’m referring to there.
00:12:32** So, a lot of the research around honey and its specific types of honey, like natural, very - god, I forget, the [Menucha] honey and there was one other one that was used in these studies. And it was a type of acne that is common in staph infections. You know, and especially in MRSA, so that’s really where the research comes around is using it on those types of infections. It has some antibacterial benefit. Certainly it’s not comparable to a lot of medications, but that’s beside the point.
00:13:04** When it comes to acne-causing bacteria, there is next to no research that demonstrates honey in Menucha or any other form is really a good option for bringing down that type of - those types of breakouts. Certainly, there’s really nothing harmful about it. And if for some reason you wanted to put honey all over your face and just wear it as a mask, that’s fine. But don’t expect it to replace your anti-acne routine in terms of good salicylic acid exfoliants, benzoyl peroxide, other types of approaches that research actually supports.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:13:35** I would say like maybe, because it does have some beneficial components for skin, maybe add a teaspoon of it if you’re curious to a moisturizing mask. I mean, just kind of mix that together. Because honey would not be a very elegant ingredient to slather on your face all by itself.
Nathan Rivas: No.
Bryan Barron: And I wouldn’t suggest mixing it with a clay mast that’s going to absorb oil, because I just don’t think they’d mix well together and you just end up with a sticky, gummy, clay mess. So, if you’re going to bother with it at all…
Nathan Rivas: And especially the type of action you would need to get it off your face is alone not going to be good for irritation.
00:14:13** Or, you know, for just keeping your skin healthy. Because you’re really going to have to kind of rub your face and wash it a few times and use some kind of friction, some elbow grease as they say, to get that off your skin. That’s not a good thing if you’ve got active breakouts and you’ve got zits on your face, or if you’ve got any type of sensitive skin. That’s just not a good idea.
Bryan Barron: No.
Nathan Rivas: So, no honey for acne.
Bryan Barron: I’m going to talk about hair masks using food ingredients such as avocado, mayonnaise, yogurt, and then the selling point is that these rich food ingredients, these - because these are all for the most part, especially for using whole milk yogurt, these are fattening food.
00:14:49** And the fatty acids, those fat ingredients, those saturated fats are good for dry hair or skin. Those are what we call - depending on the ingredient - they would count as a skin repairing ingredient. But, they’re just not that elegant to work with.
Nathan Rivas: Ugh, I just….
Bryan Barron: And mayonnaise in particular, because it’s the egg yolks in mayonnaise and because of the oil content in mayonnaise. And then I’ll throw another ingredient into this mix for hair masks, because we’re essentially coming up with a salad here. Olive oil! I’ve seen the recommendation to use a hair mask with olive oil.
00:15:23** Olive oil is incredibly difficult to shampoo out of your hair. Picture the worst styling product that you just had to shampoo four, or five, six times to get it all out of your hair. And then double that for olive oil. It is very hard to wash out.
Nathan Rivas: It’s unappealing to me the thought of putting…
Bryan Barron: Right. Some styling products have olive oil in it. And that’s fine, because then it’s used in a carefully calibrated amount, not straight from the bottle. That’s what I’m talking about being difficult to rinse. So, whether it’s avocado, mayonnaise, yogurt, olive oil, you are much better off using a well formulated conditioner. It does not have to be labeled a conditioning mask.
00:16:04** And just leave that on for as long as possible. Overnight if you can manage. And if you want to put a shower cap on your head so that the heat escaping from your scalp causes the conditioner to penetrate further into the hair shaft, which really does work, by the way. Go for it. You’ll look funny, but you’re going to bed anyway. Who cares.
Nathan Rivas: And you can’t look any funnier than what you would like with avocado on your head.
Bryan Barron: If you had a freaking avocado on your head! Which very quickly is going to oxidize and you’ll start to stink and attract flies.
Nathan Rivas: It’s just so unappealing to think of putting all these, like mayonnaise, just the look of like mayonnaise. Blech!
Bryan Barron: The other, one more just before we close out this topic, the mayonnaise one in particular.
00:16:41** And mayonnaise is something most of us have at home. It’s right there. Why not?
Nathan Rivas: Why not?! Ha! Why not put it on my head?!
Bryan Barron: We just told you why not. But the last issue with mayonnaise is it, again, like the vinegar and baking soda method, it definitely - it stinks.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah.
Bryan Barron: It is hard to get that mayonnaise-y/vinegar smell out of your hair.
Nathan Rivas: That’s just, no. Blech.
00:17:05** And these ingredients can’t even hold a candle to the types of ingredients that are used in just even your most basic hair care formulas now today in terms of smoothing dry/damaged hair. You know, just spend a few extra dollars and get something, you know, a hair mask from the drug store. You’ll be much happier.
Bryan Barron: So, what about, sticking with, we’re talking about yogurt. What about a yogurt mask for exfoliation? What’s that about?
Nathan Rivas: Oh, yogurt masks for exfoliation.
00:17:32** So, this is an interesting one that I see and we’re asked about, primarily because dairy has lactic acid, but specifically in yogurt what the claim is here is that lactic acid in yogurt is comparable to using an AHA product or because for those who have very sensitive skin and have had bad experiences with alpha hydroxy acid formulas, this is supposedly like a good alternative.
00:17:58** So, the reality here is that, no, you might think that something is happening and some exfoliation is occurring, but chemically, no. It’s just not possible. Number one, for a few reasons. The pH of yogurt is too high. Really, the pH tends to be right around 4/4.5 or a little higher. Actually, it’s more common to be about 4.5 or higher for yogurt. Already that’s going to be too high for really effective exfoliation to occur, even if it had a lower pH, the amount of lactic acid in yogurt is miniscule.
00:18:34** It’s actually - there’s actually a limit of lactic acid that’s set for food production. At the highest ends you can only have 1%.
Bryan Barron: And I would think that the probiotic and the bacteria in yogurt would digest - wouldn’t they digest some of the lactic acid?
Nathan Rivas: Oh, absolutely. No, it’s a good point. That actually is a good point.
Bryan Barron: Because it’s food for them.
Nathan Rivas: That’s absolutely true.
00:18:58** So, even at the highest end that’s permitted for food production at 1% would be the maximum you would ever get in a beginning formula, but you don’t know what you’re actually going to be ending up with on your face. But even regardless, the pH is already too high for that to happen. Now, yogurt, without containing any fruit bits or anything like that, I mean, if you want to put it on your face, you know, there’s really nothing harmful with it. It’s kind of - I don’t know, it seems a little unpleasant to me.
00:19:30** But in terms of if you’re looking to treat acne, or exfoliate, there’s no benefit there. You’re not really going to get that same result. If you found that you’ve had some negative experiences with alpha hydroxy acids, there are a lot of things you can do. Number one, make sure that it doesn’t contain nay irritants like fragrances or essential oils, those sorts of things. Look on Beautypedia to see what we would recommend. And then, two, you can try mixing your alpha hydroxy acid with a bit of moisturizer. A non-SPF moisturizer to help buffer it a bit more.
00:19:59** That can give you more of a gentler, milder exfoliation process.
Bryan Barron: Mm-hmm.
Nathan Rivas: Or you can experiment with BHAs. Salicylic acid has a lot of anti-inflammatory benefits to it, too, so that can be another option. But, just save the yogurt for breakfast.
Bryan Barron: So, we have two more on our list of do-it-yourself skincare, and we talked about a couple, one or two hair care options as well. So far as you can tell, we’re not big fans of the do-it-yourself skincare. Some of these are actually harmful.
00:20:31** Some of them are just kind of blah. And some of them may have some benefits, but just because of the inelegant texture and the difficulty in applying an ingredient like honey to your skin, just go buy a regular skincare product. Your life will be much easier. We promise. But the other two we wanted to bring up were do-it-yourself vitamin C serum.
Nathan Rivas: Yes.
Bryan Barron: And aspirin masks for acne. I’m going to talk about the aspirin masks for acne, and then Nathan, I’ll let you discuss the vitamin C serum do-it-yourself.
00:21:02** The claim with aspirin masks for acne is that you can take a regular aspirin tablet, crush it up into a mask, and it would be a substitute for salicylic acid. The thing is, aspirin isn’t salicylic acid and it won’t replicate the same function in terms of treating acne. It is great for reducing inflammation. I don’t know if anyone has ever tried this, but one of the things that is actually used for an aspirin paste is to use it as a [pulp] just when you get a bee sting.
00:21:31** Bee sting, the reaction to the venom, it causes a lot of inflammation and redness and tenderness. You can make a paste of aspirin, put it over that spot where the sting occurred, and then it should really help reduce the swelling and the inflammation. The relation between aspirin and salicylic acid is because aspirin is acetyl salicylic acid. They are structurally similar, but not - not quite the same ingredient.
00:21:58** However, salicylic acid retains aspirins anti-inflammatory properties which is why just sticking with a regular BHA product salicylic acid can work just as well and you don’t have to bother with the mess of aspirin and trying to put that on.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah. And the interesting thing about this, with aspirin, is that aspirin does - the amount of aspirin you need to use to even replicate or have the amount of salicylic acid that would come close to even the worst salicylic acid products in the market. I mean, you would need, oh god, you would need hundreds of aspirin tablets and some fancy laboratory equipment to really distill and get the salicylic acid out of that.
00:22:46** A couple of tablets, you’re not going to get that salicylic acid benefit. But, as Bryan mentioned, you know, it certainly can be a great anti-inflammatory for a topical skin - for treating something like an irritation like a bee string or other types of inflammation.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:23:01** Or even if you have a really bad, one of those sore painful blemishes, and you’re treating it with a topical salicylic acid product, like even the Paula’s Choice Resist BHA 9, which is a wonderful spot treatment for those types of blemishes, after the BHA 9 is set for a few minutes, if you want to try that aspirin mixture thing and make it into a bit of a paste, you could follow the BHA 9 with a layer of that. An then maybe put a Band-Aid over it so the paste doesn’t get all over your pillowcase.
00:23:30** You could see how that does for you in terms of an additional anti-inflammatory, anti-redness kick, but it is it a necessary step? No. Should it replace your BHA exfoliant because, hey, aspirin is cheap? No. Not if you want the best results. So, Nathan, what about do-it-yourself vitamin C serum?
Nathan Rivas: Oh, this one. Do-it-yourself vitamin C serums, I don’t even know where this began. But you really do kind of see it everywhere now. You can’t really find a discussion board where someone isn’t sharing their DIY vitamin C serum recipes.
00:24:05** And I wish it were this easy. This recommendation is that you can make your own vitamin C serum by mixing ascorbic acid powder with pure glycerin or just vodka for extra glowy skin.
Bryan Barron: Now, where are they getting the ascorbic acid powder? Are they crushing up vitamin C tablets?
Nathan Rivas: Oh yeah. They’re just crushing them. Straight supplements. We’re finding just loose powder supplements.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:24:27** You could probably buy powdered vitamin C or maybe use Tang.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah! Ha! Absolutely. And that’s what the whole thing is is just mixing it in a straight combination of glycerin, or ascorbic acid, you know, in a one-half or one-third parts ratio.
Bryan Barron: Did you mention the vodka?
Nathan Rivas: Oh, the vodka. Yes. That’s the other option. Instead of pure glycerin you can also just use vodka.
Bryan Barron: Because that’s safe!
Nathan Rivas: Exactly. And you’re going to get extra glowy skin from this.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, you’ll get extra glowy something.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah.
00:24:58** You know, neither glycerin nor alcohol in vodka form pure glycerin - neither one of those two bases are good for skin. They can both have a lot of irritating results. Pure glycerin can certainly produce some irritation on skin and certainly pure alcohol in the form of vodka is also something you don’t want to use on skin. And that would negate a lot of the benefit you would get from any little benefit you would get from using antioxidants on skin, especially in this formula.
00:25:29** Now everyone wants to make their own vitamin C serum, because it’s certainly cheaper than what you’d find in the industry. Vitamin C, especially in those high percentage ascorbic acid formulas can be pricy to formulate and a lot of those can be pricy in the market. So, this really sounds appealing. Now, as far as the reality here, ascorbic acid powder is not very stable itself. Even using ascorbic acid…
Bryan Barron: How would you keep that stable in a home setting?
Nathan Rivas: Exactly. Even using ascorbic acid in a formula, you know, there’s a lot of steps you have to go through to stabilize it, to test it afterwards to make sure it’s still active in terms of continuing that stability testing process.
00:26:11** And just the idea that you could just mix vitamin C powder in with some glycerin, or vodka, or what have you, and you’ll get this vitamin C serum result is - it’s just not credible. When it comes to ascorbic acid powder, as I mentioned, it’s not stable. Also, it doesn’t really dissolve, you know, very well in a formula, so it’s just not aesthetically going to be very pleasing, aside from all the negative skincare benefits.
00:26:36** And then you also don’t know how much is going to remain active on your skin. You could easily end up with a 20 or a 30 percent vitamin C serum if it were still remaining stable formula which can also have its own downsides in terms of irritation. So, you don’t…
Bryan Barron: It is an acid.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly. Exactly.
Bryan Barron: That is one of the reasons why a 15% vitamin C serum has to be formulated at a low pH, usually around 2.5 to 3.
00:27:02** Around 3 is ideal because you’re getting effectiveness without the inherent irritation that comes with it when the pH drops below 3. But, even when that precaution is taken, it can still cause some stinging.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: Upon application. It’s an acid.
Nathan Rivas: You know, and the very fact that I think there seem to be so many people who say, “Oh, I love this method,” seems to kind of speak to the fact that the ascorbic acid cannot possibly be remaining stable throughout the process.
00:27:30** Because I can’t imagine your average person just kind of loosely mixing an ascorbic acid with these other ingredients - other ingredient - in these formulas and actually getting something that’s a high percentage is still going to get anything but irritation. And the fact that people are saying it’s actually working, it’s giving them glowy skin just means that whatever small benefit remains from the little bit of active ascorbic acid, it’s really all that they’re getting and not much of the benefit.
00:27:57** it’s definitely not something we recommend. Believe me, I wish it were as easy as just making it ourselves. It would be a lot cheaper for us.
Bryan Barron: It would. Yeah. And just to close out that topic. Vitamin C, it’s like retinol. It is a very tricky ingredient to stabilize. It’s a difficult ingredient to formulate. I know the steps that we take during the manufacturing process to ensure that those ingredients remain as stable and as effective as possible by the time they reach you.
00:28:27** And I just can’t imagine ever being able to replicate that in a home environment.
Nathan Rivas: Just making it in your kitchen. Ha!
Bryan Barron: Just kind of on the fly, casual, in between commercials, think I’ll make that vitamin C toner. Shake. Shake. Shaker. Pour. Pour.
Nathan Rivas: Done.
Bryan Barron: Ugh. Believe me, though, we get why you’re interested in these types of things. It absolutely sounds appealing. It’s less expensive. For the most part you probably have these ingredients lying around your house anyway.
00:28:58** No need to go to the store.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah. Unfortunately the reality just doesn’t carry through for a lot of these.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. We can’t think of any instance where the DIY method would be a reliable or a sensible alternative to the real deal.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely. And if we did, we would just be bottling it and selling it to you. And every cosmetic company in the world would be doing the same thing.
Bryan Barron: Or telling you how to do it.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly. Or telling you how to do it. absolutely. Yes. So, unfortunately the truth is with a lot of these DIY methods, it just not as simple as it seems.
00:29:32** And if it seems too good to be true, then oftentimes it is.
Bryan Barron: Probably is. All right, everyone, that is our show on do-it-yourself skincare/hair care. There’s really no do-it-yourself makeup, is there?
Nathan Rivas: Ha! No. I can’t…
Bryan Barron: Crushing up ladybugs and making…or what is the, the Cochineal beetle that you get the….what is that coloring agent from?
Nathan Rivas: The beetles. You just said it.
Bryan Barron: No. But what is the name of the - there’s [enado], because that’s natural.
Nathan Rivas: The only one I know of comes from a beetle, the Cochineal extract.
Bryan Barron: Did I get it right?
Nathan Rivas: Yeah.
00:30:11** You did. Yeah.
Bryan Barron: All right. So, yeah, we’re not seeing a lot of do-it-yourself makeup and it’s probably because everyone who’s ever tried that has thought, “Nuts to this, I’m going back to the drugstore. Cover Girl it is!”
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: So, all right, thank you everyone for listening. We hope this show was informative for you. Visit us any time at PaulasChoice.com. Hit us up via your favorite social media site. Chances are we’re there. Look for Paula’s Choice and join the discussion. And we’ll talk with you next time. Thanks.
Nathan Rivas: Thanks everyone.
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