One thousand tubes of lipstick FOR SCIENCE
May 6, 2013 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Do you wear makeup? Are you a giant nerd? If so, you should check out Brightest Bulb in the Box: Beauty for Critical Minds. Robyn examines makeup and beauty care products with a scientific eye, performing comparison tests and debunking pseudoscientific bullshit to the delight of anyone who wants to know what they're buying.

She's only been writing the blog since December 2012, but highlights include:

What Telomeres are, and why they mean that Revlon's anti-aging creams are full of it
Wash your brushes, you dirty hippie
A Mega Comparison of Eyeshadow Primers
How many swipes are there in a tube of lipstick?
What is a "Cosmeceutical"?

Empiricists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but paying too much for crappy eyeliner that disintegrates before lunchtime!
posted by KathrynT (19 comments total) 108 users marked this as a favorite
As a non makeup-wearer, I must admit to a great deal of being weirded/freaked/creeped-out whenever I have to tread into the cosmetics aisles with the missus during our Saturday outing to the local big-box. It's really an incomprehensible world to me.

But, since I honestly can't see what's supposed to be happening here, I'm supposing I'm not, in any way, the intended audience anyway.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2013

On top of the bullshit puncturing, she reviews products I actually use. Also, I love that she figures out the costs per ounce. (Not that anyone couldn't, but seeing the comparisons written out brings it home about the costs.)
posted by immlass at 1:04 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, this is GREAT, though has the unfortunate side effect of making me want to go on a nail applique shopping spree.
posted by leesh at 1:06 PM on May 6, 2013

I don't think I could count the number of Sephora product descriptions I've rolled my eyes at in my life. I love this.

(Also it's really cool that this is written by somebody who is into beauty products/makeup and not some 'makeup is for the STUPID' type)
posted by sonmi at 1:07 PM on May 6, 2013 [6 favorites]

I LOVE her writing, she get a magazine column for her Beauty Bullshit posts.
posted by bobdow at 1:08 PM on May 6, 2013

I honestly can't see what's supposed to be happening here

She filled in her eyebrows with powder and then with powder and pencil. The effect is subtle, no doubt, but looks good. Someone might desire thicker, fuller brows since they are associated with youth and health (and of course therefor beauty).

The dirty brush post makes me feel very icky. I'm going to wash my brushes when I get home today. Really, really thoroughly.
posted by Vysharra at 1:08 PM on May 6, 2013

Thorzdad, look at her eyebrows in the picture. Absolutely love this blog, thanks for bringing it to my attention! Not looking forward to the end of the brush cleaning post, may have to go on a huge brush cleaning spree!
posted by ellieBOA at 1:09 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

God and this was as bad as I was expecting:

There also seems to be a few colonies from the genera Bacillus and Colstridium, although, again, I am not certain about the species. Other likely culprits include Staphylococcus and Streptococcu
posted by ellieBOA at 1:11 PM on May 6, 2013

I love it that she captions photos where she's tested products as, "on Human Face," especially "Fairy Kisses on Human Face."
posted by gladly at 1:36 PM on May 6, 2013

The dirty brush post makes me feel very icky. I'm going to wash my brushes when I get home today. Really, really thoroughly.
OK, but there's no evidence whatsoever that microbes on a makeup brush cause disease. Mostly it's a meaningless gross-out demonstration, like when they compare how clean "X" is versus "a toilet seat". (Hint: the average container of Yoplait has about 3.5 gazillion times more microbes.)
posted by IAmBroom at 1:43 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

That eye primer post is really cool and interesting, but seeing the cost per ounce of the product made my wallet clench. Yow.

It's ten different kinds of awesome that beauty blogging makes it actually so much easier (and cheaper) to buy makeup, all the while (if the blogger is any good) cutting through the marketing bullshit.

I still can't find a foundation match to save my life, but hey - this way I don't have to waste money buying up useless bottles. Thank you, beauty blogs!
posted by zennish at 2:33 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I also now need to buy some nail appliqués. I particularly loved this line - 'I should note that I operationally defined "no longer wearable" as five small chips or chips that were large enough that my nails looked like shit.'

Her analysis of the shit (technical term) on make-up brushes is what's known as a preliminary analysis. She compared a washed brush to an unwashed brush which is not a gross-out demonstration; it's control vs. experimental (n=1, which is why it's preliminary). A better comparison would be toilet seat vs. cleaned toilet seat (also toilet season are pretty clean - much better than make-up brushes I bet). She also doesn't say these microbes cause diseases although you must realize that some strains of these do cause problems in humans. If you're rubbing something all over your face (and possibly into say a zit you really shouldn't have popped but couldn't resist), it's probably good to wash it occasionally (/tonight).
posted by hydrobatidae at 2:47 PM on May 6, 2013

I love this blog! Especially the beauty bullshit posts. Makeup and anti-aging are so filled with hand-wavey woo that it's hard, I think, for most people to distinguish the true from the false. Which might not be the biggest deal if so many women weren't forking over hundreds of dollars a pop for a four ounce pot of anti-aging cream that has claims which outweigh it's noticeable benefits.
posted by triggerfinger at 3:26 PM on May 6, 2013

this is great! I am so sending this to all my nerd girl friends
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:36 PM on May 6, 2013

Zennish, they now have a gadget at Sephora that does basically what the eyedropper sample tool does on Photoshop -- it optically samples the color of your skin like a CMYK value, and then comes back with exact color matches in foundations based on what Sephora carries. I got matches for Laura Mercier, MUFE, etc., and apart from opacity, thickness, oiliness, etc., the shades were PERFECT matches for my face. I have had a terrible time with foundation and this has been the first time I've really found colors that work for me.
posted by jfwlucy at 6:41 PM on May 6, 2013

Mark me down for the nail appliqué shopping party -thanks for the post!
posted by PaulaSchultz at 10:08 PM on May 6, 2013

This is great, thanks! That Revlon telomere post is badass.

People who appreciate this blog might also like this post I found the other day: a review of a nail varnish called Blue Screen of Death, with added computer history. :)

[I get 2/3 of my information from MeFi, so apologies if this was posted here and you've all already seen it.]
posted by daisyk at 12:15 AM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you're rubbing something all over your face (and possibly into say a zit you really shouldn't have popped but couldn't resist), it's probably good to wash it occasionally (/tonight).
Citation, hydrobatidae? Any proof that unwashed brushes rubbed on faces causes... anything more than makeup distribution?
posted by IAmBroom at 9:18 AM on May 9, 2013

I thought I couched it pretty well (note my "probably").

I wash my facecloths frequently because I rub them over my face. I wash my towels after drying my clean self off because it's good to wash things.

You may argue that the moisture level between make-up brushes and towels differ, and I would agree! But there is oil and sweat on my face which would get transfered to my make-up brushes. These do not result in the same moisture levels but they would provide more food potential for bacteria.

In conclusion, I don't see anything wrong with washing your brushes as a 'better safe than sorry' thing and I can see a possible mechanism for brushes to be a location of bacterial growth which could then be spread to other areas. Obviously say no to antibiotic washes. I just use soap.
posted by hydrobatidae at 9:58 AM on May 10, 2013

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