Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Epiphanies in Cosmetic Chemistry

Chemistry was NEVER my subject. The periodic table of elements was just way too intimidating for me in high school. In college… well, let’s just say my psychology major was a strategic choice.  I would have never guessed that I’d have to look at that periodic table again - - in beauty school no less.  

ENTER (drum roll please) … COSMETIC CHEMISTRY.

“The state board of TN and Nashvegas Beauty U want you to understand how cosmetics and skin care products are created.”

That’s all Miss. Kellie had to say. I can dig it, Miss. Kellie - - now you’ve got my attention. There are few situations where I would agree to strap on some crazy lab goggles and rubber gloves, but I’m TOTALLY up for it if it means I get to take a shot at creating the world’s next anti-wrinkle cream. 

I must have been feeling a little philosophical this week.   It’s crazy when you start to parallel your life and the ingredients you’re mixing together in the makeup lab.

Let me explain - -  

When you mix two substances together that can’t typically be mixed, you create what’s called an EMULSION (oil and water for instance). With skin care products and makeup, emulsions are created all the time. The key to effectively mixing the two “unblendable” substances is to add an ingredient called a SURFACTANT. The surfactant molecule is capable of bonding the two unblendable substances together, because the surfactant has a water-loving side AND an oil-loving side. You guessed it - the water loving side marries the water ingredient, and the oil loving side marries the oil ingredient, and the three live happily ever after in the form of a super-duper spreadable skin lotion that claims to keep you baby soft as long as you use it twice a day. 

Ok. Enough chemistry. Back to my philosophical moment -

I'm five months into my beauty adventure and I’m starting to feel a bit like a surfactant. One side of me is pulling on my current health insurance career (the one that is paying the bills), and the other side is trying to rein in my love for the manic beauty industry - - two chemicals that just don’t want to mix. It seems like health care reform and eyebrow arching should be able to get together over a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and work this thing out.

Then again – I guess we’re all a little “surfactant-ish” every now and then. 

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

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