Gleams & Notions

Cosmetics in the News

By Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant | October 1, 2010

It is time once again for my occasional roundup of media articles and cartoons pertaining to our industry. The following is a rare non-political Doonesbury cartoon by Gary Trudeau. Those of us who are consultants may resent the sarcasm, but often there are slow days.It is a six-panel cartoon depicting a little girl talking to her father who is sitting at his desk in front of a computer. The dialogue is:

“Hi Daddy, did you have a nice day?

Hi Sweetheart. Yes I did.

Whatcha do?

Um…Well, all sorts of things. First, I looked over my schedule. Then I checked my e-mail and voice mail to see if I had any important messages.

After that I watched a couple of hours of C-Span, and then I downloaded some software from the ‘net. And then, finally, I untangled the phone cord.


Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be a consultant too.

Well, it’s not always that glamorous, Sweetheart.”

Bursting Your Bubble

MIT researcher James C. Bird, studied popping bubbles with a high-speed camera to investigate what happens to the hemispheric bubble after it bursts. He discovered that when a bubble bursts, its surface film folds back onto itself and traps a doughnut-shaped pocket of air. Surface tension causes this ring to break, resulting in a set of small droplets called daughter bubbles. This effect lasts for one more generation before it stops. The viscosity of the bubble is related to the daughter bubble effect.

A low viscosity soap bubble generates daughter bubbles, but a bubble made from a more viscous material such as molasses or chocolate syrup will not.

On the lighter side of the news, a lady from Salt Lake City, UT was in a car crash last year that, she said, was the most dramatic event of her life.Why? Her fingernails broke off. She had not cut her nails since 1979 and was in the “Guinness Book of World Records” in 2002 for longest fingernails for a woman (apparently, there is a separate category for men).

In 2008, her nails measured a total of more than 28 feet long, with the longest nail on her right thumb at two feet, eleven inches.She says that her hands seem to fly now with the weight of the nails gone, and she won’t grow them again since it took 30 years the first time and she may not live another 30.I imagine that her local nail salon did much business with her by supplying nail polish and upkeep.

A Mother Goose & Grimm cartoon comments on product testing by depicting Mr. and Mrs. Caveman standing over a blazing fire in their cave.

She says “Great invention… Let’s try testing it on animals.”The dog lying on the ground next to her has a startled expression on his face. PETA should love this cartoon.

Benefit of Broccoli
Let us now leave the funny pages and discuss broccoli juice. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore tested a broccoli juice extract on six volunteers exposed to pulses of UV radiation and found that the treatment reduced sunburn symptoms by up to 78%. It was reported that conventional sunscreens used in the same experiments were essentially ineffective. The ointment was made from extracts of three-day-old broccoli sprouts, which are rich in protective compounds called sulphoraphanes.

Unlike organic sunscreens, sulphora- phanes do not absorb UV light to prevent it from entering the skin. Instead, they work inside the body by boosting the production of enzymes that protect cells against UV damage and the risk of skin cancer. The results were reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the lead author was Professor Paul Talalay. If more tests show these results to be consistent, this could be an interesting new cosmetic sunscreen.

Harvey Fishman has a consulting firm located at 34 Chicasaw Drive, Oakland, NJ 07436,, specializing in cosmetic formulations and new product ideas, offering tested finished products. He has more than 30 years of experience and has been director of research at Bonat, Nestlé LeMur and Turner Hall. He welcomes descriptive literature from suppliers and bench chemists and others in the field.
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