Everywhere you look, across generations and time zones, youth has been the most prized and the most fleeting possession. As a young girl, I clearly recall thinking that the Russian expression “a woman of Balzac’s age” referred to an experienced, mature, older woman – someone past her prime… “A woman of Balzac’s age” is precisely that – an experienced, mature, older woman of 30!!! That woman no more for quite some time now, I’d be disingenuous if I said I love everything about getting older.
As I’ve become more discerning, so has my skin. What may work for a nineteen year old girl (and what doesn’t work for a nineteen year old girl?) doesn’t necessarily move the needle ten years down the line. We cannot rely on nature alone, and “nurture” requires some research and discipline.
I was not immune to jumping on the “all natural,” “organic” or “without xyz” train and filling my vanity with products that are touted as “safe” by celebrities. Thankfully, I have my chemical engineer grandmother, who stops me from making unwise purchases by dispelling the myths so artfully crafted by the marketers.
Let’s examine the hair color product category. If you’ve ever colored your hair with an ammonia heavy product, you may be familiar with how destructive it is to your hair. So are products without ammonia automatically superior to those containing ammonia? The answer really depends on a few variables. First, we have to understand that ammonia is the activator of the chemical process required to change your hair color; if ammonia is not present, the product must contain another activator or be activated by oxygen. Make sure you know the alternative to ammonia used and its side effects before you get excited. For instance, ethanolamine is a much gentler activator, but if you have gray hair, you may need to keep the product on for up to 50% longer than the recommended time – that is also far from ideal for your hair.
Another commonly misrepresented category is emollients. Water and oil don’t mix – they just don’t. So if you’re looking at any product that contains both and doesn’t separate, it must contain an emulsifier. If your shampoo, conditioner, face wash or cream doesn’t go bad after a week, it must contain preservatives. Don’t fall for the “all natural” claims without taking a deeper dive. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound, yet, I doubt you’d want to find it in the list of ingredients for any product you use. Read the ingredients and understand the necessary processes that must take place for the products to work effectively.
I’d love to roll back the clock on my skin, slap on some olive oil, seal in that youthful glow and call it a day. Alas, it’s not happening. But our ASL face cream will get you close – with ingredients that are safe and effective.