It’s been well over a year ago now since we held the No-Makeup Challenge, and got these inspiring results from readers who dared to go barefaced in public and snap a pic for us. The point of the challenge was never to get down on makeup—we’re both huge fans of the transformative power of lipsticks, eye liners, concealers and blushes—but to call into question our dependance on the stuff, and just to re-introduce everyone to their face without it. If only for a few hours.

But now the Globe and Mail is reporting that a poll conducted of 1,292 adult American women has found that most of us feel either unnactractive (16%), naked (14%), or selfconscious (14%) when we don’t wear makeup. Guh. Do you fall into one of these categories?

I, for one, used to go to sleep with my mascara and eye liner on—only to wake up and reapply. Setting aside the fact that that is a disgusting, bacteria-filled nightmare, for many years the only time I saw my face free of makeup was for those few moments after a shower and before I left for work. If I had a boy over, I’d usually apply a little something-something in secret before he could see me in my true form. God forbid.

A lot has changed since then. While I still live for makeup (really I love the stuff) I have gotten accustomed to what I look like without it. Just yesterday I noticed that by 11am, the bright lipstick I’d applied to go into public had all but disappeared and I didn’t think much of spending the rest of the day with nothing on. I wasn’t thrilled when I looked in the mirror or anything, but I felt OK, and I was busy, and I pretty much forgot about it.

What about you: Do you ever go barefaced? Is it maybe time for another challenge?

As it happens, we got a wonderful email just this morning from a teenager who came across our the No-Makeup Challenge and, for a class project, is going to hold a No-Makeup Day at her high school.  She promised to send us pics, and we couldn’t be more touched. We can only hope these younger girls will feel a little more freedom when it comes to their faces.

We’re gonna guess even supermodels feel weird barefaced. Image via

Well whad’ya know, even though they say it’s not a concern on their website, the FDA has done another study on lead in lipstick. You may recall that back in 2007 they found lead in 23 of the 23 lipsticks they tested—this time they found it in 400.

From TIME:

The worst offenders on the list were Maybelline’s Color Sensation in Pink Petal, which had 7.19 parts per million of lead, and L’Oreal Colour Riche in Volcanic, which had 7 parts per million. Several other brands, including Cover Girl and Nars had products hovering in the 4-to-5-parts-per-million range. (The average lead concentration found across the 400 lipsticks was 1.11 parts per million; click here to see the products ranked.)

The big news is that levels are now higher than the last time they tested. In the 2007 study, none of the lipsticks exceeded 3 parts per million. Never mind that the acceptable level for lead in water is ZERO, that lead accumulates in the body, that women and their boyfriends and their kids end up eating it off their lips, that lead is absorbed through the skin, and last but not least, that any toxicologist worth their salt will tell you that no level of lead is acceptable, because it’s a neurotoxin and proven to wreak havoc even in small amounts.

We’d be lying if this study doesn’t make us want to throw our hands in the air, flip a few birds, and then maybe throw something at a wall. Really, it’s gotten worse? Oh, and hey Maybelline: we meet again! Who wants to guess how many PPMs are in the new 14 hour? Who else is pissed?

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Nearly one percent of children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism, but the cause of the disease’s staggering growth rate these past decades has been hotly debated. Up until recently, research on twins seemed to put the blame largely on genetics. A new study out of UCSF, though—the largest twin study of its kind—appears to be undermining this theory. From a piece in the San Francisco Gate:

The study, published in Monday’s issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at 192 pairs of twins in California and, using a mathematical model, found that genetics account for about 38 percent of the risk of autism, and environmental factors account for about 62 percent.

Other recent research out of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California system found an increased risk when mothers had taken anti-depressants in the year before or during pregnancy. This does not mean that the drugs caused the autism, but everyone seems to agree that more research needs to be done on potential environmental factors.

Have you had any experience with autism?

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The quick answer? If you’re a rodent it can.

Studies around exercise must be some of  the most well-funded out there. In the last few months, we’ve reported on several: From how exercise may  prevent the common cold to why it’s more effective in the morning. Other recent research has focused on bone density and weight management for women after menopause, and now the New York Times is reporting that it may play a very significant role in slowing the signs of aging. Or, excuse me, stopping them altogether. From the article:

Indeed, in heartening new research published last week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, exercise reduced or eliminated almost every detrimental effect of aging in mice that had been genetically programmed to grow old at an accelerated pace.

Of course we’ve long-discussed the anti-aging, beauty-amplifying benefits of breaking a sweat—but every sign? Come again, now. According to the article, here’s how the research was conducted:

In the experiment, Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used lab rodents that carry a genetic mutation affecting how well their bodies repair malfunctioning mitochondria, which are tiny organelles within cells. Mitochondria combine oxygen and nutrients to create fuel for the cells — they are microscopic power generators.

This malfunctioning mitochondria would ensure that the subjects age prematurely. And that’s exactly what they did: By the time they hit their 8-month birthdays, which in this study represented about 60 human years, they were decrepid and dying. None of them reached their first birthdays. That is, except the ones that exercised.

Those rodents, who got to run on the wheel for 45 minutes, three times a week, had none of the signs of aging—despite possessing the same predisposition for early aging as the other poor things. Their fur was shiny and didn’t turn gray, their little hearts thumped on beat, their muscle and brain mass remained healthy, and they exhibited amazing coordination. In short, they stayed young—and they all celebrated their first birthdays.

While these epic effects aren’t fully understood (more funding to come!), the results are astounding. Our first three burning questions: 1. Could exercise really put hair dye out of business? 2. How applicable are these results to us bigger mammals? 3. Will a study like this change your exercise habits?

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This one’s already gotten a lot of air time, but we’re going to weigh in nonetheless. A study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found a multitude of chemicals in the urine and blood samples of pregnant women.

While this in itself is not surprising, some of the findings are. From this San Francisco Chronicle article:

Of the 163 chemicals studied, 43 of them were found in virtually all 268 pregnant women in the study. They included polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, a prohibited chemical linked to cancer and other health problems; organochlorine pesticides; polybrominated diphenyl ethers, banned compounds used as flame retardants; and phthalates, which are shown to cause hormone disruption.

Some of these chemicals were banned before many of the women were even born.

Nobody knows for sure if these chemicals have ill effects on fetuses and, as Andrew Revkin at the New York Times points out, there are inherent problems when writing about this kind of research. As a rule we try not to incite panic, but we also think that it’s important to spread this type of information even when studies aren’t conclusive (which they never are), or only explore one part of an issue (which they often do). There are also worse things to panic about, especially when our exposure to certain questionable chemicals—like the ones in your body lotion—can be significantly reduced by making better choices as consumers. But I digress…

What’s most disturbing about this study is how some of these chemicals have been passed on mother-to-child generations after they’ve been discontinued from use. That’s creepy, even if it isn’t “proven” to be dangerous.

Are you freaked out by this research? And do you think journalists need to be more careful when they’re reporting on science?

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