Sunday, March 29, 2009

Be a smarter curly


Although it is true that I am no scientist, I do have a healthy respect for research. And as long as a person has access to the Internet, it amazes me that they would prefer to post a question to a discussion board before or instead of doing a little prowling around the Web to find some answers.

I see this laziness at NC.com quite a lot, and I don't mind telling you that it irks the crap out of me. We all have questions. Curiosity is good. But get off your ass and poke around the Internet (even do a search on the very same discussion board you're posting to, for crying out loud) to see if the answer is already out there before posting a question that's been posed by several dozen people before you.

Bring something to the table, is all I'm asking. Next time you have a question, do some research and if that doesn't fully answer your question -- or better still, if it raises further questions -- then post a question to the discussion boards and see if you can't elevate a mundane, common inquiry into something that a wider range of people could benefit from.

I posted this thread to NC.com last week. It promptly died. Why? My theory is that most of the folks there would rather just talk about products. They wear they PJism (that's Product Junkie-ism, for those of you who aren't in the know) like a badge of honor, and while that's often fun (who doesn't love trying new products?), I feel that if we don't evolve beyond that stage of willy-nilly product experimentation, we never get any smarter. How can we outsmart the beauty industry if we don't try to educate ourselves?

So, how about I post the list of sites I frequent to learn more about ingredients and chemicals? If you have sites to add, by all means, please leave a comment with your favorite link.

Wikipedia. It's my first stop for any undecipherable, unpronounceable ingredient. It almost always gives me a good basic understanding of what an ingredient does, and sometimes will offer links I can follow to learn more.

Cosmetics Info. This site is great. It tells you what it is, whether it's safe, and how and why it's used in products.

Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary. This compendium of ingredients, compiled by beauty expert Paula Begoun (author of Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me), is comprehensive yet boils things down to their essence.

The Beauty Brains. Though not a glossary or dictionary or encyclopedia, the breadth of no-nonsense information on this site is impressive. Using the search function on even the most seemingly esoteric word often yields useful results. I love this site and refer to it often.

Naturally Curly ingredient list. This article lists some of the most commonly found ingredients in hair products. The headings may or may not be helpful to you in some cases, but if you just need to know whether something is an emollient or a silicone, this could be a handy page to consult. (This site has quite a library of ingredient information on it, but navigating your way through it and finding paths to it can be frustrating. Their internal search function is not reliable but sometimes you can find what you're looking for by typing "naturally curly" and the ingredient in question into Google.)

CurlChemist articles. Tonya, aka Curl Chemist at naturallycurly.com, has written some informative articles that the site hasn't gotten around to formally archiving yet. I highly recommend her articles if you want to know how something works in a chemical formulation.

So, that's a start. What sites do you use to look things up?

18 comments:

Amy said...

Here's one I use for natural ingredients. I'll add it to your thread on NC too. Thanks Jill!

http://www.healthfoodemporium.com/index_natural-ingredients.php

Sage Vivant said...

Fantastic! Thank you, Amy!

Sage Vivant said...

Just remembered another one: http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com

Julie said...

I could not agree more. Because I'm still a kid and my mom is strict about the internet, I'm not allowed to join NC.com. But the search feature is my best friend! Seriously, if everyone would use the search feature, they could totally answer probably 99% of their questions. I have not had a question that I couldn't find the answer to on there yet. By the way, I am sooo glad that NC.com doesn't put a limit on how many pages you can look at if you aren't a member like some forums do. I would be desolate! :D Thanks for the good post!

Sage Vivant said...

And Julie, thank *you* for your excellent comment! It's really good to know that a young person like yourself understands the value of research!

Mattea said...

I've been reading CurlTalk since I discovered Naturally Curly, but part of the reason I haven't joined is that I can always find the answers to my questions by using the search feature. As you point out, there's no need to have endless posts on the same topic.

P.S. I love your blog!

Jess said...

I didn't see cosmeticsdatabase.com on your list. It gives a safety rating on the cosmetics in it's database and can be really helpful if you are trying to stay more natural.

Kinky Rhonnie said...

Hi Jillipoo,

The one I use most often is http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.

I'll definitely check out these others though.

Sage Vivant said...

Thank you Jess and Kinky Rhonnie! You must have been on the same cosmic wave length today!

DEL said...

I total get what you're saying Jilli about CurlTalk. This instant gratification rather then doing some research FIRST, IRKS the heck out of me too! USE THE GOOGLE SEARCH FEATURE I sound like a broken record with this. I know some need help but PLEASE do your part as well! 99.9% it's a topic that's been discussed all you have to do is post to an old thread to get some updated info!! AACK!

Wanda said...

I'm a researcher by nature and love to spend a lot of time reading for different opinions and perspectives. I realize not everyone is that way and prefer to just have an answer. The problem with that is not everyone is the same.

Take jeans for example. My best friend and I have basically the same shape and almost identical waist hip measuremens. From a pure measurement perspective, we should be able to wear exactly the same jeans and have them fit exactly the same way. BARMP!!!

Although our hips at their fullest are the same size, up higher, I have some junk in the trunk. Also she is much shorter than I am so her torso is also much shorter. Most of us can try on 50 pair of jeans and not find one that fits us let alone two of us. That's why I find it is so important to do the research myself.

I have found a lot of the actual scientific explanation on dewpoints, porosity, humidity don't seem to apply to my hair or environment. Therefore, I probably don't do as much ingredient research as I could and consequently that is why I didn't post in your thread. I had nothing to add.

I spend my time trying to find people whose hair behaves the same as mine. Recognizing that it's a not a one size fits all - just like jeans. Then I "try them on".

Sorry for the novel - give me a pen and ......

Sage Vivant said...

There are three others here: http://thebeautybrains.com/2009/04/06/are-cosmetic-ingredients-safe/

kathymack said...

I didn't post on nc.com until I had read EVERY post in every hair thread. That may be a little obsessive, but I didn't want to look like an idiot. Others don't seem to care how they look, LOL! I also research before I ask a question. I'd like to feel that the threads I start are informational for all, rather then being about "me, me, me."

I think we all reinforce the inappropriate behavior. If people would stop being so "nice" and not reply, or only reply with a comment about how you searched the information and give a thread--maybe we could change the behavior. I understand the idea of being new and how it can be confusing, but there are several people who don't even try to learn and they've been around for months!

Hope101 said...

Great post. I don't have anything to add. I visit nearly all the sites you and other commenters have added, and have found out about some new ones. So, my comment is geared more towards housekeeping. I'm not for sure if you want all of your links to be active or not, but the link for Cosmetic Dictionary isn't working. Then again, the audience who will more than likely read this post will just google it regardless.

Sage Vivant said...

Thanks, Hope. I think I've fixed that link!

Hope101 said...

I think I'm finally able to contribute. I found out about Save Your World through the Cosmetic Database. So, I bought their Rainforest conditioner from the Vitamin Shoppe yesterday, and so far so good. It detangled and mositurized my mixed texture and mixed porosity 4a hair like a charm. Then, I headed over to their website, which led me to another website on the regulations that Canada and the EU have put on cosmetic ingredients and by-products. Silicones preceeded by PEG were on the hotlist of products to avoid. Here's the link to read it for yourself. http://www.safecosmetics.org/

After that go to the Save Your World website for more links to other cosmetic ingredient databases. http://store.saveyourworld.com/1-4-dioxane-NOT-in-our-Products-s/1611.htm

This link will take you to an article that discusses the possible hazards of PEG, polyethylene,polyethylene glycol,polyoxyethylene,and polyoxynolethylene.

Of course it's always best to do further research.

Sage Vivant said...

Hope, good work! I may have to do a post on that. Interesting -- and thank you for sharing!

Ruth said...

There is an Ingredient Dictionary attached to Terri's site (http://www.tightlycurly.com). It's very easy to use and is being added to all the time.