TIME beauty

Study: Kate Middleton Has a Perfect Nose

Duchess Of Cambridge Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton tours Bletchley Park on June 18 in Bletchley, England. WPA Pool—Getty Images

And so do Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale

Celebrities like the Duchess of Cambridge and Scarlett Johansson have aided a team of plastic surgeons on a long and fraught journey: the quest for the perfect nose.

A team of U.S. plastic surgeons submitted digital portraits of young white women to focus groups and online social networks made up of people in the same age group and asked them to rate the attractiveness of the images based on previously determined attractiveness scales. The result? The ideal nose for a woman in that demographic is slightly upturned at an angle of 106 degrees.

Kate Middleton as well as actresses Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale were all found to fit this beauty ideal.

“Throughout history artists and scholars have been engrossed in the pursuit of capturing what constitutes beauty,” said the study’s author Dr. Omar Ahmed. He also called past attempts to find the perfect nose “elusive and ongoing for decades.” Of course beauty standards and ideals have changed over the centuries and are often different for each ethnicity or global region. The 18th century’s perfect nose, might just be this year’s least appealing schnoz.

Why did the surgeons only look at ideals for white women between the ages of 18-25? Because there’s a lot of data to work with. The study reports that this population is the most heavily studied in the rhinoplasty (aka nose job) literature.

The study affirms past approximations of the ideal “nasal tip rotation and projection” as far as plastic surgery clients are concerned. “There is a range of rotation that’s usually applied [in rhinoplasties], which is 90 to 100 degrees for men and 95 to 110 degrees for women,” said Dr. Charles East, of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. “This study has ended up somewhere in-between.”

 

TIME beauty

They’ve Created a Monster: The ‘Perfect Female Celebrity’

Enjoy!

The ‘Perfect Female Celebrity’ will haunt your dreams.

This franken-starlet, composed of “perfect” celeb body parts Photoshopped together, is actually an advertisement for Botched, E!’s new show about people going under the knife to correct previous cosmetic surgery catastrophes. (It even has a reality show pedigree: Dr. Terry Dubrow and Dr. Paul Nassif , two husbands from the Real Housewives franchise, are the star doctors.)

The composite image has Blake Lively’s legs, Rihanna’s abs, Sofia Vergara’s boobs, Gabrielle Union’s arms, Jessica Alba’s smile, Carrie Underwood’s hair and Mila Kunis’ eyes. It’s not the first time we’ve created a crazy composite: Witness the results of a 2013 survey of men and women’s idea of the perfect female face.

And sure, in theory, we might all wish we had those individual parts, but that doesn’t make this piece of Photoshop excess any less frightening. After all, if there’s one thing we don’t need is another unattainable goal.

[h/t Jezebel]

 

TIME skin care

3 Ways to Exfoliate Without Using Microbeads

Honey dripping off Dripper
Getty Images

Illinois is banning microbeads in facewash. Here's what to use instead

News about Illinois’ ban on facewashes that contain microbeads raise serious environmental concerns that are being heeded by a number of states. But for the vain among us, it begs the question: What to use instead of microbeads if you want that squeaky-clean feeling?

First, it bears a reminder that aggressively scrubbing your face is not a good idea, both because it can cause tiny tears in the surface of your skin—making it prone to infection and inflammation—and also because you don’t want to disrupt the skin’s acid mantle, which is there to keep in moisture and keep out pathogens.

There are thousands of products that claim to safely remove dead skin cells, but sometimes, simple is best. Here are three easy ways to clean your face that won’t break the bank, expose you to harsh ingredients or ruin your face.

Make Your Own, With Honey

Honey has long been a mainstay in DIY natural beauty, and for good reason. Honey is naturally antimicrobial, which makes it an effective cleanser on its own. You can rub a tablespoon between your hands and will find it gets nice and slippery—the consistency of a fancy face wash. It’s also humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture and can help keep your skin dewy—something a lot of harsh exfoliating scrubs cannot claim to do—and it contains gluconic acid, a mild acid that is considered benign by public health experts.

A recent review in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology concluded that: “Honey is particularly suitable as a dressing for wounds and burns … dandruff … In cosmetic formulations, it exerts emollient, humectant, soothing, and hair conditioning effects, regulates pH and prevents pathogen infections.”

Some natural beauty mavens like to mix their honey with baking soda—which is something you want to be careful with because it’s quite alkaline. Your skin’s pH is widely thought to be around 5.5 (though a 2006 study placed it closer to 5), and it has what’s called an acid mantle on it. That’s an important barrier to keep intact, both to protect against infections and to keep in moisture. Try honey on its own, and if you want that scrubby feeling, mix in just a pinch of baking soda.

Use a Konjac Sponge

You could spend upwards of $150 on an electronic face scrubber, or you could drop $11 and get yourself a reusable sponge made, as the name suggests, of fibers from the root of a konjac plant. It comes rock hard, but put it under warm water and it softens into a springy dome that you can use with or without a cleanser to slough off dead skin cells. It’s gentle enough that you can use it daily. Some brands make konjac sponges infused with things like charcoal, which is a natural detoxifier for the skin. You could go that route if you want to, but I prefer the basic one. One konjac sponge will last you six weeks of twice-daily use.

Use A Gentle Peel With Lactic Acid

There are two main ways to get rid of the dead skin cells that dull the look of the surface of your skin. There are manual exfoliants—like scrubs and konjac sponges and face cloths—and there are chemical ones. The latter use acids to dissolve the material that keeps skin cells bound together, making dead cells easier to remove. (There is some evidence that some acids also support cell turnover. Cell turnover slows as we age, which is why these acids are also touted as antiagers.)

These kinds of exfoliants can be natural or synthetic, and can cause irritation in some people. There are tons of different acids in products on the market—well known ones include alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid and glycolic acid. Lactic acid appears to improve water barrier properties, which helps the skin retain moisture, while also being an exfoliant. You should not use products containing acids in the morning because they can increase sensitivity to the sun. And always wear SPF on your face, whether you’re using a scrub or not.

TIME skincare

Know What’s In Your Face Wash: Why Illinois Banned Microbeads

Superparamagnetic microbeads: the monosized Dynabeads
Superparamagnetic microbeads Kunnskap

Illinois is the first state to ban tiny plastic microbeads in cosmetics like face wash, which damage marine life

Exfoliating microbeads, which are tiny bits of plastic, in your face wash are causing some serious damage to your skin and environment, and states are starting to crack down.

This month, Illinois banned the sale of cosmetics containing plastic microbeads, becoming the first state to legally take a strong stance against what researchers are calling a serious environmental problem. The plastic waste caused by the microbeads, which are not filtered out during sewage treatment, are damaging water ecosystems. A report recent published by the U.N. Environment Programme says plastic waste causes $13 billion in damage every year to marine life.

Since the beads are so small, fish and other marine life easily swallow them, causing DNA damage and even death. A 2008 study from UK researchers showed that the plastics remained inside mussels for 48 days. Last year, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Superior reported at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society that there were 1,500 to 1.7 million plastic particles per square mile in the Great Lakes.

The Illinois ban is encouraging for other states pushing similar laws, and the fact that Illinois’ new ban had industry players on board means cooperation is possible in other regions, too. “This was a cooperative effort with the industry in order to address our and their concerns,” says Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “In the end, we were trying to get something that would pass. Other states should try for more stringent standards.”

Walling says she’s happy with the results, though she wishes the timeline was shorter. Manufacturers have a phase out period between 2017-2019.

Other states like New York, California and Ohio are trying to pass similar bans. California wants to allow biodegradable beads, and New York lawmakers, which worked with plastic-fighting group 5 Gyres, have so far received positive response to their legislation. Earlier this summer, New Jersey democrat U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. introduced a bill that would make a nationwide ban possible in 2018.

Microbeads can also be vicious on your skin. While the little beads help deeply cleanse the pores, they can also cause tears if used too roughly. But if you love the feeling of rubbing dead skin off your face (that’s what they’re for)—there are some natural versions of face wash that use ingredients like oatmeal instead.

As TIME reported in May, companies appear to be open to finding substitutes. And in 2012, consumer goods company Unilever committed to making all of its products plastic-free by 2015. Big cosmetic companies like L’Oréal have also pulled away from microbeads.

Walling says she has been contacted by several groups in other states trying to outlaw microbeads, and she thinks it will only take about two more states to pass similar bans for the industry effect to be felt nationwide. “There’s definitely a lot of interest from many states,” says Walling. “Industry wants to address this issue. They have interest in getting involved.”

TIME beauty

Illinois Bans Cosmetics Containing Microbeads

Great Lakes Plastic Pollution
In this July 2013 photo provided by the State University of New York at Fredonia, Sherri Mason, right, a New York environmental scientist who led a research team studying microplastics in the Great Lakes, examines a trawling device used to collect plastic “microbeads” from the water's surface with University of Buffalo student Shayne McKay AP

Those tiny little beads in your exfoliating cleanser? They're killing the marine environment

Illinois has become the first American state to ban cosmetics containing microplastics. The move has been taken in response to growing concern over the marine damage caused by plastic waste, which a report published recently by the U.N. Environment Programme puts at $13 billion or more annually.

Among the products that will be removed from Illinois shelves are several brands of exfoliating face wash. While natural versions of this popular product use the likes of oatmeal or ground kernels as an exfoliant, cheap commercial varieties use nonbiodegradable plastic beads, known as microbeads. One average-sized tube can hold thousands of them.

Because of their size — less than a millimeter across — microbeads are not sifted out from wastewater during the sewage-treatment process, but instead end up being released into large bodies of water, like the Great Lakes, where they cause irreparable harm. One California-based institute found almost 470,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer of the Great Lakes, and most of them (81%) were microbeads. Fish and birds think the beads are food and end up eating them, often with lethal consequences.

New York, Ohio and California are expected to follow Illinois’s lead. According to a report released by New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman, 19 tons of microbeads are released into New York wastewater annually. New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone meanwhile introduced a proposal in mid-June, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2014, that would ban the creation and sale of products that contain microbeads nationwide by 2018. “By phasing out the use of plastic microbeads and transitioning to non-synthetic alternatives, we can protect U.S. waters before it’s too late,” Pallone wrote.

In the meantime, consumers wanting to help reduce the impact of this insidious pollutant can download an app called Beat the Microbead, which allows you to check whether or not a product contains the miniscule plastic balls.

TIME Parenting

This Father’s Day Ad Will Make You Want to Call Your Dad Right Now

Dove reminds you of all those times you needed your dad

This Father’s Day, Dove is tugging at your heartstrings. Men+Care, the brand’s grooming line for men, launched the campaign Monday in an effort to celebrate the real role dads play in their kids’ lives.

It’s the male equivalent of Dove’s successful “Real Beauty” campaign, which some have criticized for using female empowerment to sell products.

But the beauty brand says this particular feel-good campaign is based on real data, according to Adweek. Dove surveyed 1,000 dads ages 25-54 and found that 75% of fathers feel like they’re responsible for their child’s emotional well-being. But only 20% of those surveyed said that aspect of their parenting duty is reflected in the media.

So instead of showing dads throwing a baseball or building the crib or laying down the law, Dove edited quick cuts of “calls for dad,” showing how fathers come running when you need help, comfort you when you’re scared and bring a smile to your face when you’re down.

TIME beauty

Colbie Caillat Breaks Beauty Boundaries in Makeup-Free ‘Try’ Video

The artist hopes to inspire young girls by showing them what stars look like without makeup

Colbie Caillat and a crop of other celebrities go without makeup in the artist’s music video for her new song, “Try.” The song is about the pressures of modern womanhood: “Put your makeup on, get your nails done, curl your hair, run the extra mile, keep it slim so they like you.”

Calliat wants women to reject these rules, and uses her lyrics to drive that point home: “You don’t have to change a single thing. You don’t have to try.”

“‘Try’ is written from my personal experience having so many insecurities, as people do and I think women especially do,” Caillat told TIME. “We see people looking perfect on TV and compare ourselves to them.”

This is first video Caillat didn’t prepare for physically. “Hair and makeup is usually about a two and a half hour process,” she says. “For this video, there’s not any editing or retouching or covering up any blemishes. Nothing like that. I didn’t diet beforehand. I didn’t go and get my hair done or my nails done. I didn’t get my eyebrows done or tinted. I didn’t even have a stylist for the video. It was a really nice feeling to go in there and show the way I look without fixing it.”

Celebrities like Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, Kelly Osbourne, Sara Bareilles, Natasha Bedingfield and Hayden Panettiere all join the singer in stripping off their makeup in the video. Caillat says the experience was emotional, especially as someone who grew up in an industry that places a premium on physical perfection. “It was scary at first. But I have these nine beautiful women who are in the video with me who are not wearing makeup as well, and some of them were crying during the performance, like it was a liberating experience.”

The video for ‘Try’ highlights a recent trend of wearing less makeup, or going completely natural. A few months ago women posted natural photos of themselves using the hashtag #NoMakeupSelfie, with the goal of raising money for breast cancer while influencing societal expectations of beauty for women. And while several waves of the no makeup movement burned quickly on Facebook and Twitter—even the female TODAY show hosts went without makeup for a day and are included in Caillat’s video—celebrities are still focused on getting glam for the camera.

Caillat says movements like this one take time to influence Hollywood norms: “The more you see something is okay, the more comfortable you feel doing it and being a part of it. I was on TV today, and I didn’t feel comfortable not wearing makeup, but the point is to start doing this little by little.” For herself, she’s trying to look in mirrors less. “I think it’s important to be a role model,” she says. “I remember when I was a teenager, I was so confused about how I should look, and I tried changing every single thing about myself…If girls at that age were just comfortable in their own skin it will benefit them for the future.”

TIME

If Looks Could Kill: Carcinogens in Hairdressers’ Blood from Dyes and Perms

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Mladen Mitrinovi—Getty Images

Study finds concerning carcinogens from dyes and perms in hairdressers' blood

Looking fabulous can come at a price—and sometimes that price is unwittingly outsourced to the people who provide these services for a living.

A new study of 295 female hairdressers, 32 regular users of hair dyes, and 60 people who get regular hair treatments found that permanent hair dyes and the chemicals used to straighter or curl hair can be carcinogenic to humans. Those with the highest exposure are hairdressers. The researchers found that among hair dressers, carcinogen levels in their blood tended to rise alongside the number of weekly permanent light hair coloring treatments they did.

It was only a few years ago that it was discovered that the Brazilian hair straightening—a treatment that smooths hair for up to six months–could release the known carcinogen formaldehyde. This despite the suggestion that keratin, which is a natural protein found in hair, is the ingredient doing the heavy lifting. In 2011, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and several State OSHA programs issued a Hazard Alert after hearing complaints from salon workers. A subsequent investigation found air-borne formaldehyde that exceeded OSHA safety guidelines

Brazilian blowouts are still a beauty salon option, even though the FDA issued a warning letter to one company that makes Brazilian blowout solution for labeling and safety violations. Yet, due to how the United States regulates salon treatments and cosmetics, the agency had little recourse to pull the products from salon shelves.

While it’s up to the consumer to choose whether to undergo a hair styling that puts them at a risk for chemical exposure, hairdressers are the ones really putting themselves at risk. The new study, published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, says hairdressers should protect themselves by using gloves and completing steps that cannot be done with gloves before hair dying.

 

TIME society

Here’s What Faces Would Look Like If They Were Perfectly Symmetrical

Are they more beautiful?

There’s a biological assumption that symmetrical faces are intrinsically more beautiful than ones with uneven features. Artist Alex John Beck decided to explore—and dispel—that myth.

Both Sides Of is a photography project that juxtaposes side-by-side portraits of models whose faces have been photoshopped to be mirror images of the left and right sides of their faces. The result was somewhat eerie.

“I think they lack character— beauty is more based on character than an arbitrary data point,” Beck says. “Humanity is messy and should remain as such. I, for one, am not a fan of center-parting, for example. And even the greatest tennis players favor one arm.”

Alex John Beck

While Beck illustrated the mirroring of the left side of the face in the photo on the left side, and the mirroring of the right side of the middle axis on the right, he wasn’t compelled to show the original photo. “I just didn’t want people referring back and forth from the original the whole time,” he says. “After all, the original is just a boring portrait.”

Alex John Beck

Although if desperate, there is a trick: “If you want to see the real face, you can just print it out and fold the paper.”

Alex John Beck

Since Beck works with models, some portraits showed very little change when it switched from left to right-sided symmetry.

Alex John Beck

But there were some distinct differences that surprised Beck.

Alex John Beck

The eyes.

“You can just see that the competent character that we made for the right side of the face is a little more present than the one on their left side,” Beck says. “You can see it in the intensity of their vision.”

Alex John Beck

Beck used the photo above as an example. “[He] looks completely identical, but the left eye confident is just a little more vacant, and there’s something very, very strange about that,” Beck says. “One side is completely present and alert and getting ready and interested, and the other side is half asleep.”

Alex John Beck

Some portraits turned out better than others.

“After a few rounds of portraits I was introduced to several people who had suffered slight or severe disfigurements resulting in facial asymmetry,” Beck says.

Alex John Beck

“In the specific case of the cross-eyed man, he is a dear friend and has generously been the subject of several experiments over the years,” Beck says. “I’ve sworn to him that the next one will be more flattering. It won’t.”

Alex John Beck

Beck’s models had a wide range of reaction to the portraits, from fascination to horror. “One person I had to take down,” he says.

But Beck understands the trepidation to accept the unexplored characteristics of your face.

“Someone asked if I ever did one of myself, and I answered ‘Yes,'” he says. “Is it out there? No. I’m not going to show it, and I don’t want to think about it. It’s depressing to even remember it.”

TIME psychology

You Better Have a Good Reason For That Tattoo

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Marie Killen—Getty Images/Flickr RF

Researchers look at what leads to tattoo stigma and regret

Tattoos aren’t taboo anymore, right? Common sense suggests we are in a post-stigma era when it comes to body ink, but recent behavioral research suggests we may not have reached total tattoo acceptance just yet.

A study published in The Social Science Journal looked at tattoo behavior and bias. Some of the findings are pretty obvious: For instance, if you’re surrounded by friends or family members who have tattoos, you are more likely to think getting tattoos are no big deal. But researchers also found that the more tattoos a person had the more they felt on the receiving end of stigmatization. And the more stigmatized a tattooed person feels, the more likely they are to cover them up or have them removed.

Interesting research published in the same journal last August provides a bit more context into why people might regret tattoos. According to the findings, when someone gets a tattoo, they feel the need to imbue it with meaning, and can become quite distressed over their tattoo narratives if they feel insufficient. When people get a tattoo simply for the sake of wanting one, they are more likely to feel regret later. For example, one study subject told the researchers she got a tattoo of a lizard for the heck of it. The lizard had no meaning, and neither did her decision to get a tattoo. She regretted it because she had no significant meaning or purpose for it. Another participant got a tattoo of the date he overdosed on heroin as a reminder for himself. He eventually grew wary of other peoples’ questions about it.

Not everyone needs a reason to get a tattoo, but behavioral research shows us that in general, people expect there to be a meaning or purpose for it—and that’s a meaning you can expect to be asked about by onlookers. Just a few things to keep in mind before you get inked.

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