Past Impressions

It’s that nostalgic time of year again, when in preparation for holiday card mass-mailings, families dust themselves off, polish their smiles and make their way to the nearest portrait studio. This prompted a discussion among friends as to whether there is a market need for baby hair gel. While we decided that water alone would do the trick, an interesting thought experiment occurred to me: looking at my age progression not through the condition of my hair or skin but through the personal care products that have touched me.

For example, from the start, my mom used baby powder and oil on me, as well as gentle cleansers. Cloth diapers were the standard, so petroleum jelly helped with rashes. A little bit older, I started swimming lessons, so sun blocks came more into play, as did detangling shampoos, which made Mom’s job easier. As a pre-teen, hair spray, deodorant, fragrance, nail polish, hair gel and color cosmetics became important—especially blemish concealers, at least in my case. And entering young adulthood, hair dyes and shampoos/conditioners for color-treated hair became more important, as were tanning accelerators and self-tanners.

Currently, anti-wrinkle SPF moisturizers, hair color (Shhh...) and under-eye concealers top my list. So what’s next? Well, I can say, with all honesty, that I never thought fiber optics would make interesting cosmetics, that translucence or color texture would become product concerns, or that mechanical cosmetics could be possible. But after reading the article by Anderson, as well as attending the IFSCC in Johannesburg, South Africa, I am thinking again about these and other possibilities—including the anti-aging tactic to stimulate the body’s own antioxidant resources described by Bergeron et al.

As the year winds down and we settle in for our long winter’s nap, or summer fun, depending on your latitude, I think it’s important to reflect on where you’ve been to know where you’re going. Happy holidays to all!

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