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Scientists Take Pippa and Gisele to Task for Misleading Beauty Claims

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Every year, the charity Sense About Science publishes scientific responses to things that celebrities have said and correct misconceptions. Among this year's targets are Pippa Middleton and Gisele Bundchen, both of whom made incorrect statements about beauty.

Pippa said in an interview that cold water made her hair more glossy and her pores smaller, but Dr. Frauke Neuser, a scientist at Procter & Gamble, responded, "Hairs don’t contain ‘pores’ as such. The outer layer of the hair shaft can be thought of as tiny ‘scales’. If these are flat and sleek then the hair will look shinier as the light reflects off the hair more. If these ‘scales’ are not smooth the surface of the hair is roughened and so that reflectance, and hence the shine, is compromised. However, rinsing with water – whether hot or cold – doesn’t close or smoothen the cuticles."

As for Gisele, the supermodel said that she considers sunscreen 'poison' and added "I do not use anything synthetic." Pharmaceutical scientist Gary Moss responded, "Cosmetic products – including sunscreens – are regulated and are tested extensively before they are allowed onto the market. Testing applies to both final products and individual ingredients. You might be surprised that you use a wide variety of synthetic materials in many aspects of your life: ‘synthetic’ does not automatically mean bad, just as ‘natural’ does not automatically mean safe or beneficial."

So now you know what happens if you take all your beauty advice from celebrities. Luckily, there were some stars who earned praise from Sense About Science, including Christy Turlington for her support of HPV vaccine Gardasil and Camilla Parker-Bowles for pointing out the link between eating disorders and osteoporosis.
Celebrities and Science 2011 [PDF]