Do You Need a PhD to Be Pretty?

New Beauty Innovations Come with Learning Curves
New Beauty Innovations Come with Learning Curves

Most of our beauty products are, at their essence, quite simple – if you look at your stash of makeup, and notice that much of it is pigments ground into cakes or blended into creams and liquids, it’s not difficult to recognize how we humans have been painting and primping ourselves since back in the stone age.

And when beauty meets technology, it usually takes one of two paths:

  1. a new ingredient or formulation that tweaks a traditional product.
  2. a Big Scary New Procedure that requires expert guidance and skill to work.

One thing both these innovation paths have in common is that we don’t have to learn all that much to use them. We may not know what a BB Cream is, but we’re not afraid to try it. And while we may be afraid of lasers or injections, if we defer the actual usage of these procedures to licensed professionals, we can assume they go to conferences to learn how to properly administer them.

But recently there’s been a spate of beauty innovations that promise us we can do quite complicated beauty practices – unsupervised, when and where we want. Some of these are “big” technologies, shrunk into handheld form. And others are expert guidance, condensed into a regime, app, or pill that promises us benefits without the time, expense, or trouble. But it can be hard to tell what’s a new technology actually is, and how much we have to learn to use it properly.

To that end, I’m listing some new beauty technologies I’ve come across, with a graphic “inspiration equation” for each (done for fun, but this will be MBA-speak one day…) And also what learning curves are involved – so you can decide which of these are right for you.


Laser and IPL hair removal promise significant permanent reduction in hair growth for those body parts we (currently) want to be bare. But as powerful as these technologies are, they are also potentially dangerous – bad results could mean burning skin…or even blindness. To have these procedures done safely in office requires a medical license in many states (and at least a supervising physician in most). Shrinking this technology into a safe, useable, and effective home device is no easy task. And having reviewed one of these devices, I can say that the process is daunting at first – the list of dire warnings is several pages long. You really have to read the manual and learn the process to get good results. But for those of us who would rather deal with annoying hair issues on our schedule and in private, it’s worth the work.

Veet Infini’Silk Light-Based IPL Hair Removal System For Home Use – $128.98 at Amazon (affiliate link).


If you’ve had micro current therapy in facials, you know that it seems a little weird at first. But estheticians swear by it – most would never practice without it. What you may not know is that many of them also use micro currents on themselves – daily. But the machines are huge, and can be dangerous if not used correctly. Now there are new devices that reduce the electrical current and use conductive gels on the skin, to produce similar results with less electricity. Ziip is the newest and most advanced of these devices – it utilizes three different micro and nano currents to stimulate skin cells to repair themselves. And it has an iPhone app with esthetician-designed treatments customized to different skin issues. Does it work? I don’t know, I haven’t tried it yet. Though when I do I will be sure to read the manual thoroughly, because even with tech that’s designed to be safe, it’s still complicated enough that I’ll want to know what I’m doing, and that I’m doing it right.

ZIIP Beauty™device and a two month supply (18 vials) of Golden Conductive Gel – $495.00 at

Kokko Beauty

Here’s a Big-Science-Meets-Beauty idea: take the best of computer image processing, face recognition technology, optical color correction, and makeup artist recommendations – and shrink it all into an app that can accurately match your skin tone to makeup products. No more traipsing around to a gazillion stores, or holding bottles to the light in drugstores, hoping (praying) that the color will work. But to get those accurate optical science results, you have to use a specially printed chart. And the chart has to held correctly, facing an even light source at the same angle as the face. And you’ll need to take your glasses off. Since most of us have not worked in a color science lab, it’s gonna take a few tries to get it all coordinated. (Full disclosure: I work for Kokko Beauty, and can attest that it is tricky to hold that card right – also that lots of people forget to take their glasses off.)

Kokko Beauty App – App is free at iTunes, ColorChart is $4.99 through the app. More info at

Younger Skin Starts in the Gut, by Dr. Nigma Talib

To get that I-wake-up-this-gorgeous-every-day glow, you’re going to have to do more than superficial work – health is truly wealth when it comes to beauty. Professional beauties spend as much time with their doctors as their facialists, even if they aren’t as forthcoming about it as Gwyneth Paltrow. Fortunately for the rest of us, their experts write books to share their knowledge: Dr. Nigma Talib, a naturopathic doctor and author of Younger Skin Starts in the Gut, identifies several skin-aging triggers, and outlines a 4-week program to identify and eliminate them. Following her advice, you could see improvements in your skin and health, as patients Penelope Cruz and Kate Bosworth have…. but it involves educating yourself about skin-aging triggers (wine, wheat, sugar, and dairy are the big ones), and experimenting (by abstaining for several weeks) to see which are relevant to you.

Younger Skin Starts in the Gut: 4-Week Program to Identify and Eliminate Your Skin-Aging Triggers – Gluten, Wine, Dairy, and Sugar, by Dr. Nigma Talib. At Amazon (affiliate link).

Glisodin Skin Nutrients

We’ve dreamed of beauty miracles-in-a-pill for ages now. Sadly, there’s probably not going to be a one-pill-does-it-all beauty solution in our lifetime (if ever). But medical nutritional research is yielding useable beauty results: have you heard of enzymatic antioxidants? Where regular antioxidants (such as those in blueberries) neutralize free radicals molecule by molecule, an enzymatic antioxidant such as Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) causes a chain reaction of free radical neutralization – resulting in thousands of times the antioxidant benefit per molecule. It’s hard to get these “Super Antioxidants” past the digestive system into the intestines where they are best absorbed, but Glisodin has created supplements that are specially coated to make the journey intact. They also incorporate herbal supplements for various skin ages and conditions – their Advanced Pre and Post Formula is a hit with plastic surgery and facial peel patients for its help in speeding recovery. And while you may feel you went to a seminar just reading this paragraph, the supplements themselves are super easy to incorporate into your regimen.

GliSODin Skin Nutrient Advanced Anti-Aging formula,90 capsules. $91.88 at Amazon (affiliate link).

None of these new beauty technologies are impossible to master, though some might be more involved than we care to deal with (I, for one, am not ready to give up cheese.) Others are easier, and may save us time and trouble in the long run. But in the end, no, you don’t need a PhD to be pretty – but you might need to read the manual.

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