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April 13, 2007

CSI Miami: Solve Your Beauty Crimes

model in tube dress laying on steel table

What Lies Beneath. Like forensics sleuth Jonathan Togo of CSI: Miami, modern skincare methods look deep into your skin for clues. Sephora's Skinphysical reveals UV damage not seen by the naked eye.

Photo Credit: Sheryl Nields

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Hair and nail specialists are also increasingly taking a look at what lies beneath, maintaining that even an obscenely expensive cut or manicure can't disguise what isn't healthy at the root. Procter & Gamble's scientists now use a Scanning Electron Microscope to evaluate the health of a single strand of hair. By magnifying it 1000 times, they can examine whether the cuticle is smooth (indicating strength and shine) or rough (revealing a tendency to break or grow dull). Chiquita White, in product development for Pantene, suggests protein- and vitamin-pumped products to ameliorate rough hair cuticles. Nails, too, show their age-though instead of fine lines and wrinkles, they develop ridges. The tips of your fingers are like a message board for your body: If excessive ridges, pallor, white spots, or yellow casts appear, it's wise to see a dermatologist, as they could be an indication of some deficiency-or even anemia.Is the day coming when women seeking optimum beauty will completely forsake their little luxuries for droppers, beakers, and unpronounceable ingredients? Wouldn't that be the revenge of the nerds! Actually, with more and more couture brands beating the science drum, we're seeing what might be called hybrids, designed to convince women they can have it both ways. Guerlain's Issima Perfect White Dark Spot Corrector contains an ingredient that reduces pigmentation, it claims, by protecting DNA and the cells responsible for self-defense. Elizabeth Arden's Ceramide Plump Perfect lip cream, containing potent line-plumper Argireline, is the closest thing to a shot of collagen, while RéVive promises that its Peau Magnifique has a bioengineered ingredient that awakens adult stem cells and encourages an unprecedented level of skin renewal.

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