When I look at a product like the recently launched Chanel Precision Hydramax Active Lip Care ($45), I have a very hard time working out what was intended by it, why it should stand out in a crowded department store, let alone why I should buy it. But, of course, that's why marketing budgets were invented. The blurb says it has Ceratonia PFA (a proprietary ingredient that stands for polyfractioned active: "An ultra-pure, ultra-powerful ingredient created through an exclusive purification technique developed by Chanel".

Ceratonia is locust fruit and is used to make an extremely common skincare ingredient called carob gum. Although it is said to have some moisturizing effects (I haven't found any specific evidence of that), it is basically a glactommanon (the kind of thing used to thicken ice creams) and is used in potions and lotions primarily as a stabilizer and thickener. Well, I thought, all I can say is that Channel's polyfractioning better be good. I may have been a bit too eager to dismiss though, because I did a little foraging and found that it is also an antioxidant, according to one research study, as well being cytoxic.

So there's antioxidant carob (now why couldn't Chanel just say that) and plenty of shea butter (in fact, its the most dominant ingredient). Unfortunately yhat is about as far as it goes. $45 buys an awful lot of waxes, sucrose, alcohol and suspending agents. Not to mention things for which we seem to being charged by the letter: trihydroxy palmitamide hydroxypropyl myristyl ether (a thickener). There are one or two questionable ingredients such as hydrogenated lecithin . A natural emulsifier and important for the metabolism of cells, it is marred by concerns over its carcinogenic properties and its ability to penetrate the skin. And for those of you who distrust a mouthful such as pentaerythrityl tetra-di-T butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate on principle, you are probably right as it is an environmental toxin.

Chanel Precision Hydramax Active Lip Care

Shea butter, caprylic/capric trigylceride, octyldodecanol, hydrogenated coconut oil, water, bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-1, sucrose tetrastearate triacetate, microstalline wax, beeswax, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, jojoba esters, stearalkonium hectorite, hydrogenated lecithin, palmitic acid, cottonseed oil/palm oil aminopropanediol esters, propylene carbonate, propylparaben, caprylyl glycol, methylparaben, rosa damasecena, fragrance, ammonium glycrrthizate, ceratonia siliqua (carob fruit) extract, trihydroxy palmitamide hydroxypropyl myristyl ether, pentaerythrityl tetra-di-T butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate, propylene glycol, tocopherol, citric acid, mica