…or the one where Kat nearly burned her face off.
So I was going about my usual nightly routine (brush teeth, remove makeup, inspect mug in mirror and apply necessary product to ward off wrinkles/acne/vampires) when I noticed my skin was a little flaky. “Needs some exfoliant,” I sagely noted and I grabbed my exfoliating cleanser of choice. But alas it was empty, nary a drop to be had. Not to be dissuaded from the task at hand, I hunted for another product. My eyes alighted upon the little jar of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda, bread soda) I keep in my bathroom, for teeth whitening every so often. I had used this in the past as an exfoliant and had good results, so a la The Beauty Brains‘ instructions I mixed in a bit with a non-exfoliating cleanser and set to work.
I left it to sit for a minute or two as I brushed my teeth, so the chemical exfoliant could work its magic, when I noticed a whiff of something odd. I casually glanced around for the culprit (the other half’s smelly socks, a pongy towel) when I realised what the stink reminded me of – hair dye. Then it occurred to me that the smell was getting stronger… and it was coming from right under my nose.
“Ammonia! It’s feckin ammonia! On my face!”
I washed off the offending mixture sharpish and examined my face for damage. Thankfully, the only thing frazzled was my nerves. No harm done, I turned to investigating what on earth could have caused there to be ammonia on my face. “It must have been a reaction between the bicarb and the cleanser,” I thought to myself as I scanned the ingredients list. Then I found the likely reactant – ammonium chloride.
Here comes the science, b**ches
Ammonium chloride is a common ingredient in cosmetics, used to balance pH and/or as a thickening agent. Upon my reckoning it reacted with the sodium bicarbonate to form ammonia, salt, water and carbon dioxide like so…
And there you have the science of how I very nearly literally had a face like a slapped arse. Never mix your drinks, or your cleansers. Remember kids, safety first.
Anyone else have any close calls/beauty blunders you’d like to share? Please say I’m not the only one doing stupid things in the name of beauty!