Inside Good Housekeeping's Health, Beauty and Environmental Sciences Lab

- In my third visit to the Good Housekeeping Institute, I checked out the Health, Beauty and Environmental Sciences Lab where cosmetics, creams, and hair products are tested for the Good Housekeeping Seal.

Whether it's a conditioner that claims it can cleanse your hair without stripping the color or a face mask that swears it can hydrate as well as your best moisturizer, chances are Birnur Aral, Ph.D., and her team of scientists at Good Housekeeping have tested it.

Their golden rule: You don't always need to spend more to get great results. And sometimes, even the cheap products aren't worth your money, like split end menders. Aral and her team tested the products on swatches of hair with split ends. Comparing before and after images taken under a microscope, they could clearly see the ends were still split. Her advice: Don't waste your time and money on these products. Get your hair trimmed instead.

While split end menders aren't worth your time and money, if you can afford it, that expensive Dyson hair dryer is. Aral says they were the first to test the $400 dryer when it launched, and it turned out to be the most powerful hair dryer they looked at.

These are just some of the findings at the Good Housekeeping Health, Beauty, and Environmental Sciences Lab, where they test just about every beauty product out there.

Anything that has to do with chemical or biological sciences will go through the lab. Although, Aral says, their bread and butter are beauty products.

For the December issue, Good Housekeeping partnered with the Home Shopping Network and looked at hundreds of product submissions to find America's next great entrepreneur. One of the innovative products will earn the Good Housekeeping Seal if it passes their rigorous testing.

During our visit, Aral was testing three of the products: a leg rest, a steroid-free eczema cream, and an extra-long barrel curling iron.

But it's not all beauty testing here in the lab. Back in 2012, Good Housekeeping spent nearly three years investigating pharmaceuticals in tap water, looking to see if table-top pitchers and refrigerator filters removed the contaminants. They found that you absolutely can use those pitchers and filters to get contaminants out of your water, even if the EPA doesn't regulate their removal.

The lab spends a lot of time testing anti-aging creams to see if they live up to their claims. Aral says they look at both the $300 creams and the $40 drugstore brands, and many times, the less expensive creams are just as good, if not better.

They also test to see if the hottest new products work and are good for your body, looking at the ingredients and checking for harmful substances.

Aral says you can rest assured that they've tested their products on real women and in the lab.

Aral and her team are also heavily involved in the Personal Care Products Safety Act, a bipartisan bill started by two female senators to increase oversight and better regulate the ingredients in health and beauty products.

Good Housekeeping has started a petition on change.org if you'd like to learn more about it and give your support. 

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www.goodhousekeeping.com

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