The humble Q-Tip, an essential low-tech beauty tool since its invention in the1920s, is enjoying newfound fame and clout. In fact, it provides the first clue to you at Dermagenetics's New Jersey lab, which processes a swab from your cheek and concocts your own personalized, genetically guided moisturizer. "We test your skin-aging genes," says John Souza, Dermagenetics's director of sales. "For example, the ones that indicate your collagen breakdown or wrinkling capacity. We're all a mixture of advantaged and disadvantaged skin-aging genes called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms or SNPs [pronounced snips]." So, whereas someone may have an advantaged SNP for eliminating chemical pollutants, she may have a disadvantaged one for protecting against UV rays. "Our lab would then select active ingredients in optimal concentrations just for her," says Souza. "Whenever you hear a brand boasting that 30 percent of customers reported improvement in reduction of fine lines, it means that the formula wasn't right for the other 70 percent."
No doubt intrigued by the novelty of it, stars have lined up to be swabbed- among them CCH Pounder of The Shield and Lisa Edelstein of House. Results are kept confidential, although one celeb who aced it appeared on Dancing with the Stars and is famous for his tan (another clue: he shares a surname with the president on the $10 bill).