After a long, hard day at work, you come home to enjoy a nice warm bath. What if you knew your bubble bath was made out of fish scales? Or, you are getting ready for a date night with that special someone. What if you knew your favorite fragrance contained the aromatic scents of whale poop? What if you knew its special new revolutionary ingredient was a piece of animal placenta? Ignorance can be bliss in cases like these. Do we really know the ingredients of every item in our home, let alone our beauty products? Reading the ingredients label on purchases usually takes place in the local grocery store, not the cosmetic counter. Chances are that even if you did read them, you would not know the official names for whale poop and fish scales. Beauty has always come with a hefty price tag. Throughout history, women have gone to extreme lengths to reach unparalleled levels of beauty. Using bizarre ingredients is not a new concept in the manufacturing of beauty products. As the requirements for beauty changes throughout the years, so do the ingredients. And what if these new strange ingredients are repulsive? Beauty products are applied directly to the skin where they are absorbed quickly. Would you be brave enough to use beauty products with disgusting ingredients directly on your skin? Here’s a top 10 list of the most disgusting ingredients used in beauty products:
10. Whale Droppings in Perfumes
Irony at its best! Whale droppings are used in the production of perfumes. Ambergris, which is a waxy, grey colored solid substance generated in the intestine of sperm whales, is a highly praised ingredient for manufacturing luxury perfumes. Ambergris is created in the whale’s intestines to protect their organs from sharp objects that may have been swollen. The whales pass the ambergris along with feces and occasionally as vomit if it is too large to pass. Once released, it has an unpleasant fecal odour. It must then float in the ocean for years so that it can absorb the scents of the ocean. They are most often found on the beaches of New Providence, Bahamas. Perfume manufacturers still use ambergris in their products for its smell and as a fixative which allows the scent to last longer. Today, some companies are opting to use synthetic ambergris fragrance. Ambergris is referred to as the “gold of the sea” since its finders can receive up to $10 000 for 1 lb of it. As if the thought of whale excrement is not unappealing enough, ambergris and eggs was reportedly the favourite dish of King Charles II of England!
9. Animal Placenta in hair masks
Animal placenta, predominantly from sheep and pigs, is an ingredient used is skin creams, shampoos and face masks. Placenta is an organ that connects a developing fetus to the uterine wall. The placenta is expelled after birth. It is believed that this lining of the uterus is the remedy for dry and damaged hair. Hask Henna N’ Placenta is a line of hair products that lists animal placenta as an ingredient. A package of their hair mask costs about $4.99 for a 2 ounce pack and claims to ‘strengthen and repair dry, brittle lifeless hair’. The placenta is believed to help build the protein in the hair. In most products, the actual amount of placenta is relatively low and it is the other conditioning agents that really produce the shiny results.
8. Beetles in lipsticks
As difficult as it is to hear, you have probably already swallowed a beetle! Hopefully not in its entirety, but as an ingredient in food or makeup. Pulverized cochineal beetles (dactylopius coccus) are a common ingredient in lipsticks, eye shadows, yogurt, ice cream and candy. The cochineal beetles, found mostly in central and southern America, feed on the red prickly pear cactus fruit. When they are full, they are turned into a product called “carmine”. Carmine is used in the making of red dye. Furthermore, because of the red color of the fruit these beetles eat, the beetles leave behind an already red colored powder. The use of pulverised beetle has been around for centuries and is safe for human consumption. Most recently, Starbucks angered its vegan clientele by using beetle powder as a red dye in their drinks.
7. Bull Semen in Hair Products
Because of its high protein content, bull semen is used in certain hair products. Bull semen is typically used for hair products for dry and damaged hair. The semen is mixed with a plant named Katera. Swanky salons offer bull semen hair treatments costing over $100 and lasting up to 45 minutes.
6. Roadkill in Soap
Tallow is an ingredient made from animal carcasses. Tallow is made by the process of rendering animal fat by boiling the animal carcasses to create a fatty by-product. Tallow is used in the production of lipsticks, foundations, shampoos, shaving soaps, moisturisers and skin care products. Tallow is used as an ingredient because it prevents decomposition without the need for refrigeration. Tallow is also a skin conditioning agent and acts as an emollient in cosmetics. Although many companies have shied away from using the ingredient, some popular brands still use tallow in their leather conditioners.
5. Snail ooze in Moisturisers
Snail ooze is an ingredient used in many famous moisturisers. The snail’s secretion is abundant in glycolic acid and elastin. This secretion protects the snail’s own skin from cuts, bacteria and UV rays. It is a great source for proteins that eliminate dead cells and regenerate skin. Therefore, it can be helpful in removing scars and strechmarks, curing acne and in many other skin disorders because of its regenerating properties. An example of snail ooze moisturiser is Michael Todd’s cosmetics KNO Anti Aging TriComplex moisturiser. Some salons also offer snail ooze facials charging over $175.
4. Shark Liver Oil in Lip balm
Shark liver oil is a common ingredient in lip balms, sunscreens, moisturisers and hemorrhoid medications. Shark liver oil contains squalane, a naturally occurring oil in almost all plants, animals and humans. Shark liver oil has a greasy consistency and is easily absorbed into the skin. School, gulper and basking sharks are typically the types of sharks targeted for use in skin products. Sharks stay buoyant because their large livers, which make up about 20% of their total body weight, are full of oil. In the past, shark liver oil was thought to heal wounds and cure respiratory as well as digestive illnesses. Today, many companies try to curb the use of shark liver oil because of the endangered status of the sharks.
3. Chicken Bone Marrow in Moisturisers
Some of your favourite moisturisers and face creams may contain chicken bone marrow as an ingredient. Bone marrow is a flexible tissue in the interior of the bones. Bone marrow contains glucosamine, an amino sugar. Because bone marrow is full of glucosamine, it is said to promote new healthy growth for a more youthful look. It is also believed that chicken bone marrow is an anti-inflammatory and for that reason is a common ingredient in topical skin creams. An example of a popular product that uses glucosamine is Covergirl’s Simply Ageless Blush.
2. Fish Scales in Mascara
A common ingredient in cosmetic mascaras is guanine. Guanine is a crystalline material that produces a shimmering coloring ingredient. It is made up of ground up fish scales. Guanine can also be found in bath products, cleansing products, fragrances, hair products, lipsticks, nail polish, shampoo and skin care products. The process of making guanine involves removing the scales from the fish, cleaning them and then mixing them with solvents such as castor oil and butyl acetate.
1. Wool Wax in Shaving Cream
The wax from sheep’s wool creates a wax known as lanolin. Lanolin is a yellow, waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool bearing animal and helps the animals in shedding water from their coats. Lanolin can be found in lotions, balms, beauty products and shaving creams. It is also used as a waterproofing agent in vitamin supplements and to soothe sore nipples in breastfeeding mothers. At the same time, it can be used just as effectively in oiling up a baseball glove to make it more supple and as a lubricant for brass instrument tuning slides. Oil of Olay uses lanolin in its facial moisturisers. Most lanolin comes from the domestic sheep breed. Fortunately, the retrieval of lanolin from the sheep does not harm the animals. It is extracted by washing the already harvested wool in hot water then squeezing the wool between rollers until the wax is removed.