In the Name of Beauty: 10 Weird Product Ingredients

Posted in Skin Facts by carrie

We do a lot of strange things in the name of beauty, but have you ever thought about what’s actually in all those lotions and potions you put on your skin and hair? Along with the usual suspects (fruit extracts, vitamins, minerals and a massive range of scary sounding acids), there’s some very peculiar stuff. Here are 10 of the most unusual ingredients you’re likely to find in a skincare product:

(Oh, and just for the record, Dermalogica is known in the industry for using only the very finest ingredients and for never compromising its commitment to animal-cruelty-free products.)

  1. Shark Liver Oil – (aka squalene). Up until a couple of years ago, shark liver oil was one of the most popular moisturising bases for loads of skincare ranges. Marine environmentalists put a stop to that, and most high street chains now use plant-based alternatives.
  2. Caviar – (aka fish eggs). A few top of the range skincare brands swear that caviar is a delicacy both for your insides and your outsides. Read this review of Pevonia to find out more.
  3. Donkey Milk – The ancient Egyptians swore by it, and now a company in Switzerland, Câlinesse, is bringing back the love for donkey milk. If you’re thinking of making your own version with cow’s milk, don’t bother: donkey’s milk packs 60 times its vitamin C content.
  4. Algae – Algae (yep, the green stuff you get in the fish tank), is a really popular ingredient in skincare products (even Dermalogica have it in their Skin Hydrating Booster). Algae is nutrient-rich and, according to Greek legend, was the cause of the goddess Aphrodite’s great beauty.
  5. Chicken Bone Marrow – (aka glucosamine). If you’ve ever made chicken stock, you’ll know how ‘nourishing’ chicken bone marrow can be! Popular in lots of products, it’s apparently very good as an anti-inflammatory.
  6. Seaweed – Even more popular than algae (though they’re often the same thing…), seaweed is used so often, we’ve stopped thinking of it as a unusual thing to put on our skin. Dermalogica’s Plankton Masque Base is packed full of the stuff.
  7. Gold – For skin products worth their weight in… well, you know. There are a few ranges, for example, Oro Gold Cosmetics, that include gold flakes in every single one of their products and swear by its “luxurious and beautifying properties”.
  8. Whale Vomit – (aka ambergris). Pretty gross hey? Even more so when you realise that it’s one of the most popular fixatives for perfumes!
  9. Emu Oil – Valued for its penetrative and anti-inflammatory properties, emu oil is widely used in skincare products.
  10. Snail Slime – Snails use their slime to fix their shells, and this restorative power works on human skin. We’re not saying let a snail slide across your face, but, if you suffer from acne scars, you might want to look into it!

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