back to top

Magic potion: Halloween might be over, but the stuff in many cosmetic products resembles ingredients from a fictional brew

Sheep grease, lamb fat and bird poop oh my!

Posted on

Bubble bubble toil and trouble. Eye of newt and wing of bat. Frog warts and ostrich feathers. While this might sound like something out of a recipe for a magic potion in a scary movie, today’s cosmetic products include some ingredients that sound equally as weird.

The truth is scientists have long studied various uses for animal parts. And thanks to advancing technology, these parts are being harnessed to create skin care products with a number of beneficial properties. Whether you’re looking to clear up acne, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles or brighten your skin tone, here are a few of the weird ingredients that could help you get the result you want.

Bovine Colostrum

Vilacto Bio applies the latest technology to refine a type of cow’s milk known as colostrum for its Vilact line of anti-aging products. Colostrum is produced by mammals in the late stages of pregnancy, just prior to giving birth, and contains numerous antibodies that are proven to protect newborns from disease.

Vilact products extract the active substance in colostrum and transform it into small particles that can penetrate the human skin to repair damaged cells, the harmful effects of sunlight, and even undo signs of aging. Bovine colostrum can also be used to boost the immune system, heal injuries, repair nervous system damage, and as an agent for killing bacteria and fungus. Some athletes even use it to burn fat, build lean muscle and increase stamina, in an effort to improve their overall athletic performance.

Fish Scales

Go look at your bottle of shampoo or nail polish. If you notice that the substance in the bottle has some sort of a pearlescent shine or glow, there’s a good chance your nail polish or shampoo contains fish scales. Crystallized guanine that can be found in fish scales gives cosmetic products a shimmery look and therefore it’s often also used in things like lipstick and eyeshadow to add shine.

Bull Semen

Several skincare companies use bull semen in their moisturizing creams. In general semen from any mammal contains powerful antioxidants called spermine and this substance is beneficial for skin. In fact, Skinscience, a company in Scandinavia, produces an entire line of spermine creams.

Snail Slime

There aren’t many creatures more disgusting than snails, due in large part to the secretions these creatures leave behind when they move. But snail slime has a number of regenerative properties. The mucin extract snails leave behind contains proteins, glycolic acids and elastin and has been used as an ingredient in facials to minimize scars and pigmentation.

Sheep Grease

Sheep and other animals with wool fur produce a substance called lanolin which is a kind of wax or grease. Lanolin is used in lotions, makeup removers, and many lipsticks because of its durability and long lasting power. It has moisturizing properties that make it nourishing for skin.


Ok, actual dynamite isn’t used in cosmetic products. But diatomaceous earth, used to stabilize nitroglycerin for transportation is used often. It’s a kind of soft rock that can be crumbled into a powder and is used often in products like toothpaste and facial scrubs. The substance is abrasive enough to be an effective cleansing agent, but soft enough not to damage skin or teeth.

Bird Poop

Nightingales are known for their beautiful songs, but it’s their not so beautiful excrement, that is a common ingredient in some facials. Nightingale excrement is used to cleanse the skin and is said to give skin a dewy appearance. It contains nitrogen-rich urea and guanine, an amino acid that is useful for moisturizing skin.

Lamb Fat

In plastic surgery procedures, fat is often injected into various parts of the body to create a more youthful look. Tallow is a form of processed lamb fat that is used in skin products to soothe and hydrate the skin.

Mink oil
Mink oil is a yellow liquid derived by scraping fat from the hide of an animal. Several cosmetic lines use mink oil in their shaving creams, sunscreens and hairsprays contain oil from minks in order to leave a silky conditioned feeling.


Cochineal dye, also called carmine acid, is derived from cochineal beetles, a type of scale insect found in Central and South America. The insects feed on red cactus berries and when the creatures are crushed they produce a red dye.The dye was used in fabrics during the 19th century and is now used in lipsticks today.

Snake Oil

Most people know that if something is referred to as snake oil they shouldn’t take it too seriously, but actual snake oil is used in many beauty products. Fats and oils from snakes contain higher levels of eicosapentaenoic acid than other ingredients containing omega-3 fatty acids, making it a great remedy for inflammation.

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!