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13 Surprising (And Gross) Cosmetic Ingredients

I'm putting WHAT on my face?

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1. Snail Slime

The glycolic acid and elastin in a snail's secretion protects its own skin from cuts, bacteria, and UV rays, making it a great source for proteins that eliminate dead cells and regenerate skin. You can find this in most moisturizers to make your skin nice and smooth.

3. Whale Intestinal Waste

Ambergris is a fancy word for whale vomit, and the stuff is actually extremely valuable. High-end perfumes from houses such as Chanel and Lanvin take advantage of the ability of ambergris to fix scent to human skin.

4. Crushed Beetles

The crimson red color in many dyes and cosmetics comes from Cochineal Beetles. The beetles are soaked in hot water, dried and then crushed to give the deep red color. The color is then used in many cosmetics including hair dyes and lipsticks. If you are looking at ingredient lists it will be listed under the name Carmine.


5. Rust

Flickr: lincolnian

You might see it listed as “ferrous oxide,” but it’s basically rust. If you ever see a cosmetics bottle that lists “pigment brown 6” or “pigment red 101” as ingredients, it’s in there, too. This is what gives cosmetics, such as calamine lotion, its pink coloring.

6. Dead Algea

Diatomaceous earth, or the remnants of algea, are called diatoms. In cosmetics, this ingredient is used in many toothpastes, deodorant, absorbent powders, cuticle cream, and in mild-exfoliation products due to its gentle abrasiveness. It's used in many other plastics and household cleaners as well.


9. Egg Whites

Egg whites are sticky but they constrict very efficiently when dried, and are used in many skin-firming products for this reason. Don't worry, by the time the egg whites are processed for use they won't resemble your breakfast at all.

11. Wool Wax

Sheep wool naturally produces oil called Lanolin, which is a natural water repelling substance. Lanolin and its many derivatives are used extensively in high value cosmetics to provide barrier protection to chapped skin, soothe dryness, and provide moisture.

12. Placenta

Many products claim that placental proteins makes for a super rich and strong hair formula. Grossed out by the prospect of human afterbirth in your face mask product? Some companies use pig placenta instead, oh boy!

13. Foreskin

In the medical field, human foreskin has been used for years as a method to cultivate new skin growth, instead of performing skin grafts on burn patients. It’s been proven to work much more effectively. The same method is also used in the cosmetics world. Companies use foreskin fibroblasts in cosmetic creams and collagens, especially those made to reduce wrinkles.