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Beauty and the Beast: Would You Try These Extreme Beauty Enhancers?

Jun 28, 2017 02:00PM ● By Becca Newell
By Becca Newell

In recent decades, consumer interest in organic skincare and beauty brands has grown immensely, as people’s desire for sustainable living increases. Nature might be nice for our anti-aging needs, but some of the industry’s natural resources are less than desirable—particularly for those who find bugs, and other pesky creatures, grotesque. These trending products might make your skin crawl, but at least it’ll look beautiful!

Ant Egg Oil

So far, two different brands—Tala and Gutto—have released versions of this hair-reducing product, available in oil or cream formulations. Instructions for application are simple: massage product into skin following hair removal. According to brand collateral, after several months, users will notice a delay in hair re-growth. While praise from devoted consumers is plentiful, there is little scientific validation to these claims.

Shark Liver Oil

Squalane is a compound originally derived from the liver of various sharks, although most forms are now derived from olives. While there isn’t substantive evidence to support claims, the oil is touted as an anti-aging solution for skin, promoting cell growth, increasing moisture retention, preventing UV damage, and hindering the formation of age spots, among other curative properties.

Snail Serum

Though the trend was initially sparked by Korean beauty brands, skincare products featuring snail mucin—the gooey stuff trailing from these agricultural pests—has become a common ingredient in American-brand creams, serums, and other anti-aging ointments that address dry, dull skin, blemishes, and fine lines. The slimy secretion, which protects the mollusks’ underside from bacteria, is packed with ingredients typically found in skincare products, like hyaluronic and glycolic acids.

Do You Know These Unusual Ingredients?

Not all brands tout creepy crawler extracts in the product’s name, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bizarre ingredients lurking within the label.

Carminic Acid

Scale insects, like cochineals, naturally produce this red dye. Also known as Carmine, Crimson Lake, and Natural Red 4, it’s frequently used in cosmetics to give lip colors, blushes, and eye shadows a red or purple hue.


Domestic sheep raised for their wool secrete this waxy oil, often referred to as wool wax or wool grease. The naturally occurring substance protects sheep’s wool and skin from the harsh environmental elements and, similarly, is used in beauty products as an emollient for extremely dry or cracked skin.


This solid, gray wax is regurgitated, indigestible squid remains—or vomit—from sperm whales. It’s usually discovered floating in the sea or along the coastline after an aging process, in which the excrement absorbs and oxidizes with its surrounding elements, including the sand, sea, and ocean minerals. In the past, it was widely used as a fixative in fragrances, however, many perfume manufacturers have replaced ambergris with a synthetic alternative.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

A naturally occurring substance comprised of the fossilized remains of diatoms—or microscopic marine organisms—DE was originally used in dynamite as a stabilizer. It’s also known for its mild abrasive properties and used as an exfoliant in some toothpastes and facial scrubs.

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