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10 Cringeworthy Ingredients Hiding in Your Beauty Products

1. Snail Secretion (Slime)

Don’t worry, no snails are harmed in the farming of their slime; however, you might never look at your lotions and creams the same way. This residue is apparently good for improving the appearance of your skin and protecting it from future damage. Therefore, skin and eye cream creators love to use it. Delightful.


2. Ambergris (Whale Vomit)

I bet you never thought you’d find throw up in your perfume. Ambergris is a waxy substance found in whales' digestive systems that acts as a powerful fixative. That means it’s what makes your treasured scent last so long on your skin. It’s best not to think about this one too much.

3. Carmine (Crushed Beetles)

There’s nothing more cringeworthy than beetles. They just make your skin crawl! Sadly, crushed beetles are used in the dark red lipsticks that women love so much. The carmine found in the crushed beetles is what creates such a seductive color. Heartbreaking, I know.

4. Placenta

Go ahead and let the squeal out. Yes, placentas from both humans and pigs are used in cosmetic products to promote skin growth. It’s particularly useful in reducing wrinkles. Some companies use pig placenta to reduce the gross factor, but it doesn’t really change anything.

5. Foreskin

It’s uncomfortable to think about, but foreskin is actually very effective at enhancing skin regrowth in burn patients. Because of this, it’s made its way to the beauty world. You can find it in anti-wrinkle creams and lotions. Yeah, you’ve got foreskin on your face.

6. Squalene (Shark Liver Oil)

Inside the livers of the most feared creatures is an oil called squalene. Squalene is used in lip balm, sunscreen, and lotion, because it easily absorbs into the skin and combines with other oils. It’s also supposed to improve the appearance of skin. You’ll have to decide for yourself if that makes this ingredient worth using. 

7. Chicken Bone Marrow

Hidden inside your favorite moisturizers is chicken bone marrow. The glucosamine in the marrow is said to promote skin growth and be an effective anti-inflammatory ingredient. While this isn’t the most gag-inducing ingredient, it’s still strange. I’d rather eat my chicken than wear it.


8. Embalming Fluid

This is the most appalling of beauty product ingredients. It’s an incredible preservative, but it’s also a carcinogen frequently used in nail polish, shampoo, and body wash. This is one ingredient you should definitely avoid at all costs.

9. Guanine

Guanine comes from both fish scales and bird poop and is utilized in multiple beauty products for its shimmery qualities. You can find it in your nail polishes, shampoos, and even in facials. Slightly grossed out? Me too.

10. Cholesterol

I was surprised too. The cholesterol found inside clogged arteries and cheese is actually super useful for moisturizing the top layers of skin, and protecting the lower layers from exposure to harmful elements. The upside is that rubbing it on your skin will reduce wrinkles, and it will not cause any heart attacks. Just don’t eat it.