There’s a lot that we’d be willing to do in the pursuit of younger looking skin and a luminous glow. Like putting tea bags on our eyes when they’re starting to look a little tired, or rubbing generous amounts of apple cider vinegar on our face when we’re looking to even out that complexion. But even with the general lengths that we’d be willing to go to for naturally lovely skin, that doesn’t mean that we’re not still taken aback by some of the, err, more unconventional beauty product ingredients that promise to help us along the way. We’ve rounded up five of the strangest ingredients that we’ve seen creep their way into our beauty products in the past few years and that are totally worth a try. That is, after you’ve gotten past the, “Wait, you want me to put what on my face?” reaction.
Basically akin to rubbing cold slime on your face (lovely), using snail mucus to achieve your beauty goals may seem like more trouble – i.e. grossness – than it’s worth. But the gooey ingredient comes with a host of skin-friendly nutrients, like hyaluronic acid and antimicrobial peptides, all of which work together to do everything from even out your complexion, minimize dryness, and help fade acne scars. Luckily, there are a ton of ingredients that harness the power of snail slime in a convenient over-the-counter cream or serum, so that you won’t have to put actual snails on your face (which is totally a thing in Thailand).
A product that promises to exfoliate is fantastic. Unless said exfoliation comes by way of chemicals and acid, in which case, not so fantastic. Enter fish enzymes – the natural solution to exfoliation in common beauty products that are trying to go toxin-free but still want to help you achieve smooth, younger-looking skin. Studies have shown that when applied topically, hydrolyzed roe protein – think salmon eggs, minus the California roll – help improve skin clarity.
You might already know that honey can work wonders on your skin thanks to its antimicrobial, moisturizing properties. But bee venom – that is, the stuff that actually comes out when you get stung by a bee – happens to come with its own slew of beneficial properties. Basically, when you apply bee venom topically, your skin is fooled into thinking that you were just stung. It sounds awful, but it actually boosts your natural collagen production and your blood circulation, which ends up leaving you with younger, firmer skin.
Of all the weirdest ingredients that might end up in your beauty products, placenta may not only be the weirdest, but the most controversial. For the most part, placenta for cosmetic purposes comes from one of two sources: sheep and humans. In the case of sheep, cosmetologists will usually go for stem cells from the placenta, whereas with human placenta, a lot of dermatologists will go for protein-rich placenta extract. Some of the supposed benefits of placenta-packed (there’s no way to make it sound not weird, is there?) skin products include reducing wrinkles and scarring, and promoting skin rejuvenation. Plus, thanks to antiseptic properties, placenta can apparently help fight off acne and infections. There is a catch though: there’s apparently not a whole ton of science to support claims about the skin benefits of placenta, so while some people think it’s worth a try, research doesn’t really support the hype just yet.
If it’s good enough for Tom Cruise and Victoria Beckham, well then you can bet it’s good enough for us. Bird poop facials – also known as Geisha facials, thanks to their Japanese roots, where they’ve been used for centuries – are skin treatments that combine bird droppings with other traditional Japanese ingredients to achieve benefits like softer skin and a brighter complexion. But as we would hope with any kind of facial treatment that involves excrements, bird poop facials don’t use just any droppings. Instead, they use droppings exclusively from nightingales, since they only really eat seeds and thus produce the enzyme that acts as the active ingredient in the facials.