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World’s weirdest beauty ingredients

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From marmite-scented perfumes to soaps formulated with breast milk, the beauty world is fond of a bizarre ingredient.

MARMITE

British fragrance brand Union’s Celtic Fire perfume contains a small dose of marmite.

“When somebody suggested using Marmite in the mix I was intrigued,” said the nose behind the scent, Annabel Brosler.

“I simply wanted to see if it could be done and what it could bring to the fragrance. I am thrilled with the result – it has a subtle scent when used in tiny amounts, very warm and salty and of course Marmite is a British institution so this worked wonderfully well with all of the other British ingredients.”

Union is available at Selfridges.

BREAST MILK

While breast milk soap used to be widely available from niche eco-friendly suppliers, mother’s milk fell a foul of health and safety and has since been unavailable to use as a beauty ingredient.


Breast milk, when in use, was said to have softening and moisturizing properties, as well as being an organic alternative to cow and goat milk.

If you’re really desperate to try it and have a supply of breast milk to hand, Green Parent (thegreenparent.co.uk) has some recipes.

From marmite-scented perfumes to soaps formulated with breast milk, the beauty world is fond of a bizarre ingredient

From marmite-scented perfumes to soaps formulated with breast milk, the beauty world is fond of a bizarre ingredient

SPERM

While you don’t use the whole thing, human sperm contains a powerful anti-oxidant called “spermine”, which is said to be brilliant at reducing wrinkles and getting rid of tough skin.

Although some New York spas have taken to offering spermine-based treatments, the country that loves it the most is Norway, where a company called Bioforskning (skinscience.com) produces a range of moisturizers and skin protectors containing the ingredient. Called SkinScience, the products are widely available across Scandinavia and also in the UK.

SkinScience is available at Harvey Nichols.

EARTHWORM POO

It might sound revolting, but earthworm excrement is said to have powerful anti-ageing properties. The anti-ager of choice for those who can’t (or won’t) tolerate chemical beauty ingredients, creams using the substance are said to increase cell turnover and add plumpness to skin.

Earthworm poo isn’t the only sort of faeces that’s made a name for itself in beauty either. Civetone, a foul-smelling pheromone sourced from the anal gland of the African Civet, is often used in perfumery in small quantities.

Fresh Beauty Market is the brand behind the best-selling version of the cream – Wrinkle Butter with Earthworm Complex – but it’s based in the USA and hard to get hold of on the other side of the pond. Website Greensations.com sells it to UK customers but expect to pay in dollars.

SNAKE VENOM

When British beauty brand Rodial launched Glamoxy Snake Serum in 2010, a trend for reptile-based beauty was born – despite the fact that Rodial’s potion doesn’t actually have any venom in it.

The same can’t be said for Planet Skincare’s moisturizer, which contains a synthetic version of the venom from Asian Temple snakes called Syn-ake. Described as the natural version of botox, snake venom contains amino acids which block nerve signals telling muscles to contract, which helps to stop wrinkles forming.

Planet Skincare’s Wrinkle Defence moisturizer is available from planetskincare.co.uk