When you look at the history of Skin Care and beauty, you’re likely to come across some unusual ingredients. We humans have been taking care of our skin and enhancing our looks with ingredients from nature for at least ten thousand years. From my own research, the most popular ingredients are still used today – milk and honey. But there are also mentions of some absolutely bizarre ‘beauty secrets’.
Crushed up insects were used in ancient times for coloured products, animal blood was used to stain nails and in the last few hundred years, birds have found their way into the skincare routine. It’s said that Marie Antoinette used a cleanser called Eau Cosmetique de Pigeon – A mixture of watter-lillies, melon, cucumber, lemon, flowers, berries, beans, borax, camphor, sugar, wine, ‘the crumb of three French rolls’ and EIGHT STEWED PIGEONS! All of this was fermented for 17 or 18 days and distilled to create pigeon water to improve the complexion. In Japan, Geisha used the droppings of the Bush Warbler Nightingale as a mask to brighten the complexion.
Why mention this, you ask? Well, weird ingredients are still making their way into our beauty routines in so many ways. Below I’ve found three products with unusual ingredients that are used today and actually work!
This one shouldn’t be that much of a surprise as you can find it in gelatine, bone broth, and even on the menu is some restaurant. People take supplements containing bone marrow to help with arthritis because of its high vitamin and mineral content – Vitamin A, K2, Omega 3’s and 6’s iron, zinc, selenium, as well as health-promoting compounds like collagen, conjugated linoleic acid, glycine, and glucosamine. These are all beneficial in decreasing inflammation, improving joint function and of course better skin health! As mentioned above, you’re more likely to find this in supplement form, but that is where skincare starts. If you’re consuming something, it shows in your complexion. With the use of science, a lot of this is now synthetic in skincare as most brands are cruelty-free. Check your local healthcare aisle for hair, skin and nail supplements to do similar for you.
In the animal kingdom, it’s common for females to eat their placenta after giving birth. It helps them to regain their strength and get back some of the vitamins and minerals their little ones needed to survive in the womb. The placenta provides oxygen and nutrients as well as removing waste product from a baby’s blood. It’s said that for women it can lower the chance of postpartum depression and insomnia and level out hormones. It’s not just a part of the animal world though, plants have placentas too. When it comes to skincare, Placenta is known for firming and hydrating because of its high protein content. Rest & Revive Night Serum by MZ SKIN (DR. Maryam Zamani) Contains both plant and sheep placenta to promote collagen and elastin production which reduces wrinkle depth. The serums benefits include hydration, exfoliation, pore minimising and brightening. At $437 for 30ml it’s a bit luxe, but hey, when something works… Check it out HERE.
Now, this may sound a little icky, but urine contains Urea which is amazing for two reasons. It firstly helps to exfoliate the skin, while also hydrating it. There are of course stories of people drinking urine to balance the body’s PH or to get rid of foot fungus, but I’d personally suggest sticking to the synthetic form in skincare. This naturally occurring compound is synthetically replicated in cosmetics to combat dry, itchy, and flaky skin by attracting and binding to water molecules. Improving skin barrier function, Urea is considered the go-to treatment for problematic skin conditions such as hyperkeratosis, calluses, corns, psoriasis and eczema. Evidence Skincare (ESK) has a new product – The Hydroxy Overnight Mask. This mask is designed to use once or twice a week on clean skin and also contains Salicylic Acid, another exfoliant. With soothing Aloe Vera, it helps to remove keratin and old skin cells while you sleep, ensuring new skin can thrive. It can also be used as a spot treatment for pimples. Click HERE to learn more and pre-order for August 1.