If you’re like me, the ingredients label on your makeup reminds you of a dreaded chemistry class. Aside from the occasional “Shea butter” or “grape seed oil,” I usually can’t understand half of it. They could be putting garbage in my makeup and calling it “gylcohydrophosphroite,” and I would never know the difference.
The names used on ingredient labels can be deceiving if you don’t know how to decode them. So here is the breakdown on some surprising ingredients that you probably never knew you were using.
Lanolin … or … Animal Fur Grease
This waxy grease comes from animals with wool coats, often sheep. The substance is then used in lotion, makeup remover, lipstick and other cosmetics products. I bet you didn’t think that you were smearing animal fur grease on yourself every day.
Lanolin is generally considered to be safe. It can, in some cases, cause allergic reactions or poisoning if ingested. So basic rule of thumb, don’t eat your lotion and you should be OK.
Diatomaceous Earth … or … Dead Algae
Algae always make me think of scrapping the edges of my old fish tank that I always forgot to clean. But this fossilized form of algae is used in facial cleansers and exfoliates.
Diatomaceous Earth is also an ingredient in dynamite. Granted the product isn’t going to accidently explode, but it’s something to think about. Apparently it is in everything because this porous material is also used in cat litter. Cat litter … the facial scrub I rub into my skin each night … same thing, right?
Ambergris … or … Whale Waste
Sperm whales expel this when there is something in their stomach that can’t be digested, such as a squid’s beak. It may seem gross, but if you find this harden clump of vomit, get excited. You’ve hit a gold mine.
Ambergris is used in expensive foreign perfumes. American companies are not allowed to use it because the whales are on the endangered species list, but a French perfume company will pay you a lot for it.
Oleoresin Capsicum … or … Pepper Spray
While the tingly sensation of some cosmetics is probably more appealing than the sting of pepper spray, they both contain the same ingredient. However, if you’re wanting pepper spray for self-defense, I don’t recommend smearing you lipstick on people. It won’t help.
Oleoresin Capsicum is often used in lip glosses or lipsticks to produce a warming or tingling feeling, much more pleasant that some pepper spray to the eyes.
Guanine … or … Fish Scales
Guanine sometimes shows up as CI 75170 on labels. This list of numbers represents the iridescent little fish scales that are responsible for adding that shine to your favorite nail polish.
The shimmer in your favorite cosmetics is probably from tiny flakes of fish scales. We eat fish, so why not paint some on your nails or lips?
While using these ingredients isn’t going to harm you, it’s gross to think about applying whale waste, fish skin or fur grease to your face. And for the record, Red Apple Lipstick doesn’t use any of these ingredients.