11 Disgusting Ingredients In Beauty Products You Use Every Day (PHOTOS)

woman putting on lipstickEven if you don't consider yourself "crunchy," when it comes to your beauty regimen, you know full well that lipsticks, nail polish, fragrances, and other makeup products boast far-from-angelic components. And even the most natural ingredients may make you do a double-take ...


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We rounded up the 11 grossest ingredients that, yes, sorry to break it to you, are totally floating around in that perfume or were baked into your blush.

Which of these makes you squirm the most?


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  • Back Fat From Animals


    Image via iStock.com/Acerebel

    Well, it may not be the most attractive thing when you're trying to backless dress, but hey, back fat is useful. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database notes that fat scraped from the back of the hide of mink or derived from emu are conditioning agents found in certain shaving creams, sunscreens, and hairsprays.

  • Crushed Beetles


    Image via iStock.com/seanjoh

    Not as in the Fab Five. As in cochineal beetles, which eat prickly pear cactus in South America. And when they are full of cactus juice, they're reportedly scraped off the plant, boiled, "sundried," and crushed into an ingredient called carmine or crimson lake, natural red #4, C.I. 75470 or E120 used in a red lipstick or blush dye. Thankfully, you can look for this ingredient and steer clear, if you prefer to keep your lips clear of "beetle juice."

  • Whale Vomit


    Image via iStock.com/Nicola Destafano

    Love spritzing yourself with that designer perfume? You may think twice when you learn that ambergris -- defined as waste from the digestive system of sperm whales (aka vomit) -- is used as a fixative perfume base. Thankfully, the majority of fragrance manufacturers are using synthetic alternatives to the cringe-worthy ingredient now.

  • Bull Semen


    Image via iStock.com/Syldavia

    Yep, protein from bull semen is being used in some European salons. The reason: Reviewers say the hair treatment, referred to as "Viagra for hair," "penetrates deeply into each follicle leaving hair supremely moisturized, nourished, shiny, thick, yet light, and vivacious." Okay, then.

  • Pepper Spray


    Image via iStock.com/DonNichols

    Pepper spray is for protecting yourself against nefarious characters, right? Well, turns out it also goes in some of those lip plumping glosses and lipsticks you love. Look out for the ingredient oleoresin capsicum.

  • Chicken Bone Marrow


    Image via iStock.com/Lauri Patterson

    Chicken bone marrow is widely known to be used in anti-aging moisturizers and face creams, because it's replete with glucosamine, said to exhibit anti-inflammatory qualities and promote youthful skin.

  • Roadkill


    Image via iStock.com/christianphotographer

    In addition to emus or mink, cosmetics companies also get animal fat or tallow from lab animals, animals that die before they reach the slaughterhouse (called deadstock), euthanized zoo and shelter animals, expired meat from grocery stores, and road kill. These poor animals' fat is used as a skin-conditioning agent and an emollient in cosmetics like lipstick, eyeshadow, and soap. Reason to buy vegan?

  • Rust


    Image via iStock.com/EasyBuy4U

    Ever see that seemingly innocuous ingredient "ferrous oxide" listed on your cosmetics? It's rust. It's also referred to as "pigment brown 6" or "pigment red 101," but ... it's rust. Love how calamine lotion is pink? Yep, because rust. Ew.

  • Fish Scales


    Image via iStock.com/dulezidar

    Fish are beautiful. That shimmery nail polish is gorgeous, too. Come to think of it ... there are some similarities right. Well, in this case, "art" imitate life. Fish scales are often used in irridescent cosmetics and they're labeled as having "pearlescence" or "crystalline guanine." AKA FISH SCALES! 

  • Salmon Eggs


    Image via iStock.com/lepas2004

    Salmon-egg enzyme could be a key ingredient in some of your skincare products, because companies have learned that it dissolves dead skin cells but allows the living cells to thrive. In other words, it's an alternative to harsher chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid. Hooray?

  • Dead Algae


    Image via iStock.com/daizuoxin

    Another ingredient from the sea, albeit seemingly slightly less icky, is dead algae, which turns up in lots of cuticle creams and other mild exfoliation products.

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