Shark bait: To get the obvious out of the way, squalene has a gross-sounding name surpassed in grosness only by the fact that is collected from a creature’s guts. Specifically, squalene is the gooey oil squeezed from the liver of a shark. If you’re a girl and have been alive for more than two years, there’s a good chance you’ve had shark liver juice in or around multiple parts of your body – it’s easily absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue, making it ideal ingredient for use in all sorts of products from lip balm to sunscreen, which kind of puts Jaws in a new light considering the sunbathers on the beach were smearing the guts of the shark’s buddies all over their skin.
Down to earth: Diatomaceous earth (which we shall hereby call DE because it’s a lot easier for everyone) is the fossilised remains of single-celled algae called diatoms. What’s so disgusting about that, you say? Well, you know the slime on your fish tank? Yeah, that’s them. Having a few million years on their hands, the tiny little organisms gathered together and over time, formed a sedimentary rock known as diatomite. The algae rock is recognised primarily for its abrasive nature; if you’ve ever used an exfoliating body scrub, you’ve actually spent time rubbing dead fish tank algae all over yourself, like a hygiene conscious Ol’ Gregg.
Like sheep’s wool? Lanolin: it sounds soft and comforting, especially out of the mouth of the Action Four news team’s Ron Burgundy. But lanolin is, in reality, the kind of substance you’d normally like to keep several miles away from your mouth if possible. Why? Imagine a sheep in all its woolen finery. Lanolin is the greasy stuff secreted by wool-bearing mammals to help shed water from their coats, squeezed from their harvested wool and bucketed for many use, including smearing it on your face. Used in shaving cream and shampoo, among other things, there’s a good chance you’ve had this stuff around (or in) your mouth. You know how lipstick is kind of greasy? Yeah...
Scales of beauty: Guanine shows up on product labels as CI 75170, or to give the more beautiful label bestowed on it, natural pearl essence. But wait a second, that doesn’t even sound so bad. It comes from pearls, right? No, no it doesn’t. Despite it sounding like the perfect gift for grandma’s birthday, natural pearl essence actually is a by-product of one of the smelliest industries we know – it’s made by processing the scraped-off scales of dead fish and suspending them in alcohol. So, if you’ve ever used a coloured polish to brighten up your nails, the chances are you’ve spent time brushing dead fish scales over your hands, like some sort of land-dwelling mermaid wannabe.
Fatty-face freshness: Cholesterol is found in cheese, milk, beef, pork and pretty much every damn thing that tastes good. If you’re still reading this article, you’ve probably already guessed that you or someone you love has smeared this on your face at some point. Thanks to its skin conditioning and emollient properties, cholesterol is an ideal ingredient for helping the skin to retain moisture, which in turn helps to smooth out any wrinkles that have had the audacity to appear. So basically, while eating a diet of deep fried Big Macs will not make you look younger, rubbing a few double Whoppers directly on your face before bed just might help wind back the clock.