From civet musk (extracted from the animal’s anal glands) to caviar extract, the beauty industry has often used some pretty bizarre ingredients. All in the quest to create the ultimate perfume or skincare product. With their exotic and out-of-the-world ingredients, the following three products rank high on the weird-o-meter.
The Ambergris Effect
Ambergris is one of the most sought-after ingredients in perfumery, fetching anything from $100 000 upwards for 1,5kg of the precious stuff. Contrary to popular belief, ambergris is not sperm whale vomit. It’s a by-product of the sperm whale’s digestive system and is excreted by these creatures. This may float in the ocean for decades before being washed up on the shore in solid form. It then becomes highly prized by perfumers for its musky (some would say fishy) quality.
As it is very expensive and rare, ambergris is not used in perfumes such as Chanel No5 anymore. Ambrox or ambroxan is now widely used in many best-selling fragrances. Christian Dior Sauvage, Versace Dylan Blue, Giorgio Armani Si and Bulgari Aqua Pour Homme Atlantique all owe their character to this synthetic compound.
However, for customers willing to splash their cash, ambergris can still be found in premium perfumes. These include many of the highly rated Creed fragrances such as Aventus.
Ambergris is very distinctive in Creed Millésime Imperial. This EDP was launched in 1995 to mark the Paris-based perfume house’s 150th anniversary as the fragrance of choice by European royalty. It’s somewhat of an acquired smell.
Creed Millésime Imperial EDP, R4 850 for 120ml.
The Snail’s Pace
If I told you that I have used a snail-gel skincare product would you think less of me? Journalistic curiosity got the better of me when I heard that Celltone products contain this ingredient. Apparently snail gel is packed with glycolic acid, allantoin, protein and vitamin E. These are all very useful in the fight against ageing. One might even say they are highly effective in slowing the pace of ageing. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
Now, for the big question? Are any snails harmed in the making of this product? Yes. I used it for two weeks and then felt very guilty about it, even though I had started noticing a tightening of my skin.
Celltone Snail Extract Gel, R399.90 for 50ml, www.celltone.co.za
Lab Series is one of my favourite male skincare brands. So I was very excited to read about its new high-tech range, Maxellence, which contains meteorite extract. Unfortunately, I was brought down to earth when I found out that this range is not available in South Africa.
Then a friend told me that Anesi Man Secret Serum had just landed in the country. This anti-ageing skincare product from the renowned Spanish spa professional range also utilises meteoritic extract. Talk about sci-fa (science fact).
So why is meteorite extract such a big deal? It’s rich in minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. This makes it a potent anti-ageing weapon, with deep-penetrating, firming and plumping properties.
I used Anesi Man Secret Serum for a month and enjoyed its light, non-greasy texture. I noticed a definite improvement in the condition of my skin. Was this due to meteorite extract? Or any of this product’s other exotic ingredients (including mineral extracts from precious mineral stones)? While I read up more on that, I must explore Anesi some more.
Anesi Man Secret Serum, R750 for 50ml, www.exclusivebeauty.co.za