6 years ago by


Erik Melvin

My experience with, and knowledge of, exotic beauty ingredients stretches back to the time my sister convinced me to let her exfoliate my face with what I later learned were silk worm cocoons and snail excrement. Yeah, I was shocked and disgusted, yet slightly intrigued. What other weird ingredients existed in the realm of beauty?? I try to stay aware of what is inside the products I’m applying to my face and body, and the closer I looked, the more I found that there are some extremely unusual ingredients out there that, if nothing else, make you giggle.

I complied a few of these less-than-normal products and tried to get to the bottom of it: what are these ingredients and do they really work?

Product: Refining Facial Polisher from Omorovicza
Weird Ingredient: Marine Micro Algae

Seriously, do you even know what marine micro algae is? It sounds like something that would be the butt of a joke on Portlandia, You know, “oh I only wash my face with marine micro algae…”

On the Omorovicza website they list the key benefit of this ingredient as: working to “improve fibroblasts health by eliminating oxidized proteins,” which means nothing to me as I understand exactly zero of what that says. But it sounds important and that’s really all that matters, plus I’ve read elsewhere that algae and other members of the seaweed family are hydrating, detoxifying and full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. So I gave it a try.

Its dark green color and pumice-like exfoliating texture were intriguing – it felt like it got a little warm while I was rubbing it into my face, but it may have just been the adrenaline of using a product I can’t really afford, and it smelled like a day spa which is always a good thing.

It left my skin feeling clean, refreshed, and soft, which, despite my true lack of algae knowledge, has made me a believer. But if this product doesn’t sound like it’s for you, just grab a pack of seaweed snacks from the nearest deli?

Product: Organic Turmeric and Hibiscus Skin Brightening Face Scrub from Cultivar
Weird ingredient: Turmeric (I’ll let the hibiscus slide this time)

Turmeric is like the less popular sibling of kale. It kind of had its brief moment of fame in the health realm, but knowing how and when to use it is almost as hard as knowing how to say and spell it (is that extra “r” really necessary??). Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to stain anything it comes into contact with, which doesn’t sound awesome for your face or your white kitchen counter tops. There is a whole list of other health related benefits that sound too disgusting to mention here – but in the spirit wellness and good skin, I gave this face scrub a go.

Mixed with a little water, the yellow powder becomes a greenish paste that makes you smell like something you might eat for dinner. The scrub feels really effective and surprisingly does not stain your face or your sink. And granted, the bathroom I tried this in has REALLY good lighting (thanks Studio Doré) – my skin looked bright and clean after! Again like the less popular younger sibling, maybe Turmeric isn’t so bad after all.

Product: Egyptian Magic All Purpose Cream
Weird ingredient: Bee pollen and Royal Jelly

This is not a joke – and to be honest, it’s kind of amazing. I love anything 1) affordable 2) all purpose 3) that contains the word “magic” seriously in its name. I see bee pollen in fancy smoothie Instagram pictures so frequently that I feel like I have personally ingested it (I haven’t), and I truthfully have no idea what royal jelly could possibly be (I Googled it – it’s honey bee secretion). These ingredients + the thick texture of this cream might turn one off, but the packaging vaguely resembles a tarot card which makes up for any repelling qualities. Plus, did I mention it’s all purpose and magic? It’s a winner, I promise.

Conclusion: When it comes to beauty products, the weirder the better, in my humble, unqualified opinion. If it’s green or expensive, it most likely works, bonus points if it smells weird.

What about you? What’s the weirdest ingredient you’ve ever applied to your face?

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  • Love this, and the turmeric scrub sounds great! I make a face mask of raw honey and turmeric, and it does tinge your face yellow, but it really helps with acne and inflamed skin. I also used to use Dr. Jart+ Time Returning Cream, which is mostly snail slime–it really grossed out everyone I told, but it looked/felt just like a regular moisturizer haha.

  • What a gorgeous face! The eye color is mesmerizing.

  • Hihi ! Ce n’est pas si étrange pour moi ! Ok, je suis une accro à la spiruline, au curcuma et encore plus bizarre… à l’ashwagandha !



  • Anonymous August, 3 2016, 11:18 / Reply

    The Red color in lipstick and other cosmetics, is an organic ingredient: Cochineal Beetles. It’s also used in food dye: yogurt, beverages and more. For the most part, harmless to consume.

  • Isabelle August, 3 2016, 3:59 / Reply

    I regularly brush my teeth with turmeric. Quite an effective teeth whitener!(just be careful not to stain your clothes because it does stain them yellow, but not the teeth, on the contrary, miraculously…)

  • Love the earrings. Where are they from??

  • l’ingrédient le plus bizare? une crème à la bave d’escargot…
    Bravo pour vos chroniques!

  • I’m an Egyptian and every time I feel so Wired that I never tried the Egyptian Magic all purpose cream or ever used these ingredients before! The weirdest ingredient you’ve ever applied to my face was baking soda, strawberry juice and mango peels. My aunt is a Prof. when it comes to this!

  • Nathalie August, 3 2016, 8:59 / Reply

    PLEAAASE! Obsessing over the earrings! Can you tell us who makes them?? Thanks!

  • I Love this and the face of one of my favorite girls…natural beauty!!!

  • L’Egyptian Magic, je pensais que c’était un coup de pub. Puis vu le prix, j’ai essayé. Trop bien. Pourtant, j’ai la peau grasse, et quand on l’étale, c’est encore plus gras. Et le matin, une peau de bébé!
    Et ma mère, qui a la peau sèche, a essayé. Et elle a voulu que je lui en commande.
    J’ai essayé une crème à l’escargot, mais je n’ai pas été convaincue.

  • une crème Bizzar XD

  • Great article, thank you.
    Not so weird, but I’ve pretty well dropped all commercially produced beauty products, but one.
    I cleanse with oil and/or honey only.
    I exfoliate with Tatcha’s Japanese Cleansing Enzymes (amazing, amazing, amazing).
    To moisturize I use only natural oils, such as avacado or argan or rosehip, depending on the season.
    Masks are made with avacado and matcha tea. I have cosmetic acupuncture done to help give me little lift as needed. My skin seems to be getting better with this method instead of aging, so something is working. Weird or not, I ‘m hooked.

  • I’ve discovered the Egyptian Magic and I truly love it!!!


    bises from Paris,


  • “But it may just have been the adrenaline of using a product I can’t really afford.” That’s hilarious. That sentence makes me laugh so much. I hear you sister!

  • Definitely snail slime! That’s the weirdest thing I have put on my face, but it does seem to plump up the wrinkles.
    Love your article and Egyptian Magic is great.

  • J’ai un coup de cœur,pour les produits au charbon,comme les masques Origins.

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