Is There Beetle Juice in Your Lipstick?

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database lists toxic chemicals in household and cosmetic products. What about the less dangerous, but still totally gross, ingredients you might be putting on your face, hair and body? EWG's Senior Vice-President for Research, Jane Houlihan, recently appeared on an ABC News segment to talk about the various disgusting substances often found in cosmetics.

Red lipstick usually contains carminic acid, which is extracted from ground-up beetles. So does rouge. Ambergris, used to enhance the smell of designer perfumes, is actually dried whale vomit. Wonder where that iridescent shimmer in your nail polish comes from? Scraped-off fish scales. And the creamy texture of your facial cleanser or lotion? It could be due to tallow, which is fat from animal carcasses.

These additives may be revolting, but are they harmful? No, say experts, for the most part. Hair products containing cattle placenta are hazardous, however - the hormones could seep through the skin and disrupt our own hormonal systems.

See video of the ABC News segment here.