Editorís note:†This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally posted on December 26, 2012. Enjoy!
People wear perfume and cologne to feel like they smell clean and fresh or sexy or elegant. It is meant to attract others, to make them want to be near.
So why does it contain crap and vomit?
Yes, those expensive scented serums for which consumers pay dearly often include repulsive ingredients that most of us would never willingly waft over our bodies or daub onto our pressure points. In these later days, these ingredients often come in synthetic form — cross your fingers that the brand you favor doesn’t use any of the genuine articles.
1. Feces extracted from civet cats’ anal glands, simply called “civet.” The Straight Dope reports that the World Society for the Protection of Animals has investigated civet harvesting, and it goes something like this: “the animals are kept in tiny cages for years. Every few days the keepers scrape the civet out of the anal sacs, a painful procedure (not to mention one of the world’s worst jobs). The WSPA says that Chanel, Cartier, and Lancome have all admitted to using civet in their products.”
2. “Castoreum, a leathery emission from the genital scent sacs of the castor beaver.” The beavers “are usually trapped and killed” for this substance.
Castoreum is “found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers… Both male and female beavers possess a pair of castor sacs and a pair of anal glands located in two cavities under the skin between the pelvis and the base of the tail. Castoreum is a product of the trapping industry. When beavers are skinned for their fur, these glands are taken out.”
The castoreum and fur trades had a devastating effect on European Beavers, which were “hunted to near extinction.”
3. “Ambergris, a briny and vomitous by-product of the digestive system of” endangered sperm whales that comes from their “diseased stomachs.” Sometimes they puke it up, sometimes they poop it out. Either way it is worth bushels of cash and the genuine article is still prized in perfumes.
4. Infant excrement. I do not want to know where they get this — I’m imagining a posh, put-together woman ringing doorbells and saying “hello, do you happen to have any soiled diapers you’re finished with?”
5. Yet another sexual secretion, “musk comes from the gland of a male musk deer.” Between hunting and habitat destruction, the species is near extinction. As a result, musk is worth “3-4 times its weight in gold.”
Photo credit: Thinkstock Photo