Is there sheep's placenta in your makeup and hair products?

The 21st century has been all about preserving and restoring youth and health — whether it's wearing a sunscreen moisturizer, hitting the gym, or going under the knife. The goal is simple: live longer and look younger.

However, as the 21st century has aged a few years, so too have the plastics that once made women look and feel younger. From one horror story to the next, we have learned that plastics aren't what they seem to be, and can often go awry and ruin your health, your look and your life.

Of course, no one is hopping off the looking younger train. No way! Instead, the craze has taken a turn for the natural.

The Secret Ingredient?

We’ve all heard about the plants and herbs that have magical powers of health and youth locked in them, but the new buzz is surrounding another type of "natural" secret weapon: placenta.

Yep, placenta — the organ that feeds a fetus in a female's womb apparently has anti-aging qualities. Yum.

It turns out, though, that the buzz around placenta having anti-aging qualities can be traced back to the 1930s when women were paying thousands for injections of placenta to help them look younger.

Rumor has it that many companies have been quietly including placenta into their anti-aging products without advertising the practice, you know, just in case women don’t find the idea of applying birth matter to their face and hair so appealing.

However, because placenta is high in hormones and proteins such as estrogen and progesterone (a hormone produced in the ovaries), it's often used in cosmetics, anti-aging products and even hair products.

Who, What, Where and Huh?

"Many companies have been quietly including placenta into their anti-aging products without advertising the practice, just in case women don’t find the idea of applying birth matter to their face and hair so appealing."

Before you start freaking out about whose placenta is where, let us quickly clarify — it isn't human. Most often, sheep’s placenta is used in cosmetic products, but other animals’ placenta have been used as well.

Hair brands such as La Bella and Hask have produced multiple products that claim to include placenta and promise to restore health and vivacity to dry, damaged or color-treated hair that’s looking for nourishment. Some swear by its magical healing powers, while others are more grossed out than anything else. quoted an anonymous 59-year-old aesthetician from Beverly Hills, CA raving about her new skin after beginning her placenta-regimen and nixing the Botox. “The lines are just staying away,” she said.

However, a dermatology professor from N.Y.U., Ronald Branncaccio, says all the hype around the supposedly miraculous ingredient in anti-aging creams is pure bogus. “There’s nothing magical about placenta,” Branncaccio said. “If the cream works, it’s probably because of the moisturizing base rather than the placenta.”

Legal Issues

While reviews are mixed on the placenta’s benefits, health officials seem to lean one way in the placenta debate — and it’s not good news for some companies.

An FDA study in 2002 found that girls as young as 8-years-old began developing pubic hair and breasts after using estrogen or placenta-based products. Ella Toombs, acting director for the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the FDA, told New Scientist magazine that she did not recommend the use of hormone-based beauty products for anyone.

“No amount [of estrogen] is considered safe and can be included in an over-the-counter product.” Toombs said.

According to FDA regulations, any product containing hormones are classified as drugs and must get approval before use.

So curlies, would you use placenta infused products?

Foram Mehta
I would be more worried about the hormone side of it. I mean its the beauty industry, try to think of one natural "thing" that is "fair" for everyone involved. (think how oils are extracted, aka argan oil, or anything that comes from animals.) its a billion dollar industry, they dont care bout whats right and wrong. best think anyone can do is to educate yourself about it and avoid the ingredient. This placenta is just another example.

@anneh, I totally agree with you! You don't see animals taking off our limbs or etc. (Okay, so they can't do that, but that's besides the point.) It's a part of nature, can't we humans live WITHOUT hurting what was given to us by mother nature, hmm? And if that's not enough to drive you away from animal cruelty, think about how gross it would be to have that stuff in your hair? It's kind of like that bull semen article... Disgusting and cruel!

Of course there are tons of nutrients in the placenta; it has been supporting the tiny life in the womb. However, in nature, the placenta is eaten by the mother animal to help replace nutrients lost during birth. I have to agree with Anneh that there is cruelty involved in harvesting them for our own vain purposes.

lmao.. it just sounds gross to me. :-) lol..

I don't care if placenta was made of gold and fine silk, I don't wanna use it!

Do not use animal products like these, don't you understand the cruelty involved in getting them. Usually animals used for this kind of product live in horrible enclosed conditions just giving birth non-stop with no real life. So that someone can have great hair - how evil.

I love both La Bella and Hask placenta products. It's bologna they said the moisturizing base would be helping more than anything. Placenta is protein I believe. And for me, it's an amazing protein for my protein sensitive hair. As for the estrogen content, eh. I take a birth control pill. I use cosmetics with chemicals (shadows, liners, mascara). And soy contains estrogen (which isn't natural according to how they process it I believe). So I'm not entirely concerned with a shampoo or conditioner. Everything we expose to our bodies is toxic pretty much in this day so a bit of placenta to make my hair look better doesn't bother me a bit! Putting this in the FB status update too.