Worn Out

Horse Fat Shampoo!

Worn Out

kelly o

SO AFFORDABLE And it works so well.

Holy fuck, Horse Fat shampoo is a thing that exists! Find it at Daiso Japan, the import chain with amazingly cheap prices, located in the International District and downtown's Westlake Center. Daiso carries the corresponding Horse Fat conditioner, too. Each costs $1.50 and comes in a plastic bottle with cheerful colors, like orange and gold and yellow. (It's probably a coincidence, but these also represent the shade variances of actual horse fat. In Russian cuisine, the light yellow is considered the tastiest.) I bought the set and tried it, though I couldn't shake a profound repulsion. As it turns out, the shampoo's most neutral qualities are exactly what enhanced the feeling: its pearlescence, its lukewarm-ness, its bland chemical odor. I won't use it again, but afterward, my hair sure looked great—all shininess and jiggly waves.

If this shampoo embodies an ethical tragedy, our culture's deep-seated meat-eating taboos are to blame, but these are arbitrary values. It's worth noting that tons of perfectly delightful countries enjoy horse meat, and throughout history it's dipped in and out of American menus during times of scarcity—it appeared in the midst of food rationing in WWII, and when steep oil prices ruined the economy in the 1970s, butcher shops carried horse steaks.

Many commonly used beauty products contain leftovers from the animals we consider edible, and this seems not as gross, somehow. It also helps that the US cosmetics industry neatly obscures any identifying words with neutral-sounding terms like keratin, collagen, stearic acid, hydrolyzed protein, and gelatin—making it difficult to recognize their bodily derivatives, as Ruth Winter's A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients reveals. As it turns out, big-name shaving creams, lipsticks, anti-aging lotions, body washes, and bubble baths are stuffed with unpleasant smorgasbords: fat, skin, connective tissue, bone, cartilage, quills, you name it—all of it culled from the carcass remnants of pigs and cows and chickens. We're basically caked in them. If this upsets you, best to skip Winter's book, which is largely a dry read anyway, with its sciencey denseness and alphabetized lists. (Although the FDA complaint summaries can get lively, especially when ordinary products bring disastrous consequences, like inflamed scalps or hair transformed into shrunken knots. The best sentence is the most mysterious: "Deaths from intentional inhalation of [underarm] deodorant sprays have been reported.") recommended


Comments (9) RSS

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So, cut to the chase...

Are any ingredients in these products derived from horse carcasses? Or, is the English name just a poorly translated Chinese fanciful marketing thing that somehow appeals to its home target market? Could it have been just as legitimately translated to something like "Shining Filly" or "Sleek Pony?"
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on February 24, 2014 at 10:40 AM · Report this
@1-The characters on the bottle literally translate as "Horse Oil."
Posted by weevz on February 24, 2014 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Posted by sirkowski on February 24, 2014 at 11:01 AM · Report this
I use shower soap that's made from sheep fat and my shaving soap has beef tallow in it.
Posted by arbeck on February 24, 2014 at 11:04 AM · Report this
Tracy 5
@3 you win the internets today.
Posted by Tracy on February 24, 2014 at 11:46 AM · Report this
auntie jim 6
I have no idea if this stuff actually contains non vegan ingredients but most of the name brand soaps do. For shampoo and shower I use Dr. Bronner's peppermint liquid Castile soap, also available in a range of other scents. Kirk's bar soap is supposed to be vegan and it's strongly surfactant for dirty hands, also cheap at slightly over a dollar a bar at most stores. Dollar stores often have glycerin soap that claims to be vegetarian, and of course the expensive stores are well stocked with hundreds of animal friendly vegan products. Read the labels and look up ingredients you don't know.
Posted by auntie jim on February 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM · Report this
@2 Yes, but...

I'm seeing this as a knock off of "Tail & Mane" shampoo, a supposed veterinary care item that some cowgirl tried on her hair once and next they marketed it to people. So, it's more likely implied for horses than from horses.

For example, sewing machine oil is not made from sewing machines.

And for some god-forsaken reason, Chinese manufacturers seem religiously opposed to ever hiring a native English speaker to translate stuff for their export market. So, "oil," which was probably intended to convey conditioning or shininess, becomes "fat," because... it was the first word in some cheap Chinese-English dictionary entry.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on February 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM · Report this
@7 Ah, perhaps I should have said "translate literally" as opposed to "literally translate." Wasn't implying any knowledge of the ingredients- the first time I saw it I considered that meaning as well. (Oil FOR horses, not OF horses). Without seeing the other side can't really say. It is Japanese, not Chinese btw (but what you say about lack of translation oversight is equally applicable).
Posted by weevz on February 24, 2014 at 10:05 PM · Report this
audible 9
Daiso is a Japanese company that can't be bothered to alter the stock for the American market. (Why else would the Daiso shops in America insist on carrying so many mini disc storage boxes?) And there are parts of Japan where eating horse and rubbing horse oil on your person are considered a regional delicacy, or at least a tourist attraction. This is a country that puts placenta in everything, feeds whale to school children, and has zero issue watching a carved up fish carcass gasp for oxygen while noshing on its flesh. You think they'd be too sqeaked out to put horse oil in shampoo? As far as Japan is concerned the only thing surprising about your horse fat shampoo is that you got it for such a great price.
Posted by audible on February 24, 2014 at 10:08 PM · Report this

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