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.")