A very popular creme on the asian market holds the promise of miracles, but one of its ingredients is quite disconcerting …
I was waiting for my fligt back to Europe from Hong Kong, and I decided to go shopping for a present for my mother.
Right there in the middle of the passengers area there was a large stand of a korean creme, in its charming packaging: Guerisson 9 Complex, apparently very famous on the asian market.
According to its promoter, it can do nothing short of miracles: it is moisturizing, it nourishes the skin, it is effective against wrinkles, heals small wounds, it has a soothing effect in case of insect’s bites and much more…
As I had recently had a very good experience with cosmetics of another korean brand (Nature Republic), I hesitated no longer and got my gift wrapped up.
The disturbing discovery
A few months afterwards, my Mom calls me to tell me that that present she liked so much is almost over and she would like to buy another one of the same.
Therefore, I hit the internet trying to find the creme and I stumble on this review, that discloses what is the magic ingredient of the miraculous creme: it’s horse oil, which is of course made from horses.
I suddenly realized, not without a shock, what I should have understood right away; indeed, the image on the packaging was a clear telltale sign, but as I couldn’t read the ingredients list (as written in korean) I was carried away by the memory of other brands (say, La Martina, for instance) and I didn’t focus on the fact that the horse was in fact inside the creme.
The legal battle for patents
Trying to understand more, I discovered that this very popular creme, a bestseller on the korean and the japanese market, is the object of a tough legal battle, between “Claire’s”, the brand that allegedly produces the “original” horse creme (the one I bought) and “IM Beauty” that markets the same product under a different name.
The cosmetic virtues of horse oil
It seems that horse oil is one of the latest big trends in Asia-Pacific, as far as the cosmetics market is involved. However, as this article would confirm, horse oil has been used in Asia for millennia, for its ability to heal burns, dermatitis, small wounds and so on.
Now, horses are not getting killed just so this creme can be produced; the peerless oil is a by-product of meat-processing.
In any cases, it would feel strange to spread on my face a part of “Fury” or “Spirit the Stallion”.
The ethics of cosmetics
Another side of this story that I find puzzling is that “Claire’s” advertises the fact that their horse oil comes from Germany as a key selling point.
Maybe, a european brand (or any brand selling on the european market) would not see this as a viable marketing approach, with all the EU regulations and the attempts to safeguard animals rights.
It is true, however, that butchers specializing in horse meat can be found all across many european Countries such as Italy or France and it is also true that other animal products like cochineal in lipsticks or keratin in shampoos, abound in all sorts of cosmetics.
What’s the point in this story then: as a vegetarian, I am a bit more touchy on this topic; on the contrary, my mother found the product very good and would like to buy more.
As someone said, ethic is relative, and also this short cosmetic’s story may trigger different opinions and points of view.
In the meanwhile, here below some more korean specialties: