Pretty Hairs Removal

All hail the internet, which has once again delivered something strange and wonderful to my virtual doorstep:

Ant Egg Oil Cream.

It is, as best I can tell, a traditional hair removal remedy from the middle east–Iran and Turkey, specifically.

You get all the common pitches in the marketing playbook:

“Tala Ant Egg Oil effect was proven in laboratory experiments with doctors. “

Of course, what exactly the doctors were actually experimenting with or about, who knows.  My experiment on human subjects with this product produced a nearly 100% response rate of “WTF.”  And I just showed them a picture.

We also can be sure it’s safe, because it’s:

“100% natural”

Of course, it’s actually “100% natural ANT EGG OIL, but hey, it’s natural so it must be safe!  Like…Hemlock! Or tetrodotoxin!

You are also warned to beware of substitutes:

“There are lots of fake ant egg oil products so you should buy original Tala Ant Egg Oil.”

Also, this is probably my most favoritest FAQ on the internet:

Q: Is this ant egg oil smell like ant ?
A: No. It doesn’t smell like ant.

Here is the thing that is marketing genius.  The way this stuff works? You remove all your hair FIRST.  Then you put the ant egg oil on and massage it in for about 10 minutes.  So, basically:

1. Shave or wax all your hair off
2. Apply Ant Egg Oil
3. Excelsior! Enjoy not having hair!

Part of the marketing pitch is that it is safe for babies.  In fact, putting it on babies specifically to prevent growth of hair is part of how this product is promoted.  Which, I suppose, is quite effective for about 14 years.

Lest you think that I am just making fun of an internet site put up by someone whose first language is clearly not English, I want to point out this much more upscale version, that pretty much repeats all the same marketing lines, with the same lack of evidence. Although they use numbers and percentages to make it look even more sciencey!

The breakthrough GUTTO Ant Egg Oil Cream reduces the amount of hair in the applied area by 65%, delays the re-growth by 75% and weakens by 46%. It is a completely natural product found as a result of scientific and dermatological tests.

It’s fascinating that on the same page where this company claims scientific testing found the product, they also use an Appeal to Antiquity/Argumentum ad Populum by telling us this stuff is derived from “widespread traditional usage of ant egg oil of Ottoman women.”

What I really want to know, but can’t find anywhere, is information on the manufacturing. What kind of ant eggs? And how do they get the eggs???

If, indeed, their claim that a protein in the ant eggs destroys the root of the hair is true, you are going to need a LOT of ant eggs in order to have enough to sell in creams.  Also, in general, my experience is that ants can get quite cranky about you taking their eggs.

Of course, WHY anyone thought rubbing ant ova on their skin would reduce hair growth remains an unanswered question.



Bug_girl has a PhD in Entomology, and is a pointy-headed former academic living in Ohio. She is obsessed with insects, but otherwise perfectly normal. Really! If you want a daily stream of cool info about bugs, follow her Facebook page or find her on Twitter.

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  1. “Of course, WHY anyone thought rubbing ant ova on their skin would reduce hair growth remains an unanswered question.”

    I wonder this about a lot of things. Where in the world did people come up with the idea of grinding up beans and then steeping them in boiling water and then drinking the water? Or look at the process for making cocoa. Take the beans out of the pod, let them ferment, grind them up and then mix the stuff up with things. (BTW, this is all-natural, right?) That’s just a couple of foods.

  2. I am aware that not all actors/actresses are mental and that insanity in Hollywood is not limited to actresses but I’ll also admit that I have been watching A LOT of Archer recently and the episode “movie star” has a great deal of silliness that involves this sort of new-age, self-help, all-empowering stuff (like kelp tape and self-empowerment books) with an actress/double agent.

    When a hobby and a passion converge, it is something that sticks around in my mind for quite a while.

    On a more directly topical note, I am sad to find it so easy to believe that people are fooled by a hair removal product that you SHAVE BEFORE USING. Even some of the sillier stuff gets me to the core in a special way. If people are fooled by such ridiculous things as rubbing ant ova into their skin, how much of an uphill battle will we be fighting to get people to, say, stop giving exorbitant amounts of money to chiropractors and homeopaths who have the placebo effect to help back their dodgy claims?

    It is a lot like in my tutoring, when I have a student who is having trouble in senior math and I find out that we have to work our way back, all the way to fractional arithmetic and basic vocabulary. It is a daunting task to reeducate one, young adult and it is all that much more daunting when you have to reeducate hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people who’ve made it even farther without being taught the basics that drive skeptical thinking. *sigh*

  3. If only I’d realized that people wanted that smooth look of exoskeleton first. I’d be rich!

  4. I can’t help but feel that this fake science crap is particularly rampant with products marketed specifically for women. I am always amazed at shampoo/conditioner, makeup, and cleaning product commercials where they show random “sciency” graphs or models that DON’T MEAN ANYTHING. They also seem to think that if they slap the word “technology” randomly throughout the product description it makes something immediately desirable. It’s downright degrading, like marketing people don’t think that women can see past this shtick with their poor science and math abilities. RANT RANT RANT.

    And your analysis of this Ant Egg Oil is absolutely hilarious.

    1. Is there a technological fallacy to go with the naturalistic fallacy? I love how they use “It’s Hi-Tech” in the same ad as “It’s All Natural”.

    2. I’m not so sure about that.
      When is that last time you saw a motor oil commercial, or a high-end dog food commercial (the Blue Buffalo one makes me ROTFL), or a beer commercial.
      Advertisers are professional liars, it’s just the way it is.
      It does seem to be particularly heinous in the “health and beauty” industry; though that is increasingly not aimed just at women.

  5. I suspect, if this product is related to ants at all, it’s made from ant pupae. The cocoons one sees workers hurriedly carrying underground in disturbed ant colonies are often colloquially referred to as ‘ant eggs’. Maybe fire ant pupae have enough formic acid in them to have a depilatory effect. There might, of course, be side effects…. ;-)

  6. I imagine there is either one very large ant farm, or very little ant “goo” in the cream.

  7. It is my understanding that ants don’t have hair, so there must be something in ant eggs that prevent ants from growing hair.

    Something like ant egg DNA perhaps?

    It is well known that males can cause hair to grow on the palms of their hands by rubbing mammalian non-egg DNA on them.

  8. This is hillarious indeed.

    I should give a credit to the spelling though, the writings on the box indeed Turkish and spelled correctly.

    However, as a Turkish person, I never heard of this, I should say that the marketers must have a quite rich imagination. :)

  9. Ok, an update.
    As a skeptic, I had to look in to this. ;)

    Apparently this is also something new in Turkey It became popular in the last year or so, mainly promoted by Jenny McCarth equivalents of Turkish media. Bunch of brands appeared in a very short time and became quite popular among women.

    Lateley, due to increased complaints from users(mainly skin irritation and chemical burns), ministry of health conducted an analysis and the analysis revealed that the oil in different products was either a petroleum derivative or sunflower seed oil. The products are now banned and recalled from retail markets.

    Here are the links,in Turkish unfortunately but google translate would give you a general idea of the content.

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