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:
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.
Inquiring minds want to know. If anyone happens to find more info, please send it along.
Can I just say, I really, really miss George Carlin? Anyway: a roundup of random items and a vote!
Item 1: Finally, after 2 years, we have an offer on the house!! We also did have to re-dig our water well…and repair the septic tank…but it does seem like it will happen. The downside to this is that the offer is contingent on our moving by July 30th. EEEEK!
Item 2: I will be super busy the next two weeks with a major new program for first-year students, as well as getting our fall classes sorted out. So, posting will be very spotty. I feel bad about phoning it in on the Bug Blog so often lately, but life is pretty crazy. You can tell I’m stressed because I’ve cut most of my hair off.
Item 3: Because I will be working 24/7 for the next couple of weeks, I’m trying to start packing now. Here’s the vote: Keep the 1979 high school year book? or chuck it?
No. Really. From the Washington Post:
“The Hair Whisperer is a nice name for an unappetizing – but booming – business. Ms. Goldreyer, who lives in Brentwood, Calif., is a lice-removal expert. Parents hire her (and now her staff of a dozen) to make house calls, meticulously check through children’s hair and, if lice are found, treat them with nontoxic products.”
You also can find ads for additional lice whisperers at Craig’s list. Apparently lice are a recession-proof, growth industry. And, for those who have the cash, it’s much simpler to have someone else do the work for you!
Interestingly, a new paper came out this week that evaluates the effectiveness of screening for lice:
“Visual inspection underestimated the true prevalence of active infestation by a factor of 3.5,” the authors write. Wet combing had a significantly higher sensitivity for detecting active infestations, correctly identifying them in 90.5 percent of the children (vs. 28.6 percent for visual inspections).”
Here’s the actual peer-reviewed paper: Accuracy of Diagnosis of Pediculosis Capitis: Visual Inspection vs Wet Combing. Claudia Jahnke, et al. Arch Dermatol. 2009;145(3):309-313.
It was a nicely done partly blind study with 5 elementary schools. It also suggests that the “salon” approach to lice combing may be on the right track!
One thing does trouble me, though–not a single one of the 3 websites I’ve listed here has a kid of color on the site. Do they know how to deal with “special” hair? Or is that just a reflection of a model that means that only rich (white) kids get the best treatment?
So, I took today off and worked outside in the garden. I have long curlyish hair, and usually after a day stuffed into the top of my hat, it comes in dried out and Brillo-like.
So, I have a thought–people put oil on their hair as a conditioner–why don’t I just put a little cooking oil on my hair, and have an instant hot oil treatment! Hair stays put, and gets silky, to boot.
So, I slather my hair up, stick it in the hat, and out I go. Bonus: I smell like a pizza!
Works great–hair is not all dried out when I come back inside 5 hours later.
I shampooed my hair, and the oil is still there.
In fact, I don’t think I have ever been this greasy in my entire life. I’ve cleaned my neck with alcohol several times, because it’s driving me crazy. I’m just going to stick a towel on my pillow, and hope it comes out tomorrow before I go to work.
Looks like I’ll be wearing my hair in a French braid for the foreseeable future….
I thought I would share this, in case you happened to be considering a similarly brilliant idea.
The photo is what’s blooming in the garden right now; and the post title is what I am going to call my autobiography, whenever I get around to writing it.