Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Crocodoil: Snap It Up!

When I was first invited to test CrocodOil my initial reaction was "Is this a crock...?"

...closely followed by: "Surely people don't rub oil from a crocodile into their skin? Their prehistoric-looking hide doesn't look too supple to me; if it's so full of goodness why do they look as though they're in need of slathering on a decent moisturiser themselves, huh?" When you picture a crocodile you're hardly conjuring up images of baby-smooth skin. "And anyway, aren't they an endangered species?"

At the mention of Crocs I usually get a mental image of those ugly rubber shoes with the holes - you know, to let your dignity seep out? I shudder at the thought. I've been working in the beauty industry for over twenty years, yet I'd never heard of crocodile oil, so I was intrigued...

Actually, crocodile oil has been used for centuries to treat a variety of skin conditions, from eczema to psoriasis, burns to bites, as well as in anti-ageing preparations - although it's relatively new to the UK market. I find several respected publications running glowing features about it, such as Marie Claire, InStyle and The Telegraph.

Peering into the mirror at my rough forty-something skin and sunken little eyes I'm all too aware that a harsh British winter has left me looking, well, a tad reptilian myself, so, curiosity piqued, I decide to get back in touch with Barbara Bantleman, CEO of Crocodoil, for more information.

I fire my questions at Babs, and she's quick to reassure me that the crocodiles used in her skin preparations are farmed primarily for their meat, and that the skins are used as a by-product by the fashion and beauty industries in much the same way as cattle. However, the farms CrocodOil work with go one step further and release up to 30% of the baby crocs they rear back into the wild, contributing to the South African Nile crocs they use coming off the endangered list. The crocodiles must be carefully cared for: any damage to skins would render them worthless, so it's in the interests of the farmers to ensure their wellbeing. far, so fair.

She goes on to explain that the crocodiles are farmed in a natural environment over a large area; there's no use of hormones or pesticides; no animal testing - and the products themselves are created in a UK laboratory, independently tested and are EU cosmetic licensed.

Free range crocs on the farm in South Africa

Having ticked the animal welfare and ethics boxes, I'm eager to test the product for myself. Crocodile oil contains naturally-occurring terpines which are known antiseptics, oleic acid for cell regeneration and sapogens to soften the skin. It's rich in omegas 3, 6 and 9: essential fatty acids (EFAs) needed for the body’s functions, with strong anti-inflammatory properties which can’t be produced by the body itself. It also contains linoleic acid, which eases muscle aches and joint pain, as well as antioxidant vitamin A to fight free radicals and helps repair skin.

CrocodOil is 100% pure, with only healing vitamin E and neroli (orange blossom) essential oil added to it, which gives a delicate floral fragrance, as well as being antiseptic and radiance-boosting. The product contains just these three ingredients; no chemicals, no preservatives.

15ml CrocodOil

The product I'm testing is the 15ml pump dispenser which retails at £28. My initial reservations about the morality around using an animal-derived product on my skin are appeased when I do my research. Animal fats are present in so many household items, from face creams to toothpaste, carrier bags, candles, soap, and anything requiring glue. Even the new five pound notes contain animal fat. If you're using the meat from the animal, there's no further harm in using the fat, which would otherwise be thrown away. No crocodiles are killed solely for the oil.

The Nile crocodile is a common species, farmed extensively as food in South Africa.  If I eat meat and own leather bags and shoes, then really what's the difference? I appreciate it may not be for everyone, and I respect your opinion on this one; I'll leave it you to decide. I slather on a generous layer and take to my social media accounts to share my discovery...

Some friends react in the same way that I initially did: voicing their concerns. Others get in touch to share their successful experiences with similar oils, such as Emu Oil, used by Hollywood stars such as Cate Blanchett, who swears by their rejuvenating and healing properties.

Like most women of my age, I'm keen to look as young on the outside as I still feel on the inside, yet am unwilling to succumb to the stunned-bunny look that often comes with Botox. And besides, I want my pocket money for more important things - like wine...and cake.

The following morning: to my surprise I wake up with the smoothest, softest skin I've had in years. I'm gobsmacked. Andy tries it too and is similarly impressed. My dad has always suffered with very dry skin and also found it beneficial. Over the following days my skin certainly appears more radiant and make-up glides on smoothly. The oil is also recommended for hands and nails, ragged cuticles, a scrawny neck, stretchmarks, cracked heels - none of which I have, of course <coughs>.

Needless to say though, if these benefits continue, I'll certainly be getting some more. If the expression "Dry January" applies more to the state of your skin than your abstinence from alcohol this month, you might want to snap some up too...

NB: I have not been paid for this article and am not affiliated to CrocodOil in any way. I was supplied with the product and asked to write an impartial review. 

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