- Influencer Caroline Calloway released a homemade skincare product this week, calling it an “elixir of youth.”
- She’s calling it “snake oil,” a hat tip to her reputation as a “scammer.”
- Insider asked a dermatologist to review Calloway’s ingredients list.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Calloway first posted a photo of the little vials, filled with yellow liquid and stamped with hand-drawn British crest logos, on her Instagram story earlier this week.
The concoction is a mixture of facial oils and costs $75 per one-ounce bottle and $210 per four ounces. That price could increase when she gets more professional packaging, she said on Instagram.
Calloway posted an update on Thursday explaining that the first 100 bottles sold would feature her hand-drawn design, but the next 200 would have “professional” labels and ingredient lists.
The potion is said to contain grapeseed oil, lemon peel oil, and more
Pictures of the design draft shared on Instagram show that the blend includes oils derived from fruits, flowers, and herbs. The so-called “elixir of youth” has helped Calloway counteract both acne and signs of aging, she said on Instagram.
“We all know that I have amazing skin. This is just historically correct – I have the skin of a viral 18-year-old TikToker, and I’m turning 30 in December,” Calloway said on her Instagram story.
Some of the ingredients Calloway named could have benefits for the skin, dermatologist Marisa Garshick told Insider. Grapeseed oil contains linoleic acid, an essential ingredient in moisturizers, as well as some antioxidants that can brighten the skin.
Grapeseed oil is one ingredient in Caroline Calloway’s “snake oil,” the influencer said on Instagram.
Michelle Arnold/EyeEm/Getty Images
The ingredients list also contains some soothing oils, such as clary sage and sandalwood. But Garshick said the lemon peel oil, which may be meant to reduce pigmentation or
, could irritate sensitive skin.
“All that being said, it is important to remember that there are other ingredients that are also important when considering an anti-aging and anti-acne routine, such as retinoids, so it is important to remember that this one product may not be enough,” Garshick told Insider.
But the product might not be a good fit for all skin types. Those with oily or acne-prone skin may want to avoid putting oil on their faces as a general rule, as dermatologist John Zampella previously told Self.
Calloway is known for branding herself a ‘scammer’
Calloway rose to prominence for her essay-like Instagram captions that detailed her life as an American student at Cambridge University, which earned her a book deal that fell through after her publisher withdrew from the contract in light of Calloway’s waning interest in writing it, she told Man Repeller in 2018.
In 2018 and early 2019, journalist Kayleigh Donaldson posted a viral Twitter thread, and later a story for Pajiba, about the collapse of a workshop tour that Calloway planned and later canceled in 2019. That incident earned Calloway the “scammer” reputation that she has since incorporated into her brand. Later that year, she hosted a workshop cheekily called “The Scam,” and now she has a forthcoming book named after it.
The cultural idea of “the scam” underpinning her work grew after her former ghostwriter Natalie Beach penned an essay about working with Calloway for The Cut.
Since then, she has become a near-mythologized figure in the influencer space, known for selling her paintings, the OnlyFans account she launched in April 2020 (that bears the cheeky description “OnlyScams”), and her anticipated book: “Scammer.”
The new snake oil product is the latest in that genealogy. Dermatologists suggest exercising caution if you’re interested in a DIY product with a vague ingredients list.
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