Skincare: So hot right now that even Fiona the hippo is doing it and—more excitingly—sharing her routine with the world. Teach us how to get that slimy glow and we’ll be forever grateful, Fi!
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s plucky one-year-old hippo made headlines in January 2017 after she was born six weeks premature and weighed half of what she should have. Zoo officials were worried that Fiona wouldn’t survive, but thanks intensive care from vets and animal care staff, Fiona was nursed to health and gained a massive social media fanbase along the way.
Now Fiona is older, wiser, and thiccer than ever, and apparently ready to tutor her loyal stans.
As we can see, Fiona is thriving. But her secret to supple, smooth, glistening Glossier-ad-girl skin? Fuckin’ blood sweat, which is one of the most metal sounding terms I’ve come across in the animal kingdom.
After exhausting research consisting of googling “SPF of hippo sweat” and only clicking three links on the first page before giving up, I’m sorry to report that the actual amount of UVB protection is unknown. However, here is “blood sweat” described by the Scientific American:
Hippos secrete a reddish oily fluid sometimes called “blood sweat” from special glands in their skin. But the fluid is not sweat. Unlike sweat, which some mammals (including humans) secrete onto their skin, where it evaporates and therefore cools the body, this fluid functions as a skin moisturizer, water repellent and antibiotic. It appears red when exposed to full sunlight, which led the first European discoverers in Africa to call it “blood sweat.”
Hippos mostly try to avoid direct sunlight by lying in water during the day and feeding at night. Their skin is very sensitive to both drying and sunburn, so the secretion acts like an automatic skin ointment. It also protects the skin from becoming waterlogged when a hippo is in the water. The detailed chemical composition of this secretion, which is unique to hippos, remains something of a mystery.
Hyaluronic acids? So 2017. Ceramides? Over it. Loan me some of that blood sweat, Fiona—I’ll only do it with your consent. It’ll be like a vampire facial, only Kim Kardashian hasn’t tried it yet.