Throughout history, women have gone to drastic measures all in the name of improving their looks. While in the Fort Wayne region we stick to lava rock massages and clarifying facials, others go a little further. From crocodile dung baths to Chinese foot binding rituals, tape worm diets, white lead facials and engaging the services of a “dimple machine,” women have tried everything to turn back the clock or give their skin a glow.
While we may no longer turn to these practices, there are some ancient secrets that are alive, well and have become the bizarre beauty trends of the 21st century. Here are four to consider:
The “Geisha” Facial.
Offered in high-end salons in London, Manhattan and even in some Hawaiian vacation resorts, the Geisha facial is considered by some to be the secret to flawless skin. Used by teahouse performers since the 1600s and now the go-to service for A-list celebrities all over the world, it is a product that has become known for its active ingredient: bird poop.
Although it is not cheap, some people swear by this crap (excuse the pun) and feel it is worth the $180 a pop they pay for it in the Big Apple. However, if you want to try the DIY version in your own home, you can buy the product for less than $30 through online retailers such as www.ugisushop.com.
The Fish Pedicure.
This highly controversial practice comes from the Middle East and consists of individuals submerging their feet in a tub filled with small, carp-like fish (Garra Rufa) and allowing the critters to eat the scaly skin from their soles.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 10 states have banned the procedure because there is no way to sterilize the tools between clients without having a fish fry at the same time. There is also concern that the tubs are not cleaned between users and that the water contains animal waste. There is also the animal cruelty issue in which the fish must be starved in order to perform the task, it does not meet the legal definition of a pedicure, and if released into the wild, the exotic fish pose a threat to native plants and animal life. (Note: as of 2009 the State of Indiana has not determined whether or not to ban the practice, but it has been approved in Ohio.)
It’s organic, full of protein and designed to infuse the follicles with plenty of body and shine. It’s also made from cattle semen. No bull, the Aberdeen Organic Bull Semen treatment has become the most talked about treatment in London and has been referred to as “Viagra for hair.”
The serum costs anywhere from $90 to $138 and combines refrigerated sperm with the root of the protein-rich plant Katera, which is massaged into the hair in order to repair, restore and brighten it. Owners of Hari’s, an upscale salon in London say there is no shortage of customers that request it and as long as the bulls can rise to the occasion, it will remain on the list of offered services.
Before you throw a hissy fit over the idea of a real live snake slithering up and down your spine, the snake massage is a specialty service offered in Israeli salons, but it doesn’t look like it will make its way to the U.S. any time soon. Supposedly, the continuous movement of a small (non-poisonous) snake actually helps relax an individual while larger species are used to relieve muscle tension and stress. While it may be sssss-satisfying to some, we’ll slink away from this one for the time being.
Crazy beauty rituals? That’s for you to decide.