What would you do in the name of beauty? Stop. Before you answer that, maybe you should take a peek at what’s on the menu. From Bird Poo to Bee Venom, the quest for youth just got a little bit crazier, as Emma-Charlotte Bangay discovers!
Has beauty gone bonkers? Snail Mucus, Bird Poo and Sheep Placenta are now just another day at the cosmetics counter!
Here are 10 of the weirdest beauty treatments going around:
1. Sheep Placenta: It is no wonder Mary dragged that poor lamb to school one day, it seems she was acting on vanity. Scientific studies have shown that sheep placenta promotes cell growth, strengthens the immune system, boosts skin health and slows the ageing process, making it one of the western worlds fastest growing beauty essentials. (In china it has been used for over 1400 years!)
2. Snake Venom: Fancy a slithery sucker taking care of your skin? Fear not, the snake venom skincare craze – made popular by none other than Ms Gwyneth Paltrow – uses the synthetic version of snake venom to relax the complexion, mimicking a paralysing effect on muscles and deep emotive wrinkles sans injectable.
3. Vodka: According to catwalk insiders, Victoria’s Secret models always travel with a hip flask for a pre-show nip. Mixing vodka, mint sprigs and lemon or cinnamon in a backstage broth, they swish it around to make their breath smell fresh. Be warned however, experts agree that not only will this dry out the mouth and do nothing towards removing stains from teeth, it may push you over .05 faster than you can say 'Work It Girl!'
4. Dead Bugs: Do you know how many bugs have been harmed in the process of creating that red-hot lipstick pigment? Possibly piles! ‘Cochineal’ is extracted from cochineal insects when they are boiled in water, which becomes the red dye many cosmetic companies clamour for when filling their seasonal shades. There are Cochineal-free options if this turns your stomach a tad, which use a beetroot – rather than bug – base.
5. Charcoal: Binchotan Charcoal is touted as the natural way to get whiter teeth, without the need for teeth whiteners, gels and bleaches, which contain enamel-eroding toxins. It has an impressive ability to absorb tannin – the toxin that stains the teeth - before it can grab hold, so if you’re a fan of black coffee and red wine this Binchotan Charcoal is the toothbrush for you!
6. Bird Poo: She may not smile, but her skin is pretty darn happy. And it seems Victoria Beckham keeps it that way with a little help from a few little Nightingales! It’s their poo – all the way from Japan - which is purported as the prime ingredient within her favourite facials. The waste is dried under UV lights and mixed with rice bran, causing it to release an enzyme that creates an exfoliating process on the skin. Not sold? How do you think those Geisha Girls got all that makeup off, hey?
7. Lava: This one is hot off the press. Pun intended. Icelandic microcrystalline lava is used within exfoliants to gently slough away dry skin cells. Sounds slightly terrifying, but when you consider that it’s combined with apricot kernels – an all-natural and environmentally friendly alternative to plastic micro beads used in many other exfoliants – it actually sounds kind of appealing, right?
8. Snail Trail: Not only do French women refuse to get fat, most of them refuse to get old as well. And it seems in both cases escargot has a lot to answer for. A delicacy of France, the humble snail is also being lapped up in salons, with snail mucus proving the ingredient de jour for boosting flagging collagen stores. It is also said to be full to overflowing with glycolic acid, antibiotics and skin healing properties, making it popular as far afield as America and Asia.
9. Foreskin: The use of infant foreskin within beauty products goes beyond the silly into the positively shocking. But guess what? It even has Oprah’s stamp of approval! Although not widespread – yet – the foreskin discarded after circumcisions, begs belief within the beauty world, but within the medical field, human foreskin has been used for years as a method to cultivate new skin growth, instead of performing skin graphs on burn patients, making it an obvious choice for regenerating the complexion…?
10. Bee Venom: No one can argue that Kate Middleton didn’t positively beam on her wedding day. But it has come to light that her radiance may only have been partly due to her snagging herself a prince. See, the royal beauty is a big fan of Bee Venom facials, which she partook in pre-nuptials. Sourced from New Zealand, The Bee Venom Mask is known in cosmetic circles as the natural alternative to Botox, as it gently stimulates and tightens the muscles upon application. Sometimes, beauty certainly is pain. Or at least it sounds that way.