Emily Dickinson once said “Beauty is not caused. It (simply) is.” Well, that may be true, but it won’t stop us from feverishly seeking out the next magic wonder for halting the speeding bullet of aging. Where today we are slaves to Botox and silicone, the ladies of yester-year resorted to some truly brain-cringing practices. What’s scarier is that most of these traditions/practices somehow still exist today…somewhere.
What are the strangest beauty treatments women have used? There are some bizarre ones on this list, so if you’re into that type of thing and are experimental, take a look at this
Human Foreskin Face Cream – America
In 2015, Oprah put the power of her name and endorsement behind a SkinMedica anti-wrinkle cream with a very interesting special ingredient: human foreskins from circumcised infants. According to advertisements, Oprah calls the SkinMedica cream a “magic fountain of youth and miracle wrinkle solution.” Which makes sense, since the company uses babies’ foreskin fibroblast as a culture to grow other skin or cells.
But not everyone was happy about mogul’s miracle cream. Members of the uncomfortably-named Foreskin Awareness Project protested Oprah’s endorsement of the penis skin harvesting. “Imagine how Oprah would respond if a skin cream for men went on the market that was made from parts of the genitalia of little girls,” said their founder, Glen Callender. “That would be an outrage and rightly so.”
Bird’s Dropping Facials – Japan
We’re always looking for the best facials we can get. I’ve spent hundreds (I hope, at this point) on things like this, but this kind of takes it to an extreme.
Smearing your visage with nightingale excrement sounds about as fun as, well, getting pooped on by a flock of seagulls. The aptly named Uguisu no fun, a Japanese powder made from songbird feces, was used by 18th century geishas and kabuki actors to wipe the heavy white makeup off their faces. Don’t pooh-pooh the doo-doo just yet, however. Rich in the amino acid guanine, the rarified droppings are said to impart a soft, porcelain-white mien, but it’ll cost you. At Shizuka New York Day Spa, for instance, a 50-minute facial will run you $180. We don’t suggest you try this at home, since the droppings have to be sterilized to remove toxins and then ground into a fine powder. So back away from Polly and shop online instead.
But apparently this “bathroom facial” is not a new trend and it looks like it’s one that’s here to stay, introducing the pee facial. It’s pretty self explanatory and honestly I don’t even want to talk about it.
Snail Slime Cream – Chile
The next time you step on a snail, stop to ponder the potential costs of a face-lift, and then ask yourself if you would just as easily run over your plastic surgeon.
Yes, we are always looking for solutions like this one to get the perfect skin. But do snails hold the answer? And is it a quick answer (I’m sorry, I had to go for that joke).
The mucus secreted by land snails has a powerful antioxidant, which protects them from an atmosphere full of oxygen radicals– it also cushions the road as they forage across the sidewalk, so naturally if it works for them, it must work for us.
Snail serum has been clinically proven to help maintain the skin as well as improve cell function. Additionally, it helps avoid excess or abnormal scarring, including acne scarring, counteracting sun damage and preventing premature skin aging and wrinkles.
It also accelerates the renewal of damaged tissues. And you thought they were only good for French appetizers and sidewalk art.
Ground Pig Placenta – Japan
If you missed Sex Ed 101 (or, if you’re not a woman), placenta is tissue that grows inside of women when they are pregnant.
It serves to nourish and protect the fetus, and is pushed out after the fetus during what is called the “afterbirth.” It’s slimy, slippery, bloody and full of fluids. Who would think to keep such a thing? (Matthew McConaughey, for one) The desire for youth and beauty can be a strong one, which is why in Japan, people are lining up to drink ground pig placenta. Like menstrual blood, placentas are full of vitamins, nutrients and minerals– everything that an egg or baby feeds on, pre-Gerber. Personally, I prefer my Centrum 1-A-Day, but for the brave, a 30-milliliter bottle will run you $8.50 USD or 1,000 yen in Tokyo. Not a bad price, actually.
The Japanese believe it gives them energy and revitalizes their youth. While taking a Red Bull may give you the same experience, this (at least) only has 1 ingredient. May I suggest sucking some lime afterward?
Oh and speaking of bull…
Bull Sperm Conditioner – London
Some things you just can’t make up.
Case in point: a conditioning treatment made out of bovine sperm. Offered by Hari’s, an upscale salon in London, the Aberdeen Organic Bull Semen Treatment combines the semen of Aberdeen Angus bulls with Katera root to create a protein-rich hair mask that drenches follicles in gobs of moisture. The result: shiny, full-bodied locks that have its devotees heralding it as “Viagra for hair.” $85 USD will buy a treatment. I dunno, I think you could visit any local farm, and by exercising some elbow muscles, get the same result for free.
No? Too much? Well, so is $80 for volume, I think I’ll stick with these.
Ant Body Wash – Japan
This is somehow worse than the bull sperm. A refreshing and energy-giving wash. Ants contain high levels of formic acid, which is energy-giving. In fact, you’ll find that in some cultures, ants are part of a daily diet.
The Natural Expired Fruits Acids help remove dead skin and oil residues.
According to the web site, this body wash will awaken the senses and provide an overall feeling of balance. It’s also perfect for people with oily skin or sluggish metabolisms. See those ants marching through your kitchen? They’re not the enemy after all.
Use them to wash your hair, a shower scrub, or even as a bath soak. 75 grams of post-RAID goodness for only $15 USD. Source: Edible.com
I wonder if I pick up some of these bad boys, it’ll help create the “glow” process.
Hot Buttered V-JayJays – Ethiopia
There is a little-known practice found in Ethiopian salons. Women are given a 45-minute massage head to toe, using butter as the massaging medium. Butter is also applied everywhere, from toe to scalp. Plastic bags are put over the hands and feet, and the guest is given a large chunk of butter to spread over her lady parts.
Then she is led to a room with a long row of toilets and smoke holes.
The woman sits on the toilet with her legs as far apart as possible, with her hoo-ha positioned over the smoke hole. Three heavy blankets are thrown over her so that no smoke escapes. And she’ll sit like that until all of the butter is melted, and she has become a giant, steaming yam.
The idea is to tighten up the vaginal muscles post-pregnancy, and perhaps your partner prefers butter on their muffins. No word on cost, except some modesty, dignity, and several tubs of Blue Bonnet.
It’s an honorable effort that you might call crazy, but here in America, we have been known to vajazzle andtell.
Gargling Portuguese Urine – Rome
This one’s a little more ancient.
When Marc Antony wooed Cleopatra, when Julius Cesar made a speech, when Ben Hur rode his mighty chariot, they all participated in a sacred ritual that continues today: they gargled. While that deserves a mighty huzzah, bear in mind they weren’t swishing Scope.
To improve the color of their teeth and freshen their breath, Romans imported and swilled Portuguese urine. Apparently, the Portuguese pH was much more divine and manly than mellow Roman yellow. While obviously unpleasant, urine contains several compounds, such as ammonia and urea that actually kill germs and help fight gingivitis. No price listed, but I’d imagine you can just hop down to Portugal and swap a box of donuts for a bottle of urine.
Urine is 95% water, with the other 5% comprising of salts, minerals and nitrogen. Hmmm… perhaps the Romans were hoping to blast the plaque off their teeth, as urine was also used to make gunpowder.
Either way, I wouldn’t recommend swishing your pee around in your mouth– even if it is free. There’s a reason your body expels it.
Ambergris – New Zealand
Ambergris – sounds like my mom’s fruit salad on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the truth is a lot less sweet.
“Gris” is a solid, waxy substance originating in the intestine of sperm whales. When the sperm whale has a bowel moment, the ambergris is usually expelled through the rectum. The chunks float onto the surface of the sea, where the sun sterilizes and cooks them. Ambergris floats and washes ashore, most frequently on the coasts of China, Japan, Africa, the Americas, and on tropical islands, such as the Bahamas.
In Eastern cultures, ambergris is used for medicines and potions and as a spice; in the West, it was used to stabilize the scent of fine perfumes.
No word on the cost of whale vomit or diarrhea, but maybe soon. Fingers crossed.
Ewe Placenta – Malaysia
Similar to the idea and nutrients of pig placenta, EMK Placental has brewed up an entire range of products from post-natal tissue—including facial masks, eye gels, and hair serums—that celebs like Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Madonna are rumored to partake in.
The cost for your basic face cream starts at $90 and goes up from there. Source: EMKPlacental.com (If you want to save money, try lowyat.net. Their cost is 20 MR (Malaysian ringgit) or $6 USD per packet.)
Snake Venom – USA
Simulated viper’s venom may be a little less au natural than anything else on this list, but it’s by no means any less mind-boggling.
When Cleopatra played patty-fingers with her pet asp, she may have been on to something. Sure she died instantly, but at least she died wrinkle-free, right?
Planet has come out with an anti-aging cream that has active snake venom in the list of ingredients, thereby freezing muscles without the permanent paralysis (and death) that comes with it.
Syn-Ake is the key ingredient of UltraLuxe 9, an anti-aging potion by the amazingly-named Beverly Hills dermatologist Sonya Dakar, whose A-list clientele includes Drew Barrymore, Fergie, Ben Kingsley, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The $185-per-ounce cream works by blocking the neurotransmitters that tell muscles to contract — just not on a level that leaves you completely paralyzed. This is considered a budget-friendly alternative to Botox, with the same results.
Though, let’s be honest, a truer budget-friendly alternative would be 8 glasses of water per day and SPF-30. I know, I know.
Micro-Needle Therapy – California
Yeah, I looked at this picture and envisioned a big, burly executioner in a torture chamber, somewhere around the 15th century. But no, this is an actual breakthrough (pun completely intended) in skin rejuvenation.
The concept is simple: the pin-pricks puncture the skin just enough to break it, and reveal the new skin underneath. In comparison to chemical peels and dermabrasion, this spiky roller can actually break down and diminish scars and skin blemishes.
The idea being that you penetrate the skin just enough so that the natural healing process begins. The MTS Roller is unique because it produces maximum results without expensive equipment and without removing too many skin layers; treatments are comparatively inexpensive and pose minimal risks.
The starter kit is $180, but you can contact your local spa center to find out if they practice this method – of course, they’ll have their own costs.
Foot Binding – China
This process would begin very early, usually between the ages of three and eleven. A girl’s foot would still be developing, thus the tissue was still pliable.
First, each foot would be soaked in a warm mixture of herbs and animal blood; this was intended to soften the foot and aid the binding.
Then, the toenails were cut back as far as possible to prevent in-growth, followed by a foot massage. Cotton bandages, ten feet long and two inches wide, were prepared by soaking them in the blood and herb mixture. The toes on each foot were curled under, then pressed with great force downwards and squeezed into the sole of the foot until the toes broke. The broken toes were then held tightly against the sole of the foot.
The foot was then drawn down straight with the leg and the arch forcibly broken. At each pass, the binding was tightened, pulling the ball of the foot and the heel close together, causing the broken foot to fold at the arch, and pressing the toes underneath. When the binding was completed, the end of the binding cloth was sewn tightly to prevent the girl from loosening it.
As the wet bandages dried they constricted, making the binding even tighter. The girl was required to walk on her broken and bound feet, so that her own body weight would help press and crush her feet into the desired shape. Girls whose toes were more fleshy would sometimes have shards of glass inserted within the binding between her toes to cause infection deliberately, thereby forcing the toes to fall off. I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted to fit into a size 6 THAT bad. Source: wikipedia
Cryotherapy – Las Vegas
Cryotherapy can be used in many different types of beauty regiments, from simple facials to extreme weightloss surgeries. Many cryotherapy spas use treatments with extremely cold temperatures in order to reduce wrinkles, zap fat cells, and erase varicose veins. Popular procedures, such as CoolSculpting by Zeltiq, cool your fat cells until they die, causing your body to drain the remains.
Treatment, however, can sometimes be deadly, as proven by Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, a salon worker at Las Vegas’ Rejuvinice Cryotherapy Spa. The 24-year-old died in one of the cryotherapy chambers during a routine procedure, where she froze to death almost instantly. The chamber was cooled to a chilling -240 degrees Fahrenheight – colder than the temperatures in the Death Zone on Mt. Everest. She failed to operate the machine properly during her procedure, and froze to death within seconds.
Source: The Washington Post