Bizarre facials are nothing new. Throughout the centuries, people have tried various things to make their skin softer, more supple, and wrinkle-free. They haven't always worked, nor have they always been safe. Today, there are stringent guidelines for most beauty treatments, but there are still some that fall outside of the realm of normal and into the field of potentially dangerous. Yet there are people who are brave for beauty — especially celebrities with influence — and swear by even the boldest of skin care.
Will bodily fluids give you a better skin tone? Does fire combat aging? Does venom make your skin glow? If you're interested in any of these treatments or even have the nerve to try them, here's the skinny on some of the strangest facials available. Some are easy to come by (and you can even do them at home), while for others you'll have to travel to far-off exotic places to indulge. Vote up the wildest facials on this list that you'd be willing to try!
Beauty guru and YouTube personality Michelle Phan has recently stirred up conversation around her kitty litter facial. She uses fresh litter, of course, mixed with a little water, and has claimed that it's basically just like a clay facial mask providing a cheap, easy way to exfoliate and sooth your skin.
However, at least one esthetician, Rebecca O'Sullivan of Chicago's Sine Qua Non Salon, vehemently advocates not trying this DIY mask.
"Some brands of kitty litter contain aluminium silicate, the same ingredient used in glass-making as well as housing insulation. Plus, it's a known neurotoxin for humans."
Phan emphasizes using non-scented kitty litter, but even so, O'Sullivan points out that the face is the most sensitive skin on the body and that any scrubs that aren't "rounded" may cause unhealthy abrasions. Natural mud masks, O'Sullivan concludes, are always a safer and probably more effective option. Leave the litter to your kitty!
Haven Spa's Peach Smoothie treatment is a revolutionary "vagacial." A Vagacial is exactly what it sounds like—a facial for your vagina—and is carried about in much the same way as a regular facial. The skin in your pubic area is cleansed and exfoliated before extractions—yes, the esthetician will pull dirt and ingrown hairs from your pores down there—begin. And yes, like with anywhere else on your body, they can be painful.
Extractions are then followed by a clay mask and toner to soothe the skin. The process takes about a half an hour and isn't that expensive—a session is about $35-$55.
Escargot—it's not just for dinner anymore. Yes, you can now hire a crew of tiny, slithery beauticians to do their mucus-laden walk all over your face. That is—if you're outside of the US. The FDA has not yet approved the practice.
While there hasn't been much in the way of scientific proof to confirm that snail mucus does wonders for the skin, there are beauticians in Asia and Europe who purport its healing abilities. Snail mucus is said to contain proteins, anti-oxidants, and hyaluronic acid and the treatment costs considerably less than Botox. People also claim that snails have cured their acne. So unless you have an issue with small, slimy living creatures making their rounds on your face, it can't hurt to give it a try!
Dermatologist to the stars Dr. Harold Lancer touts sheep placenta facials to celebs like Kim Kardashian, Harry Styles, and Victoria Beckham who shell out $500 for just one treatment. Louise Deschamps, Lancer's esthetician, calls it the "perfect treatment" and says
"Sheep's placenta stem cells mirror human stem cells. It is a protein base that is close to our own cellular make-up so the body is able to absorb and recognizes it as its own."
Not every doctor condones the practice, however. Dr. Julia Tzu, a Manhattan dermatologist said, "I am not aware of any credible scientific study that has demonstrated the efficacy of topical sheep placenta stem cell extracts in the human anti-aging process."
Proceed with caution—the FDA hasn't regulated the practice. It can't hurt, but you may be spending a whole lot of money on something that doesn't necessarily have a benefit, and you do so at your own risk.