From bird droppings to snail slime: the strangest face masks in the world

Mucus pro - snail slime cosmetic industry

If you think makeup and beauty treatments are obsessions of the millennials, you might want to rethink that. Since time immemorial, people have been obsessed with beautifying themselves and that often includes pushing boundaries with bizarre facials to nourish their skin.

Call it bizarre or exotic, some of these facial treatments have been around for a long time but are not everyone’s cup of tea. Imagine signing up for a skin care treatment that makes a bunch of slimy snails crawl over your face or voluntarily paying to get the sensation of a bee sting. Or how about applying bird poop?

These ingredients, though all-natural, may sound extreme but the treatments claim to offer an array of benefits. From hydrating the skin, bringing out the inner glow, treating acne and exfoliating, these facials are claiming visible benefits of flawless skin.

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian  and Victoria Beckham have talked about some of these facial treatments a lot. If you are a beauty junkie who likes to experiment, then these offbeat skincare routines and facial treatments might interest you.

Here are some bizarre facials that are not for the faint hearted

Snail Facial

Apart from making the French delicacy Escargot, snails have been a part of beauty dictionaries for a long time. Ancient Greeks used snail mucin to treat indigestion, cough and body inflammation.

Korean skincare routines have been using snail mucin for a long time to achieve youthful-looking skin. The slimy trudge left behind by the molluscs has hyaluronic acid, a substance known for its plumping and anti-ageing properties. The mucin also contains glycoprotein enzymes, elastin, antimicrobial elements and peptides which are beneficial for collagen production and give a soft and even skin tone. The slimy snail mucin helps fight bad bacteria, protects from UV rays as well as keeps the skin hydrated during summer.

Although there is no scientific evidence that claims the benefits of snail mucin, several skincare routines have actively adopted it and snail mucin bizarre facials and products are now popular.

Vampire facial

Mucus pro - human blood plasma mask

The very idea of a vampire evokes images of bloody white fangs and eerie sounds as the vampire proceeds to bite. But that’s not what this treatment is about. However, yes, it does involve blood— human blood.

Before you feel disgusted or horrified, you should know that Kim Kardashian underwent this treatment and popularised it in 2013. The treatment involves microdermabrasion followed by platelet-rich plasma being applied over the skin. Platelets are rich in growth factors and help promote cell turnover. It also increases the elastin and collagen in the skin and is full of antioxidants and hydrating properties. The plasma evens out the skin tone and texture, smoothens fine lines and wrinkles. The facial is known to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks, rejuvenate the under-eye area, tighten pores and plump up the skin in general.

Wondering how the plasma is extracted? At the very beginning, your own blood is extracted from your forearms and is put through a centrifuge to separate the plasma. Then comes the microdermabrasion or micro-needling procedure to inject the plasma at the affected areas.

It takes about a day or two to recover and see the visible results. There might be redness on the skin like sunburn which subsides shortly but using SPF creams is a must. You would also have to avoid using makeup during this period.

Bird poop facial

How to make snail slime?

One of the most bizarre beauty treatments, the bird poop facial has been around in Japan for centuries. Japanese geishas discovered the benefits of bird poop long back and have since then been using it regularly. Uguisu no fun, which translates to poop of the Nightingale, helps break down dead skin cells and gently exfoliates the skin.

The Japanese bush warbler bird is harvested for its poop. After a diet of organic seeds, the bird faeces are collected and sanitised under UV light. It is then dried and grounded into a fine powder which is mixed with water and applied as a face mask. It is replete with urea and enzymes that break down the skin to give a rich glow. Celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham and Tom Cruise have taken to this regime and popularised it.

Bee venom facial

Mucus pro: How to make snail slime

No one would want to get stung by a bee on purpose. What about using bee sting venom? Maybe not, but take it fromKate Middleton. This bee sting facial is a reason indeed behind the youthful appearance of the mother of three.

With anti-ageing elements, this facial is considered an alternative to botox. The mechanism is based on the way our skin reacts to bee sting. The treatment doesn’t involve actual bees swarming on your face but uses the venom as its main component. When the products are applied, our skin reacts in a way as if we are actually stung, in turn stimulating the blood flow.

With age, we lose skin elasticity and there is a reduction in collagen. This bizarre facial helps blood flow to reach those affected regions and makes the skin firm. Hence, it reverses wrinkles and fine lines. Regular application helps in getting youthful skin and a firm tone. However, it is advised to test it on a small area to see if you are allergic to the components or not.

Fire facial

cosmetic masks from open fire

How far are you ready to go in the name of facial treatments? Would you be willing to set your face ablaze for that glowing look and plump skin?

The Fire facial, performed at Chinese beauty salons, is also known as Huǒ liáo. For this bizarre beauty treatment, therapists use open flames to promote cell production and aid in bringing a younger look. A towel soaked in a concoction of enzymes and ‘elixirs’ and then in alcohol is placed on the face and set on fire. The flames are put out before it becomes too hot to handle.

The fire helps in accelerating cell growth and facilitates treating wrinkles and sagging, as well as burns fat.

Caviar facial

caviar cosmetic masks

The idea may sound fishy but for those looking to push the boundaries and test their limits, the Caviar facial can be a perfect choice.

Caviar or fish eggs are known for being rich in vitamins A, B and D and is commonly used in creams to reduce skin ageing and wrinkles. The benefits also include cleaning and exfoliation to give healthy blemish-free skin.

Best suited for acne-prone skin, the facial claims to stimulate metabolism and enrich the skin with nutrients. The procedure is quite simple. The caviar, generally wrapped in gauze, is directly applied to the face quickly and kept for maximum benefits.

Not only sturgeon! Bulova company produces snail cosmetics under the MORDO brand from snail caviar. Snail caviar is a pure mucin in composition close to snail mucus.

Placenta facial

How to make snail slime

Kim Kardashian very famously exclaimed in Keeping Up With The Kardashians that she had eaten her own placenta after giving birth and fooled her family. The idea may sound extremely bizarre and quite disgusting but many women actually do it for its nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Sheep, botanical or human placenta may be used for this treatment and it claims to have no negative effects.

However, for this treatment, you don’t need to eat placenta. You can simply apply it on your face and gain maximum benefits. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Harry Styles and Victoria Beckham have experienced it as well. Skincare expert Louise Deschamps describes the sheep placenta facial as an extremely hydrating and nourishing treatment. It is one of the signature treatments offered at Dr Harold Lancer‘s famed dermatology practice in Beverly Hills and these celebrities flock to Deschamps for it. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Deschamps explained, “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 recognises it as its own.”

Benefits include slowing signs of ageing, inducing skin rejuvenation, reducing acne and leaving the skin glowing. The placenta is incorporated in creams and skincare products which are then applied on the skin. While there are no scientific claims behind it, people still try it for the bizarre experience.

Hero image: Courtesy Yulissa Tagle/ @yulissatagle/ Unsplash; feature image: Courtesy Kim Kardashian/ @kimkardashian/ Instagram
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India. Read interesting news on

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