Some of us can get a little obsessed with skincare. It’s become pretty normal for us to cover our faces in creams, serums, SPF, cleansers… the list goes on. And while this may sound extreme enough to the uninitiated (“You should just try an eye cream, though!”), some people are taking it to even further. Can you guess what people around the world put on their faces in the name of beauty? And would you be willing to try it?
Snail Slime, Chile
Let’s start with one that you can actually find in the UK, should you wish to: snail slime face masks. About forty years ago, a Chilean snail farming family noticed that their skin became soothed and clear, and healed more quickly from cuts and scrapes after they handled the snails. They were the first people to market snail slime as a cosmetic ingredient, and founded skincare brand Elicina. You can actually still buy this in England, as well as a multitude of Korean sheet masks that include the magic ingredient, from brands including Tonymoly, Etude House, and Oh K! The mucus itself is packed with hyaluronic and glycolic acids, so skin is exfoliated and hydrated simultaneously. We think this might be one of the unusual options we’d be open to trying – although you can definitely get both of those ingredients from affordable brands like The Ordinary, so we’re not sure why you’d resort to snails…
We’ve all heard that Kourtney Kardashian had her own placenta turned into pills after the birth of her son, but have you ever considered slathering placenta on your face? We’re reliably(ish) informed that it has myriad anti-ageing benefits, because it promotes the production of collagen and elastin – say hello to plump, glowy skin – and it’s taking the USA by storm. While you can have your own placenta made into capsules after pregnancy, you might have to rely on animal placenta for any topical needs. As far as we can discover, ewe placenta was first used topically in Malaysia.
Foreskin Facials, USA
Staying in the same region, let’s take a look at another of America’s miracle anti-ageing cures: foreskin facials. A big hit with a plethora of celebrities – including Oprah and Kate Beckinsale – this procedure really does involve injecting a serum made from the circumcised foreskins of South Korean babies into your face. We’re not sure why it has to be specifically South Korean babies, but the facial is said to reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture, due to the epidermal growth factors – or EGF – that it contains. This promotes collagen and elastin production, which sounds all well and good, but apparently your face also smells alarmingly like semen for the rest of the day. Maybe not one to try in your lunch hour – or if you ask us, at all…
Straying away (briefly) from the gloopy, let’s take a look at Micro Needle Therapy, America’s most on point trend (geddit?). Seriously, microneedling involves rolling teeny tiny needles across your face, breaking the skin a little in order to stimulate cell renewal and turnover. Think reduced scars, rapidly healing blemishes, and a clear complexion. We’re not surprised this spiky practice is big with Americans, who are surely pioneers of the old adage ‘you have to suffer to be beautiful’.
Nightingale Poop, Japan
So, from cells reacting to attack straight onto nightingale poop. Yep, you read that correctly: Japan’s uguisu no fun – which translates literally to ‘nightingale faeces’ – really does sound like no fun at all. Smearing your face in a concoction containing the stinky substance originated as a way for geishas and kabuki actors to remove their heavy white grease paint – it might be the basis for today’s double cleanse! Nowadays, its natural urea content is supposed to hydrate, heal and protect skin from signs of ageing. We’ve heard of people doing weirder things than using this – you can buy a sterilised version on Amazon, if you want to try it out.
If you’re not up for rubbing poo into your face – and we don’t blame you – how about opting for a different type of brown stuff? Mud baths are popular all over the world, from the Dead Sea to Turkey’s pretty Pamukkale. Don a swimsuit, jump in, and make sure the mud covers every inch of your skin, including your face. In Turkey, it’s said to reduce wrinkles, while the mud from the Dead Sea apparently strengthens the epidermis and improves skin elasticity. If nothing else, it makes for a great photo opportunity to laugh at later!
Brace yourself, because the thought of this next one makes us retch a little. China’s huo liao is for those who want to be truly smoking: it translates as ‘fire treatment’, and it involves a skincare-soaked cloth being dipped in alcohol, carefully laid across your face, and set on fire. While on your face. It’s then quickly put out before skin is anywhere near burnt, but the idea still makes us shiver. We’re not sure who would be mad enough to come up with this, but apparently the quick burst of heat stimulates skin cells, prompting a reduction in dullness, wrinkles, and sagging. It’s a step too far to avoid looking your age, if you ask us!
This next one sounds positively tame in comparison. Venturing back to the USA, the vampire facial has become quite a hit. Yet another Kardashian helped to popularise this one: Kim’s bloody selfie has definitely inspired others. She was initially inspired by Dr Barbara Sturm, one of skincare’s leading ladies. Dr Sturm’s skincare range has glowing reviews; she has created a cream that incorporates the user’s own blood, having stimulated it to mimic injury to the body. Originally, she was part of a medical discovery that looked at using a person’s own blood cells to produce proteins and accelerate the healing process. Taking this into skincare, Dr Sturm reckons that incorporating blood will help kick stubborn skin cells into action, leaving you with a smooth, youthful visage.
We’ve saved the ultimate glow-up for last. Coating your face in gold does seem like a bit of an extravagance, but Equinox Spa in Toronto claims that its 18 karat gold facial will reveal a brighter, smoother face, leaving you looking younger and healthier. You could fly to Canada to experience it for yourself, or you could look into picking up a sheet mask that incorporates the golden ingredient. Starskin, Oh K!, and Masque Bar all have variations that are available in the UK, so give yourself an at-home glow!