AHEAD OF THE PACK
Exotic ingredients, inspired at the animal farm are the new in
The unglamorous demise of pelt and fur at the altar of political correctness may have ruffled a few feathers but fashion’s critter calls seem to have been answered elsewhere. As nightingale droppings and snake venom replace ass’s milk as the new face of food facials, the multi-billion dollar beauty industry seems to be exploring the tangle of tropical jungle to combat the heat and stress of the urban terrain. With vanity and narcissism as twin pillars of this Holy Grail, youth remains the ultimate elixir and conquering age the final frontier.
For the truly intrepid, slithering snakes are considered strangely soothing to the skin and hence make for a great massage tool. If you’re bored of the usual aromatherapy, heated stones, jade, golf balls accompanied by dulcet elevator music, nudge it up a notch with a snake massage. The idea is to allow your skin to make contact with small snakes that crawl all over it. The treatment is said to help relieve migraines and soothes sore muscles. At Barak’s snake spa in Talmei Elazar, Israel; www.wahanda.com/place/adabaraks-carnivorous-plant-farm/
If injections of live sheep placenta cells are too invasive for you, then try these placenta-based beauty treatments from a Singapore-based company that claim it does wonders for sun and acne-ravaged skin. Excellent for antiaging and cell renewal, its placenta-based products include a tonic, a soap, and facial mask among others. Benefits? From clear skin to brain stimulation. www.maylande.com
NIGHTINGALE EXCREMENT FACIAL
Geishas, traditional Japanese women
entertainers, once wore heavy white makeup containing toxic lead and zinc, which damaged their skin. As an antidote, they applied a face mask containing nightingale droppings. The birds’ poop allegedly contains enzymes that break down dead skin cells, and guanine that gives the complexion a warm glow. The Shizuka New York Day Spa offers a modernised version, in which the droppings are sanitised in ultraviolet light and then mixed with rice bran to exfoliate. The treatment costs $180. http://shizukany.com/services/skin-care /the geisha-facial/
SNAIL SLIME MOISTURISER
Animal secretion as a beauty aid may deter the most zealous narcissist, but the gooey stuff that snails excrete during the course of their travels has industry mavens cooing. Discovered by Chilean snail farmers who were up to their elbows in snail goo each day noticed that their hands were softer and smoother. Enter the snail slime moisturiser. Fortunately, you don't have to book a stay at a Chilean snail farm to benefit. Elicina snail slime moisturiser is available on the brand’s website and many spas now offer snail slime facials as well.
The thought of leeches sucking blood may hint at medieval, or at least macabre, but with proponents like Hollywood actress Demi Moore, who could question the seemingly loathsome? The leggy lass has admitted to using leeches in her beauty regimen at an Austrian spa where she had leeches applied to her body as a detoxification measure. New York City’s Continuum Center for Health and Healing offers leech treatments for arthritis and other ailments as well for about for $600 a session www.healthandhealingny.org; email@example.com
Whale vomit by any other name would be just as disgusting, but ambergris, is not only an essential ingre-
The Japanese have created a sweet vanilla scent from cow dung in half the processing cost as that from the vanilla bean”
dient in some beauty creams but it’s also added as a fixative in perfumes. A fixative is used mainly to reduce the rate of evaporation of the perfume.
This may sound radical but bull semen is the new wonder stimulant for dull hair and is being used by European salons to enhance natural shine. Spermine, an antioxidant found in sperm, is not just used in fancy salon facials but in hair care products. A Scandinavian company called Skinscience makes an entire line of spermine creams touting the antioxidant as being 30 times stronger than Vitamin E. www.skinscience.com
However, not all ingredients actually moisturise; some like snake venom smooth wrinkles—no botox needed, simply apply the moisturiser that contains the snake venom. The venom paralyses facial nerves similar to botox but without losing the use of facial expressions. So whether you fancy a face mask made with seal oil for soft, blubbery skin or use lipsticks made with cochineal beetles, vanity fare is best served up on the animal farm.
A CAVIAR FACIAL BEING PERFORMED ( ABOVE); THE SLIMY SECRETIONS EMITTED BY THE SNAIL IS USED TO HEAL AND MOISTURISE THE SKIN ( TOP RIGHT)