Forget microdermabrasion and laser facials. Across the globe, unusual beauty treatments are giving “normal” ones a run for their money. With promises of glowing skin, reduced wrinkles, and an overall more youthful look, women continue to prove they’ll do some pretty gruesome stuff in the name of beauty. From fish soaking off your dead skin to bath tubs filled with red wine, here’s a skeptical look at four of the most bizarre treatments:
Fish Pedicure – I don’t know too many women who don’t enjoy a good pedicure. It’s a perfect way to relax while removing those unwanted calluses so you can reveal sandal ready toes. A fish pedicure is no different, except for the fact it’s thousands of tiny fish doing all the work on your feet. It is said to be a comfortable experience as the toothless fish do not bite into flesh but rather suck loose bits of dead or unhealthy skin. If you’re familiar with The Real Housewives of Orange County you saw Tamra dramatically claim it was the weirdest thing ever. I have a feeling my reaction would not be far off from hers. Unfortunately for those who do appreciate thousands of tiny fish gnawing at their dead skin, the treatment has been banned in numerous states for obvious health and sanitation concerns. If you are one of the dedicated fish pedicure goers your best bet is to make your way to Thailand, where plenty of fish spas continue to nibble on.
Blood Facial – Last year many of us watched on as Kim Kardashian enjoyed a quick trip to the spa with her self-proclaimed bestie Jonathan Cheban on an episode of Kim and Kourtney Take Miami. Just another relaxing visit to the spa. That is if you consider stabbing your face with a vile of your own blood as pleasant. So why did Kim K. find it a good idea to go through this (besides ratings)? Turns out the facial, dubbed the vampire facial for obvious reasons, stimulates collagen and elastin fibers to result in clearer, smoother skin. It sounds pretty intimidating, but this ELLE editor had a completely different experience than Kim, who is known for being a bit of a drama queen. After reading reviews from people not looking for TV ratings, I’m going to give this one the benefit of the doubt, it seems to yield some impressive results.
Snail Facial – A snail facial sounds so gross it can’t be what you’re thinking, can it? Actually yes, it can. It’s exactly what it sounds like – snails slither over your face, leaving their mucus trails at random. This delicacy of a treatment started in Tokyo and is slowly picking up attention in the world of unconventional beauty treatments. Who knew snail mucus was actually a cocktail of proteins, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid? Despite its alleged benefits, the fact remains that a slimy creature with tentacles is crawling all over your face. This one is just too creepy for me to get behind, especially since the evidence behind the efficacy isn’t particularly overwhelming.
Alcohol Soaking – The New York Knick’s Amar’e Stoudemire may not elicit thoughts of beauty, but his Instagram snap last year had health, beauty, and wellness experts everywhere talking. Stoudemire uploaded a picture of himself soaking in a red wine bath, claiming this was an important ritual for him because it increases circulation in his red blood cells. Oddly enough, this isn’t the only alcohol infused bath claiming to reap health benefits. The sake soak is the newest unconventional beauty treatment hitting the market. To no one’s surprise, this one comes from Tokyo as well. The research behind the sake soak has a little more merit than the wine soak. SK-II, a beauty expert favorite brand, has built their empire on their magic ingredient Pitera – the isolated strain of the yeast from the fermentation process. While a sake soak doesn’t sound terrible, it sounds a lot easier to buy a bottle of SK-II to obtain the alcohol’s benefits.
Women have long been willing to go to extremes to maintain their beauty, and the modern beauty industry is no exception. Not that long ago we thought it was crazy when we heard people were injecting the toxin botulinum (Botox) in their faces. So who knows, maybe in a few years a snail facial will be nothing more than a monthly routine no one bats an eye at.