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Snake Massages? Placenta Creams!?!: The Top 5 Most Bizarre Beauty Treatments

Photo: Time

As Birchbox staffers, we’ve tried some pretty unconventional products in our time. Futuristic peptide serums? Check. Face sheets that look like Halloween masks? Been there, done that. But even our adventures pale compared to some of the bizarre beauty practices elsewhere in the world. We scoured the web for the weirdest treatments we could find, and we have been floored. From bloodsucking leeches to masseuse-friendly snakes, these treatments show just how far women all over the world are willing to go in the name of beauty:

Nightingale Dropping Facials: Japan

We know bird poop is the last thing you’d think about smearing on your face, but Japanese women feel differently. Since the 18th century, kabuki actors and geishas have used ground up nightingale droppings to remove their thick makeup and give skin a porcelain purity. Apparently it works: the bird excrement contain exfoliating enzymes and the amino acid guanine, which leads to a pearly complexion. Curious? You can try the Geisha Facial at New York’s Shizuka Day Spa

Bull Sperm Conditioner: England

Nicknamed “Viagra for Hair,” this upscale British salon treatment uses Angus bull semen in a bovine mask. It promises to smooth and strengthen hair by coating cuticles with a protective layer of protein. If you can overcome your adverse reaction, go ahead and book a ticket to London to cure your frizzy strands. 

Sheep Placenta Cream: New Zealand

Popular with women in the Southern Hemisphere, placental face creams promise to stimulate cell growth and slow down the process of aging. Sheep placenta is especially valued for its ability to penetrate human skin. Eva Longoria has a well-publicized love affair with placenta products! The next time we’re in the market for a fancy night cream, we just might splurge on one of EMK Placental's offerings.

Leech Detox Treatment: Austria

While the idea of having leeches suck our blood is more than a little scary, Demi Moore is a fan of the ritual. Such a fan, in fact, that she’s flown to Austria to have private ‘leech therapy’ sessions. First, you shave your body and bathe in turpentine to prep your skin. Next, medical leeches gorge on your blood. What sounds like a form of medieval torture is designed to detox your blood and restore youthfulness. And you thought a juice cleanse sounded extreme…

Snake Massages: Israel

Don’t try this one at home: in Israel, spa gurus are using non-venomous snakes to massage clients’ backs. During the hour-long deep-tissue treatments, a combination of big and little snakes provide the kneading and trembling sensations commonly supplied by skilled knuckles and palms. No word on whether the creepy crawlers have masseuse licenses of their own.


If you’re into more conventional beauty treatments, check out Birchbox’s selection of sets.

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