At the age of 53, my nighttime skincare ritual is a process that consists of double cleansing, toning, and applying an arsenal of exfoliators, serums, creams, masks, and moisturizers that promise to deliver smooth, glowing, flawless results. And that doesn’t count the occasional peel, Botox, laser, and other professional treatments. The bottom line? If it promises to reduce lines, firm up my neck, and send my crow’s feet flying south for the winter, I’ll give it a shot.
I’m not alone. Women will do almost anything in the name of skincare, and celebrities are no exception. Jennifer Aniston, she of the eternally golden glow, recently told The Wall Street Journal that she tried a salmon sperm facial. Although she admitted that she didn’t see a noticeable difference from the treatment, it made us wonder: how far will celebrities go in the name of beauty? We’ve rounded up a few of the strangest celebrity beauty rituals that keep A-listers red carpet ready at all times.
1. Salmon Sperm Facial
Let’s start with Aniston’s unusual treatment because if you are like us, you’ve got questions. Widely recognized as one of the healthiest foods you can eat, salmon is chock full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and those all-important Omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to aid in everything from heart to brain and skin health. Most of us reap the benefits by simply eating the fish. Koreans, however, have taken it a step further, using salmon sperm, or “salmon pdrn,” as it is professionally known, as a key ingredient in many of their beauty products.
According to USA Today, research shows that salmon testicle DNA can “restore skin elasticity, repair moisture barriers, and reduce inflammation, making it a viable option for those with damaged or dry skin.” Biochemist and research scientist Kenna Whitnell told the publication, “Having an open mind to these different types of ingredients can be really great. There are a lot of ingredients we’re not used to in North America that are very popular in Korea, and there’s a reason why they do: There’s a lot of evidence behind its benefits.” Curious? Try KAHI Wrinkle Bounce Multi Balm and see for yourself.
2. Bee Venom Treatments
Is there anyone more hip to the latest and most unusual trends than GOOP founder Gwyneth Paltrow? Although some of her lifestyle and beauty offerings have been eye-roll-inducing, one that generated a loud buzz was her incorporation of bee venom therapy. In 2016, the Academy Award-winning actress told the New York Times that she had tried apitherapy, an ancient treatment that involves being repeatedly stung by bees to reap the benefits of the venom.
The procedure involves a practitioner using tweezers to pick up honey bees and place them on the skin. When the bee stings, the stinger is left in the skin for a few seconds to absorb the benefits. Patients are typically stung multiple times in one session—ouch!
Bee Venom is lauded for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, drawing sufferers of conditions like arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and some skin conditions, including shingles. It is also an active ingredient in many anti-aging skincare products. Sunitha D. Posina, M.D., a board-certified internist and locum hospitalist based in New York City, told Good Housekeeping, “In the cosmetic world, bee venom is believed to trick the skin into a stinging effect, resulting in increased blood flow to the skin and stimulating collagen synthesis.” Hence the phrase “bee-stung lips.”
If you don’t want to subject yourself to the treatment, which even Paltrow admitted was “painful,” try the Manuka Doctor Rejuvenating Mask to plump and firm skin without the sting.
3. Vampire Facial
Kim Kardashian raised more than a few eyebrows when she took to Instagram to share a photo of her face covered in blood. No, she had not fallen off her Louboutins. She was getting a Vampire Facial, a treatment where blood drawn from her body was a practitioner draws blood from the body and injects it into the face. Well, sort of.
“It essentially involves taking the blood from a patient, processing it in a centrifuge to extract the plasma – which contains platelets and growth factors – and then re-injecting it into the face,” Dr Darren McKeown told The Independent in an interview. “The theory is that the platelets and growth factors initiate a healing response which, over time, rejuvenates the skin.” Kardashian underwent the procedure on her show “Kim and Kourtney Take Miami” and has since said she regretted it, calling it “rough” and “painful.”
And while McKeown says the results vary, with some people seeing a definite improvement in skin and others not so much, Kardashian says that “even though it wasn’t for me, I know it has so many benefits for your skin,” adding that sister Kourtney is a “huge fan” of the procedure. If you want the glow without the gore, try Plated Skin Science, defined by the company as “the first and only topical skincare products harnessing the power of platelet extract.”
4. The Bird Poop Facial
While some cultures believe that if a bird poops on you, it’s good luck, it’s still not something most of us seek out. Unless you’re Victoria Beckham, who is reportedly among the A-list celebrities (including Tom Cruise) who swear by a bird poop facial. Before you poo-poo the idea, you should know that the treatment, also called a “Geisha Facial,” isn’t as gross as it sounds.
Developed by Shizuka Bernstein and available at her Shizuka Spa in New York, the Geisha Facial uses a paste made from powdered nightingale droppings mixed with rice bran and water to exfoliate the skin and leave it healthy and glowing. If it makes us look as good as Victoria Beckham, we say spread it on thick! However, if you aren’t going to be in New York, or $180 seems like a high price for poop, try Tatcha The Rice Polish for a solid exfoliation and glow—no poo!
5. Ice Bath Facials
Cold plunges are getting a lot of attention lately for all the health benefits they provide to the body, so it’s no wonder celebrities like Bella Hadid are applying the same method to their faces. Hadid and others are reportedly starting their mornings by dunking their faces into bowls filled with ice cubes and water. It’s a cheap and effective way to freshen a tired face and puffy eyes.
Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal told Harper’s Bazaar, “Icing has been popular for decades in many cultures to tighten skin, reduce redness, and reduce inflammation, which contributes to facial swelling.” While you probably already have everything you need for this cost-effective treatment, if you want to be more bougie, you can invest in Charlotte Tilbury’s Cryo Recovery Mask, which combines facial acupressure with the benefits of cryotherapy for a fresh face in just ten minutes.
While it’s easy to be swayed by a gorgeous celebrity singing the praises of an alternative treatment, don’t jump on the bandwagon based solely on an Instagram post. Do your research and find a reputable and qualified practitioner. A seemingly harmless procedure could result in infection, allergic reaction, or worse, in the wrong hands. Beauty has a price, but you should never pay with your health.
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