If you could knock 10 years off your face…
by getting a facial mask made from bird poop (guano), would you?
This guano facial beloved by Victoria Beckham and Angelina Jolie, was first used as a beauty treatment in 17th-century Japan. Geisha girls would use nightingale facials to repair skin damage caused by their heavy, lead-based make-up. So it comes as no surprised that this facial is also known as the Geisha facial.
Nightingale poop contains large concentrations of nitrogen-rich urea and guanine, an amino acid. Urea is used in cosmetic applications because it helps the skin hold in moisture. Mostly synthetic urea is used in today’s cosmetics.
The experience involves having a mixture of rose water and finely ground nightingale droppings spread across the skin and then massaged for a few minutes before being rinsed off. Users describe it as having the same effect as a light chemical peel, but without the redness and burning. According to the women who have had a nightingale facial, their skin feels clean, soft, moist and not at all irritated.
The droppings in question don’t come from any old nightingale. They are collected from a particular type, native to the Japanese island of Kyushu. The birds are fed on a special diet of seeds and berries (no juicy worms for them), therefore the droppings are organic and vegan.
The poop collected from the birdcages is sanitized, often by using an ultraviolet light. After the poop has been dried out (usually with a dehydrator), it’s ground into a very fine white powder. Sometimes the powder is mixed with another product, such as rice bran, for exfoliation.
So rare are the ingredients used that very few places offer the treatment and, when they do, it comes with a hefty price tag attached.