(AP) Clients drop $180 for bird poop facials at NYC spa
Bird poop for beauty?
That’s what goes into facials at a luxury spa where the traditional Japanese treatment using imported Asian nightingale excrement mixed with rice bran goes for $180 a pop.
About 100 women and men go into the Shizuka New York skin care salon, just off Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, each month to get the treatment, which is promoted as a way to keep the face soft and smooth using an enzyme in the poop to gently exfoliate the skin.
Spa owner Shizuka Bernstein, a Tokyo native married to an American, has been offering what she calls the Geisha Facial for about five years.
The Geisha Facial poop treatment, while relatively rare in the United States, is no secret in Japan, where it was first used in the 1600s by actors and geishas.
On a recent afternoon in Manhattan, Mari Miyoshi arrived at the sixth-floor Shizuka New York spa to try the treatment for the first time.
The treatment begins with steam to open the pores and soften the skin. Cream is applied. And then comes what Bernstein calls “the nightingale part.”
She pours the cream-colored poop, dried and finely ground, into a bowl, mixing it with the rice bran using a small spatula. She applies the potion to Miyoshi’s face with a brush, rubbing it in with her hands.
Does it smell?
After about five minutes, it comes off with a foaming cleanser and Miyoshi’s face is draped in a warm, wet towel bathed in lavender and geranium essences. Finally, the grand finale _ a green-tea collagen mask.
Dr. Michele Green, a Manhattan cosmetic dermatologist, says that while the nightingale facial “definitely has some rejuvenating effect, I don’t think it’s any different than, say, an apricot scrub or a mask that you could buy in a local pharmacy.”
A common misconception is that any old bird poop, even from pigeons, is used. Bernstein says only droppings from birds of the nightingale species are used because they live on seeds, producing the natural enzyme that is the active ingredient.