International beauty rituals you have to see to believe
Throughout history and stretching across every corner of the earth, one thing is always true: beauty rituals—no matter how seemingly strange—remain a constant. Whether rooted in religion or just good old-fashioned, pure vanity, we humans simply like to look our best. That’s why I’m exploring a few of the more interesting beauty procedures from around the globe that I’ve encountered lately:
1. Scalp Botox, United Kingdom
We all know about the magical powers of Botox. An injection to look years younger? Um, yes, please. But what about using Botox to keep your hair less greasy? For the last few years, doctors in the United Kingdom have been administering Botox to people’s scalps to reduce sweating. Less hair sweat means less hair washing (even after a trip to the gym!). So that’s one way to get your blowout to last a full week.
2. Bird poop facial, United States
You know we can’t resist a great facial. The mini massage, the warm towels, the aromas… all of it. So when I heard about a bird poop facial, I must admit, it gave me a bit of pause. Marketed by one New York City-based spa as the “Geisha Facial,” this treatment combines traditional Japanese ingredients with powdered nightingale droppings to remove makeup, as well as brighten and heal the skin.
3. Extraocular implants, The Netherlands
We’ve gotten used to the idea of contacts in our eyes, so why not… jewelry? About 15 years ago, the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery saw a rising trend in body modifications and became the first and only clinic in the world to administer extraocular implants, which surgically attaches a piece of decorative jewelry to the conjunctiva of the eye. The available jeweled shapes include a musical note, diamond, heart, or clover, among others. Amazingly, the institute claims that their “JewelEye”—their name for the procedure—does not in any way affect vision, mobility, or any other visual functions.
4. Snail facials, South Korea
For years, South Korea has been known for its innovation in the world of beauty. Horse oil, snake venom, donkey milk—if you can think of an ingredient, K-beauty has probably found a way to turn it into a (likely amazing) beauty product. One ingredient that’s everywhere right now: Snail. Mix it with gold leaf and it’s even better. Snail mucin, which is the name for this extract, has loads of benefits. It contains all kinds of incredible, skin-loving components, such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, and antimicrobial peptides. All of these ingredients have proven to stimulate the formation of collagen and elastin, as well as keep the skin more hydrated.
5. Candle hair cutting, Brazil
Velaterapia—or Brazillian hair cutting—has been popular in South America for decades. The treatment, which is believed to have originated in ancient civilizations, involves moving a candle’s flame back and forth over twisted strands of hair, to burn off unhealthy locks. It’s popular among women who want to keep the length of their hair while losing its damaged bits. After the “cut” takes place, the hair’s cuticles are resealed with deep conditioning after-treatment. Then, after conditioning, the hair is lightly cleaned up with sharp scissors for a smooth finish.
Blair Smith is a lifestyle and beauty writer who currently resides (and will likely stay forever) in Brooklyn, New York.