Women put themselves through a lot in the name of beauty. We'll spend hours on our hair makeup, drop hundreds of dollars on the best products, and sometimes even try strange beauty treatments we've read about on the Internet. While it's never advisable to give yourself extensive beauty treatments at home unless you know what you're doing, there are actually a lot of treatments that are available in spas. That fact that they are being performed by trained professionals, and cost ridiculous prices suggesting they are legitimate. But that's not always the case either.
The beauty junkies in us want to try everything, no matter how wild it seems, but sometimes it's better (and more economical) to just keep it simple. Seriously, what's so wrong with plain old soap and water?
Here are 15 of the most insane beauty and health treatments that women have ever attempted.
15 Arsenic Hair Removal
Women may be a little obsessed with hair removal these days, with waxing boutiques popping up on every corner almost as frequently as Starbucks. But we definitely learned our desire to rid our bodies of unwanted hair from previous generations. During the Renaissance and in ancient Egypt, women used to mix up a recipe that included arsenic to remove body hair.
The exact procedure found in the Trotula, a 12th century book of medieval recipes reads, "Boil together a solution of one pint of arsenic and eighth of a pint of quicklime. Go to a baths or a hot room and smear medicine over the area to be depilated. When the skin feels hot, wash quickly with hot water so the flesh doesn't come off."
14 Vampire Facial
This facial technique that injects acupuncture sized needles into your face to stimulate collagen growth was recently promoted by Kim Kardashian. Clearly it's called the Vampire Facial because it makes you bleed like crazy, which doesn't seem like much fun. But it's supposed to make your skin smoother and clearer, so maybe it's worth it for some people. It has gotten pretty popular in the last couple years and a lot of estheticians offer the procedure if you're willing to drop up to $2,500.
13 Fish Pedicures
Dry, callused skin is exactly what you don't want when you leave the salon after a pedicure. Generally, a good soak, some exfoliating, and a decent lotion will do the trick, but there's a new trendy treatment that's spread from Turkey to the rest of the world. Garra rufa fish are tiny toothless fish from the carp family that will feed on the dead skin on your feet, but leave your healthy skin intact. Essentially they're doing the tough exfoliation work and leaving you with smooth, soft skin. The treatment has been banned in to U.S because of sanitation concerns, but it's only growing in popularity elsewhere.
12 Sheep Placenta Facial
Victoria Beckham and Simon Cowell are two celebrities who supposedly swear by the sheep placenta facial. Why a sheep's placenta specifically has more benefits than any other animals is unclear, but The Doctors did a segment with a dermatologist explaining why it works. Dr. Annie Chiu explained, "It’s chock-full of nutrients from the placenta, things like growth factors, nutrients, amino acids." Research has shown that the stem cells of mammals have the ability to repair every type of cell in the body and a placenta facial is a great way to reduce fine lines and hydrate your skin.
11 Fire Cupping
Some call fire cupping the painless alternative to acupuncture, if that is the case it still looks painful. One of the oldest treatments in ancient Chinese medicine, cupping therapy has been around for a long time, some sources claim since 3000 BC. With heat the cups absorb (suction) the skin and sit there for 5-15 minutes, which is supposed to help reduce pain and help with blood flow. Some beauty use this as a beauty treatment as they claim it helps in giving the skin a better complexion in the long run. Would you try it?
10 Bird Poop Geisha Facials
"Uguiso no fun" literally means nightingale feces in Japanese. More commonly known as a geisha facial, bird poop has been used to whiten skin and correct pigmentation since ancient Japanese times. Geishas were known for their porcelain complexion, and the makeup they used was usually full of lead and zinc, which were not good for the skin. They discovered that nightingale droppings were useful in cleansing the skin, and making it smoother, and healthier. The Geisha facial has had a big of a revival in the last few years and the Shizuka Day Spa in New York offers the facial today for $180.
9 Thai Face Slapping
This one is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You can pay hundreds of dollars to have a woman strategically slap you in the face to "tighten cheeks, raise eyebrows, and decrease facial wrinkles." The practice has been popular in Thailand for hundreds of years an apparently can be helpful to tighten skin in other areas of the body too. Thai face slapping is also known as Tata massage, and will probably set you back around $350 for a 15 minute session.
8 Stem Cell Cosmetics
The benefits and long term effects of stem cells are still in the process of being researched, but that hasn't stopped companies from promoting "stem cell rejuvenating" procedures and creams. Because of their restorative abilities, steam cells are thought to be perfect for repairing damaged aging skin. Supposedly, if you use a cream with stem cells in it, it should stimulate your own stem cell growth, and reverse the aging process by helping your skin produce more collagen. But be careful-- there is at least one case of a woman growing bone in her eye lid after undergoing a facelift procedure that involved injecting stem cells into her face.
7 Ruby and Diamond Facial
For people who have money to burn, the ruby and diamond facial is a great option. Mila Kunis reportedly spent $7000 on the treatment which uses crushed up rubies and diamonds as a facial peel. The precious gems are supposed to provide the skin with antioxidants while also exfoliating. There is no concrete evidence to suggest that diamonds and rubies are any better at exfoliating than other less expensive materials. So, it's basically just a way to be self-indulgent and frivolous. If you can afford it, why not?
6 Snake Venom Creams
Whether it's a cream or a full on facial you're after, snake venom, or sometimes synthetic snake venom can be found in both. The facial in particular uses a synthetic venom called SYN-AKE that mimics the paralyzing affect of a snake's venom, and is popular because it has a similar (but more temporary) affect as Botox. The synthetic venom is also used in over the counter creams that claim to reduce the looks of aging and prevent new wrinkles by paralyzing facial muscles that cause creases in the skin.
5 "Toebesity" Plastic Surgery
Wearing high heels is never comfortable, but many women do it anyway because fashion over comfort. But what if there was a way to relieve some of the discomfort and still wear your favourite heels all night long? Well there could be. Some women are now going under the knife to remove an unnecessary toe or two and make it easier to slip into those expensive heels. But considering your feet hold all your weight, the recovery period for a procedure like this is pretty long. Most experts recommend choosing shoes that actually fit instead of changing the shape of your foot.
4 Bee Venom Facial
Clearly venom has some serious beauty benefits, and bee venom is no exception. None other than the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, swears by it, and she even used it in preparation for her wedding day. The venom works to plump up skin by tricking it into thinking it's been stung. It also claims to reduce scars and wrinkles, and and heal acne. Other celebrities who swear by it include Simon Cowell and Victoria Beckham. It must be a British thing.
3 Snake Massage
Snakes are a huge phobia for some people, but for others they are nothing more than the source of a great massage. Imagine lying on your stomach and having a pile snakes dumped on your back. Sounds like something from Fear Factor, right? But Ada Barak’s Carnivorous Plant Farm and Snake Spa in Talmey El’ Azar, Israel offers snake massages for around $105 for an hour treatment. Larger snakes are great for deep massages, while small ones offer a relaxing light touch. And of course, all the snakes are non-venomous.
2 Bathing in Wine
They say a glass of wine a day might actually be good for you, but what if you bathe in it instead? Called "vinotherapy", taking a dip in a vat of wine supposedly can help reduce wrinkles, cellulite, and even provide a slight facelift. Les Sources De Caudali in France is the first "wine spa" in the world and the key ingredient is grapeseed oil which is a powerful antioxidant. One celebrity supporter is New York Knicks’ player Amar’e Stoudemire who started soaking in red wine after knee surgery. Still, doctors are skeptical.
1 Siberian Snail Massage
Unlike some other facials and massages where an extract of something is rubbed all over your face and body and you really have no reason to be squeamish, the Siberian Snail Massage uses actual snails. That's right, if you decided to check out a beauty salon in Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, you would be treated to giant snails slinking all over your skin. According to the owner of that salon, the snail method is "believed to help in speeding up regeneration of the skin, eliminating wrinkles, scars and traces of burn marks."