In the pursuit of physical beauty, it seems that there are no longer any boundaries in the struggle to achieve the “perfect look.”
The spa is a popular place for those seeking relaxation and pampering in a luxurious environment, but gone are the days when clients sought a simple massage – and not much else. Now, the emphasis is on improving the entire outward appearance, especially the skin.
Infinite Beauty of White Plains, NY is a high-end skincare boutique and company that specializes in all manner of upscale beauty treatments. However, they are aware that some women have become desperate, even fanatical, in their search for ever-stranger and more exotic-seeming treatments.
At one time, Botox was considered an extreme form of treatment, but now it’s just routine for millions of women (and even some men!)
Claims for the magic elixir of beauty have become more unusual than a simple injection. Here are just a few examples of the most out-there treatments:
Termed “The Geisha Facial” – presumably to make it sound less disgusting – this treatment consists of scrubbing the face with a paste made from a mixture of nightingale droppings and Japanese rice bran. The claim is that the natural enzymes in the mixture exfoliates the skin by breaking down dead skin cells, leaving a smooth and unblemished surface.
The weird idea to use this viscous substance comes from a salon in Japan, which places snails on the face and allows them to glide around at will. The slimy trail they leave behind is also said to contain antioxidants and proteins.
Facial creams, masks, and serums made from bee venom are said to fight aging and improve collagen, as well as calm inflammation.
Salmon enzyme skin care products are relatively new on the market. It is claimed the salmon extract increases cell life, and adds brightness to the skin.
The Grand Spa at the Cavalieri Hilton in Rome offers both a caviar facial or caviar body treatment, which they say transforms a dull complexion to firm, radiant skin.
Gold Leaf Facial
However, if caviar is simply too downmarket, and you want something you can really show off to your friends, how about gold? This mixture includes 24-carat gold to tighten the face and help produce collagen. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to the gold!
Bonnie Bonadeo is director of program development and education at the Professional Beauty Association, which is a nonprofit trade group that represents beauty manufacturers, distributors, salons and spas. According to a report in Forbes, she said: “Consumers are always looking for that ‘special’ ingredient. Creative and bizarre treatments create attention, and the awareness of what spas are doing around the world has spawned some atypical treatments in the United States.”
Forbes also quotes Leslie Baumann, M.D., director of the Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute at the University of Miami, who said that, while these treatments do not make up a large segment of the overall beauty and spa market, recent celebrity connections to these regimens have increased their interest among non-A-listers.
The experts at Infinite Beauty agree with Bonadeo that the industry has been able to hold up better than some in the current economic situation because consumers view these treatments and products as a way to not only de-stress, but also feel better about themselves.
Bonadeo added: “While consumers are definitely more conservative–waiting more time in between hair and spa appointments–women will find the time and money to get these treatments. It’s instant gratification and a way for them to relax and de-stress in this frightening economy. It makes them look and feel better, and when we look good we achieve more, are more confident and work harder.”
Avi Thomas of Infinite Beauty offers further insight on current beauty and skincare trends: “People are attracted to new, non-invasive, and more natural skin care. One of the reasons for this is that invasive surgeries are dangerous and can have nightmare results.”
Looking good is the objective but, as this article demonstrates, many go to extraordinary lengths to reach it. Some people will stop at nothing to maintain a youthful appearance. It simply isn’t necessary to go to such extremes on treatments, which are both expensive and usually do not live up to the exaggerated claims made for them.
Thomas adds the following words of caution for those who are on the hunt for new or unusual treatments: “Any injectables or extremely strong chemical peels should be done with a doctor present, or in licensed medical facilities.” Despite how odd some of the ingredients listed earlier in this article may seem, Thomas stresses, “I will always advise people to start with more natural alternatives before resorting to surgeries and other invasive methods.”