Japanese spa in Dubai offers bird droppings treatment for a facial glow

We try Dubai’s Biolite Aesthetic Japanese Nightingale facial. It contains bird poop. Yes, you read that right. Bird poop.

The Japanese Nightingale facial offered at Dubai’s Biolite Aesthetic Clinic promises to restore your youthful glow. Pawan Singh / The National
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Using bizarre ingredients to restore your skin’s youthful glow is no longer shocking. A bee-venom facial, snake massage, placenta face cream – we’ve heard it all. And if they have been endorsed by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian or Tom Cruise, what does one have to lose, other than a hefty chunk of cash – that’s just the price of vanity.

So I had no cause to wrinkle my nose when the therapist at Dubai’s Biolite Aesthetic Clinic explained that the Japanese Nightingale facial contained bird poop. I was more than willing to lather up in ultraviolet light-treated bird droppings as long as it didn’t stink. Fortunately, it didn’t.

Legend has it History books suggest that the Geishas of the east were the first to recognise the beauty benefits of nightingale droppings in the 17th century, during the height of Japan's economic development. Called Uguisu No Fun treatment – because the droppings traditionally came from the Japanese Bush Warbler, known as the Uguisu bird – the first noted reference to it was in the book Shunkinsho (Portrait of Lady Shunkin) which was published in 1933.

Its revival in 21st-century beauty treatments can be largely credited to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, who reportedly battled with skin problems until she discovered the marvellous effects of bird droppings.

The droppings used in the pricey treatment, offered by spas around the world, are imported from Japan in powdered form and come from birds bred under sanitary conditions for this purpose.

The treatment

The therapist prepped my skin by wiping away a hot morning’s accumulated grease and turned on the steam machine while creating a concoction of the poop powder and Japanese rice bran for the first stage of the cleansing.

This step was no different from some of the other branded facials I have previously indulged in. Even the musky aroma of the paste, which reminded me of a warm oatmeal breakfast, was the same. The heat from the machine opened my pores for the extraction phase, while the properties of the mixture exfoliated without drying out my combination skin.

After the surprisingly painless extraction of a few blackheads, the therapist proceeded to target bacteria and grime with a high frequency electro-current apparatus that caused a tingling sensation. This was immediately followed by a peach-moon water solution to calm my slightly irritated skin and tighten the pores.

The most relaxing part of the facial came when I was asked to inhale the fragrance of organic camellia oil, which was then massaged into my skin with ­gentle strokes for several minutes while I drifted in and out of consciousness. After wiping the oil off with warm water, the session ended with a soothing collagen mask.

The verdict

It seems Beckham’s endorsement of this treatment isn’t just lip-service. What first struck me as I got off the treatment bed was how non-greasy my skin felt. I’m not fully convinced that my skin was lighter after one treatment, but the healthy glow lasted for more than a week.

The Japanese Nightingale Facial at Biolite Aesthetic Clinic in Dubai starts at Dh1,200. For more details, visit www.biolitedubai.com​

aahmed@thenational.ae