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No Animals Harmed: 7 Most Bizarre Beauty Treatments

Spa treatments featuring live animals may be all-natural, but they're also squirm-inducing
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When shopping for beauty products, we tend to look for a few key words on a bottle's label -- namely ones that assure us the product we're about to use has been tested on humans, not animals. But beauty treatments involving live animals? That's a whole different story.

There's a rising trend in the world of spa treatments of cutting out chemical filled products all together and going straight to a member of the animal kingdom for the sake of firmer, younger-looking skin and a truly transforming spa experience. When it comes to searching for the Fountain of Youth in skincare and returning to more natural roots, people are willing to pay to play the role of guinea pig and let animals do what they do best -- slither, poop, and chew away to their heart's desire.

There's no guarantee these eyebrow-raising spa treatments work any more than that new anti-aging cream that hit the shelves or the Thai massage that calls for contortionists, but at least we can appreciate these role reversals for entertainment's sake.

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Brightening bird poop facial, $180
You know we're truly in the era of #FirstWorldProblems when people are dropping $180 to get their faces slathered in bird poop -- a treatment known as the geisha facial. "Why not stand next to my vehicle and volunteer myself as target practice?" you may ask. Because these aren't your average city pigeon droppings. No, these prized droppings come from organic-fed, Asian nightingales, whose poop contain the enzyme guanine. Even though you've never heard of it, chances are, you've used it in your beauty regimen. The amino acid is added to shampoos, lipsticks and nail polishes to get that pearly, iridescent shine. In facial form, guanine is said to have bleaching qualities due to its ability to gently brighten and exfoliate skin.

For centuries, geishas and kabuki performers relied on bird poop facials to cleanse their faces of the heavy, white makeup they regularly used, (the same makeup that was also loaded with dangerous zinc and lead, but I digress). Shizuka New York's modern-day version of the geisha facial mixes the poop with rice bran for extra exfoliation. The treatment is then finished off with a green tea collagen mask to up elasticity.

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Scaly snake massage, $43
If the thought of having a stranger's hands all over your bare back make you squeamish, perhaps you'd prefer the more impersonal option of snakes. According to Ada Barak, who runs a spa out of her carnivorous plant farm in northern Israel (nothing odd about that), their cold, scaly skin replicates the soothing sensation of a cold compress. If you say so. Also, the slithering movements coupled with hissing sounds relay a soothing, relaxing experience without an artificial noise machine, making this option energy-efficient as well.

Not sure whether you want a deep tissue or Swedish massage? No problem. Barak simply customizes your massage by snake size -- she uses bigger snakes for a deeper, kneading rubdown on the back, and lighter, small snakes for a more delicate massage on the face. Lucky recipients of this treatment can be covered in up to six snakes at a time, ranging from Florida king snakes, California king snakes, corn snakes and milk snakes -- which are all non-venomous, don't worry. If pythons tickle your fancy, there are willing masseuses at the Bali Heritage Reflexology and Spa in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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Fishy callus-removing pedicure, $35-$50
If you're prone to feeling waves of guilt for subjecting a human being to your cringe-worthy feet come pedicure time (guilty), a garra rufa pedicure should soothe your conscience. Instead of relying on grating razors or ticklish pumice stones to scrape off dead skin, you can have your calluses and scales nibbled away by tiny fish known as "doctor fish."

First used in Turkey and Asian countries before making their way stateside (even the Kardashians have given this animalistic pedicure a go) these tiny tooth-less fish can live on skin alone and thrive in hot water, making gumming away at your smelly, flaky feet a breeze. Each garra rufa session lats about 15 to 30 minutes ... depending on how ticklish of an individual you are. Kourtney Kardashian sat back and relaxed like it was any other day at the nail salon, while her sister Kim screeched, squealed and was on the verge of tears (out of disgust or amusement, we're still not sure).

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Slimy snail facial, $243
Outside of the French culinary realm, snails don't have much going for them. They're slow, slimy and are really nothing more than slugs with a mobile home. But they're currently enjoying their 15 minutes of fame by crawling and secreting all over the faces of clients looking for the next big anti-aging facial.

Your average ground snail's mucus is packed with proteins and antioxidants that help it slowly, but surely, get from point A to point B. This slime is also rich in hyaluronic acid, an ingredient used in lotions, serums and even lip balms for its intense moisturizing and anti-wrinkle properties. When applied to human skin, it is said to stimulate collagen formation and boost elasticity to keep skin as smooth and firm as a baby's bottom. A snail facial cuts out all those extra additives and instead, lets three of these gastropods inch over your wrinkles and crow's feet with their slimy trails of youth.

Now think about all those times you sprinkled salt on those poor, unassuming snails, and what they could've done for your skin.

BY ERICA SMITH | DEC 3, 2013 | SHARES
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