Did you know that many Japanese people have been using bird poop as part of their facial regimen for centuries?
What it is: Known as the “geisha facial,” or uguisu no fun in Japan, this facial mask treatment uses droppings from the Japanese bush warbler, a breed of nightingale birds often heard in many parts of the country but rarely seen.
Why Japanese people use it: Uguisu no fun reportedly whitens faces and helps skin retain moisture thanks to its naturally high levels of urea. The treatment also contains the amino acid guanine, which helps brighten the skin and fight sun damage.
How it’s made: Droppings are scraped from the cages of farmed Japanese bush warblers, which are raised and fed organic seeds.
Farmers then leave the feces in the sun to dry out before sterilizing it with ultraviolet light. The feces is eventually turned into a fine, white powder and then mixed with water and other essential ingredients to create the final product.
About its origin: While uguisu no fun is commonly found in supermarkets across Japan these days, it was first introduced by Koreans to Japan during the Heian period between the eighth and 12th centuries (794 to 1185 A.D.). It was first used as a dye remover for fabrics. It was then
commonly used by geishas
and kabuki performers
to remove their makeup, which consisted of harmful ingredients like lead and zinc.
Potentially harmful: Even though spas and manufacturers sanitize the nightingale poop to mitigate harmful microorganisms, Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology, told Page Six some people may still experience “allergic reactions or skin sensitivities to the components in uguisu.”
Levin suggested that those who wish to try the product should do a patch test first before applying uguisu no fun to their face.