The Emperor’s New Clothes – The Bird Poop Facial

Women are putting shit on their face. 


I’m not talking about zit cream that could burn a hole through your skin, or exfoliators with acid, or makeup that is the consistency of spackle.


No, I’m talking about honest to G-d shit.


Bird shit, to be precise.


While getting ready yesterday morning, I had one ear on mischievous Lemon, and the other on the CBS morning show (although it may have been CNN, I’m not sure what channel we left it on when we went to bed).  The morning show featured new miracle anti-aging, skin whitening treatments.


The first treatment – placenta.  Yes, placenta, afterbirth.  I’ve heard of 200px-placenta_ad_in_hong_kongstrange customs like burying placenta in the backyard, but swabbing it on your face?  But, somehow, I’m not as skeeved out by placenta as I am by bird poop.   I don’t want placenta on my face, but I kind of get it – many myths and legends are attached to the placenta, in particular, in burying the placenta – giving a girl baby digging powers, giving a boy baby the power of prophecy (British Columbia), protecting a newborn child from the spirit of a mother who died in childbirt (Bolivia), simply connecting the newborn to the earth (New Zealand).  So, while it’s not for me, I get it – I can see where someone would believe that an organic blob of guck that once nutured a maturing fetus might have miraculous restorative powers.


But, bird poop?  Really, seriously?  Women are paying between $150 and $225 for the miracle Nightingale dung treatment.  I don’t care it’s a cute little Hummingbird – I find it hard to believe that poop from a Nightingale is any different than poop from Philadelphia’s own flying rat, the pidgeon.  Is there really a fortune to be made by hanging out in Rittenhouse Square and scrapping the bird poop from the goat statue? 


And what do scientists have to say about this – when CNN interviewed scientists, they “explained”:

“Bird experts at both the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology were at a loss to explain the benefits of nightingale droppings as a skin treatment. Brian Keller, a dermatopharmacologist and executive vice president of San Francisco-based Bio Zone Laboratories, which manufactures custom private-label dermatological products, offered one possible reason.

“The reason this product may work is the high concentration of urea in the fecal-urine combination in bird feces. Urine has a lot of urea in it and it has long been used as a skin-softening agent,” he says. “It’s obviously shrouded in a lot of mystery.”


The problem with this however, is that the question posed seems to have been, “Doctor, can you explain the benefits?”  What benefits???  There’s no proof there are benefits.  It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes – he’s naked!  Lady – you have bird poop on your face!  High concentration of urea?  Now that’s appetizing – and when they asked the women who volunteered to try these miracle treatments, they said, yeah, it still smells like poop. 


Shit is shit, even if you dress it up in Geisha clothing.  If you visit the Shizkuka website, the spa in New York specializing in this “exotic” treatment, you get a nice little history of Geisha, their flawless skin, and how to solve the troubles of all of that spackle white make-up, the Geisha used this bird poop secret ingredient to cleanse their skin and unclog their pores.  However, when interviewed, the proprietess, Shizuka Bernstein, says about this long secret history, “I’m always trying to bring Japanese culture and tradition to my spa,” said Shizuka Bernstein. “I heard my mother talk about this treatment when I was a little girl.”  I heard my mother talking about this treatment?  This is the source of this ancient, Japanese Geisha ritual?  I heard my mother talking about throwing salt over her shoulder, about giving someone the evil eye, and about how if I made silly, ugly faces, my face would freeze that way.


And who are these women taking the bird poop cure, passed down from Shizuka’s mom to Shizuka?  Not my women, not my friends – we’re broke.  I’m lucky I can afford to put Cetaphil on my face, let alone a $200 pile of birdshit.  Does wealth lead to a sucker, born every minute? – because that’s how often a Nightingale will shit in his cage.


  1. Bridget March 11, 2009

    Some people will buy it because of the price tag – you know, if it costs a lot, it must be amazing, etc.

    I wonder – do you use it in the morning, and risk having those around you think, “What’s that smell?”, or in the evening, and have your pillow smell like poop?

  2. shamroxann March 12, 2009

    that is….really gross. i say if they are so stupid as to be putting that, well, shit on thier faces, let ’em. we can laugh (and damn the “laugh lines) at them!


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