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I tried the bird poop facial that promises beautiful skin

Bryanne is a freelance writer who lives in Southern California with her active-duty husband and their two teenage sons. She is a passionate human-rights activist and cultural enthusiast. In between writing and family life, Bryanne spends...

My search for beautiful skin begins with this ancient Japanese treatment

It’s called “uguisu no fun” and its literal translation is “feces of the warbler.” That’s right — it’s nightingale poop. For over 1,000 years Japanese geishas have been using this interesting ingredient to lighten, brighten and cleanse their amazing skin. Using it on my face seemed like a no-brainer.

Like many women, I have spent all of my post puberty life in search of the fountain of beauty. For a long time, I wanted pimple-free skin, but now that I am precariously close to my 40s, I still want pimple-free skin (thanks Mother Nature) as well as something to soften the wrinkles. It wouldn’t hurt if the products I used also brightened and exfoliated my ever-ruddy complexion.

I don’t feel like I’m asking for too much. While there’s an endless variety of skin care products on the market, most have been complete failures — rarely delivering on their promises of radiant, supple skin.

More: 5 ways to snag high-end skin care products for next to nothing

Thus, bird poop landed on my beauty regimen radar.

Uguisu no fun was introduced to Japan by way of the Koreans, who had been using the droppings to remove dye from fabric — creating unique patterned prints. Once geishas discovered the poop’s ability to cleanse and lighten their skin, it became a part of their beauty arsenal.

Nightingale poop facials, also known as “geisha facials” have been available for years at trendy spas around the world, but thanks to the Internet, you can now order the powdered, UV sterilized bird droppings at home for around $27.

With zero hesitation, I purchased the tiny bottle of uguisu no fun and waited anxiously for its arrival. I fantasized about how beautiful my face would be after slathering it with excrement and imagined conversations that went like: “Wow, your skin is so lovely, what do you use?” to which I would reply “Imported nightingale poop from Japan. It’s a thing.”

The poop came in the mail two days later and I read the tiny insert with English instructions. It told me to mix 1 teaspoon of powdered poo with water and use the mixture as a face mask for 10 minutes, or to wash my face with it instead.

My search for beautiful skin begins with this ancient Japanese treatment
Image: ©Bryanne Salazar

It didn’t tell me how much water to add, so I went with a 50/50 ratio and ended up with (excuse the visual) what looked like baby diarrhea. For the first time, it occurred to me that I was actually rehydrating feces and about to put it on my face.

Thankfully, the poop has zero smell. If it even had the faintest aroma of a bowel movement, I don’t know if I would have been able to continue.

My search for beautiful skin begins with this ancient Japanese treatment
Image: ©Bryanne Salazar

I added a tiny bit more uguisu no fun to the mixture until it had a light, glue consistency. Then, with my bare fingers, I smeared it all over my face. Only after I began this process did I realize how helpful it would have been to apply this stuff with a brush.

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It goes on thin and begins drying almost immediately. It felt exactly like a mud mask, with a little less pull on my pores as it dried.

I waited 10 minutes and rinsed it off. Before I did, I ran around my house and tried to kiss my husband and sons, who were thoroughly disgusted.

My search for beautiful skin begins with this ancient Japanese treatment
Image: ©Bryanne Salazar

At the sink, I became oddly paranoid about any run-off hitting my mouth so I kept turning my head at weird angles and got some bird poop stuck in my hair. Thankfully, it comes off quickly and as with the application, leaves no lingering smell.

My first reaction? My face did seem brighter, but the redness on my cheeks was still the same. Throughout the rest of the day I noticed my makeup seemed to stay put longer and my face felt a lot softer.

I waited a week and tried one more time, this time in the evening. I accidentally left the mask on for 30 minutes because the Super Bowl was on and I really like the commercials. As with the previous time, I was a bit weirded out while removing the mask, so this time I used a damp washcloth. The added exfoliation of the washcloth seemed to make the mask more effective. My skin again seemed brighter and definitely smoother. I followed with some drug-store moisturizer and went to bed.

My search for beautiful skin begins with this ancient Japanese treatment
Image: ©Bryanne Salazar

This morning, as I’m typing this, I’ve touched my face about 20 times and love how it feels baby soft. I still have some redness from acne on my cheeks and my pores are just as large and intrusive as they were before.

Did uguisu no fun change my life, or turn me into the supermodel I’ve always dreamed I could be? Not really, but it’s a solid product that, although a tiny bit gross, does seem to deliver on its promise of brighter, softer skin.

More: Ageless beauty zen makeover

While it hasn’t been a miracle product for me, I do think it has potential. For now, I’m still in search of the magic potion that will transform my aging, acne-prone skin into something that makes all the PTA moms jealous.

Would you try uguisu no fun? Let me know in the comments.

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