Uguisu no fun

Uguisu no fun (うぐいすの粉), which literally means “nightingale feces” in Japanese, refers to the excrement (fun) produced by a particular nightingale called the Japanese bush warbler (Cettia diphone) (uguisu).[1] The droppings have been used in facials since ancient Japanese times.[1] Recently, the product has been used in the Western world.[1] This facial has been referred to as the “Geisha Facial”.[1] The facial is supposed to lighten the skin and balance skin tones that have acne or sun damage.[2]

Contents

History

Geishas historically used uguisu no fun to whiten their skin, remove their makeup, and condition their skin.

The use of nightingale excrement dates back to the Heian period (A.D. 794 – 1185) where it was introduced to the Japanese by the Koreans.[1][3] The Koreans used the guano to remove dye from kimono fabric which allowed them to make intricate designs on the clothing.[1][3] The Japanese used the bird droppings to remove stains from silk garments, like kimonos.[4][5] Then, during the Edo period (A.D. 1603–1868), the Japanese expanded the use by using it as a beauty treatment.[3] Some sources, however, report that as early as the 3rd century, Japanese women rubbed bags of rice bran on their faces and used nightingale droppings to whiten the skin.[6][7] Geishas and Kabuki actors used heavy white makeup that contained zinc and lead, which could have caused skin diseases and other issues.[1][8] Uguisu no fun was used to thoroughly remove the makeup and whiten and even the skin.[1][4] Also, Buddhist monks used the droppings to polish and clean their bald scalps.[1][3]

Currently, Hyakusuke is the last place in Tokyo to have the government-approved uguisu no fun.[9] This two-hundred year old cosmetic shop carries the powder along with other cosmetic products.[9][10]

Modern day use of uguisu no fun in Japan may be attributed to a respect for the ancestral tradition as well as the innovative culture of Japan.[11]

Processing

The Japanese bush warbler (Cettia diphone) produces uguisu no fun.

Uguisu no fun is harvested in nightingale farms in Japan.[1] Though wild nightingales eat insects and berries, the diet of the caged birds consists of organic seeds.[1][12] Some nightingales feed on caterpillars that eat from plum trees.[5] The guano is scraped from the cages, and an ultraviolet light is often used to kill the bacteria to sanitize it.[1][12] The droppings are then usually dried with a dehydrator.[1] Some are sun-dried for over two weeks while simultaneously being UV sterilized.[13] Next, it is ground into a fine white powder, and it is sold in this form.[1] The droppings are turned into powder in a special container that rotates for 18 hours with a ceramic ball.[13]

Facial

Rice bran is sometimes added to the guano for the purpose of exfoliation.[1] The powder is mixed with water yielding a paste.[1] The paste is massaged into the skin for a few minutes and then it is rinsed off.[1] The facial is usually rather odorless and sanitized.[1][5] The added rice bran can also neutralize the slight musky odor.[14]

In one New York spa that offers the Geisha Facial, the process takes about one hour and costs $180.[8]

Mechanism of facial

The way the facial works is not entirely clear.[4] The guano from the nightingale has a high concentration of urea and guanine.[1] Because birds excrete a fecal and urine waste from a single opening, called the cloaca, the fecal-urine combination give the droppings a high concentration of urea.[1][4] Urea is sometimes found in cosmetics because it locks moisture into the skin.[1][4] The guanine may produce shimmery, iridescent effects on the skin.[1][8] It is claimed that because of the short intestine of the nightingale, the droppings have protein, a fat-degrading enzyme, and a whitening enzyme that acts on fat and scurf to whiten skin and even out blemishes.[13]

Numerous sources comment that "the amino acid guanine" gives uguisu no fun its cosmetic properties, though guanine is a nucleotide base, not an amino acid.[1][3][14]

In popular culture

Victoria Beckham, who has long suffered with acne, used uguisu no fun to improve her skin.[15] It was reported that Victoria Beckham admired the clarity of the skin of Japanese women and subsequently learned about the droppings.[12] David Beckham has been said to use the product as well.[15]

In the novel Memoirs of a Geisha, Chiyo repays Hatsumomo’s cruelty by mixing pigeon droppings with her face cream that contained unguent of nightingale droppings.[16]

Citations

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Shanna Freeman. "How Geisha Facials Work". HowStuffWorks. http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/skin-treatments/geisha-facial.htm. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Amy Eisinger (23 July 2008). "New York's weirdest spa treatments". NYDailyNews.com. http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2008/07/24/2008-07-24_new_yorks_weirdest_spa_treatments.html. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Moore, Janet H. (December 16, 2001). "The Nightingale Facial". Asian Wall Street Journal. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Liane Yvkoff (26 September 2008). "Try a placenta or bird poop facial". Cable News Network. http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/homestyle/09/26/bird.poop.facials/index.html. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c Carroll 2007, p. 249
  6. ^ Berg 2001, p. 174
  7. ^ Drill et al. 2002, p. 86
  8. ^ a b c Shizuka New York Day Spa. "The Geisha Facial: From an ancient Japanese tradition...Bird Poop Facials!". http://www.shizukany.com/geisha-facial.htm. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Fodor 2009, p. 180
  10. ^ Frommer 2010, p. 241
  11. ^ Stephanie Rafanelli (25 June 2007). "Turning Japanese: Beauty thats taking over". London: Associated Newspapers Ltd. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-464194/Turning-Japanese-beauty-thats-taking-over.html. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c Melissa Whitworth (16 October 2008). "Geisha facial, the 'latest beauty secret' of Victoria Beckham, brought to the masses". London: Telegraph Media Group Limited. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/beauty/3365670/Geisha-facial-the-latest-beauty-secret-of-Victoria-Beckham-brought-to-the-masses.html. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c Body4Real.co.uk. "Japanese Nightingales Droppings (Uguisu No Fun)". http://www.body4real.co.uk/product.php?productid=18065&js=y. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Timothy Gardner (25 April 2008). "Facial with bird excrement takes flight at New York spa". Thomson Reuters. http://in.reuters.com/article/idINN2542211820080425. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Chris Johnson (7 October 2008). "Victoria and David Beckham's secret to perfect glowing skin: Bird poo". London: Associated Newspapers Ltd. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1070772/Victoria-David-Beckhams-secret-perfect-glowing-skin-Bird-Poo.html. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  16. ^ Golden 1997, p. 80

http://www.ebay.com/itm/GEISHAS-SECRET-Uguisu-Nightingale-Droppings-Facial-/290616827698

  • Carroll, Marcie; Carroll, Rick (2007). The Unofficial Guide to Maui. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Inc.. p. 249. ISBN 9780470052242. 
  • Fodor’s (2009). Fodor’s Japan (19 ed.). Fodor’s Travel. p. 180. ISBN 9871400008278. 
  • Golden, Arthur (1997). Memoir’s of a Geisha. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.. p. 80. ISBN 0-375-40011-7. 
  • Frommer’s (2010). Frommer’s Tokyo. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Inc.. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-470-53764-0. 
  • Berg, Rona (2007). Beauty: The New Basics. Wiley Publishing Inc.. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-7611-0186-4. 
  • Drill, Esther; McDonald, Heather; Odes, Rebecca (2002). The Looks Book. Penguin (Non-Classics). p. 86. ISBN 978-0142002117. 

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