The Geisha Facial:
The Excrement Testament from one of New York’s Finest Spas


At some point I’ve become the Anthony Bourdain of beauty treatments. My editors know that I’m a willing body that’s been waxed, cut, stripped and ripped, all in the name of what’s hot in treatments. So when I was told that I’d been scheduled to try the Geisha Facial at Shizuka where the signature was a mixture of nightingale droppings, I didn’t exactly ‘poopoo’ the idea, I embraced it.

Nightingale droppings have been used since the 18th century when Geisha and kibuki actors used it to rid their face of the heavy makeup that was so difficult to remove. It was later learned that the guanine in the excrement is rich in amino acids and works to cleanse, brighten and retexturize the skin to make for a porcelain appearance. Shizuka Bernstein, the owner of the salon, wanted to bring the beneficial aspects of this concept to her clients here in Manhattan.

After changing in to my robe and slippers, Shizuka explained the process and how she developed this rather unique facial and the results that this technique creates. Shizuka’s mother used this as a means to beautiful skin, as well. What intrigued me most was when Shizuka chatted about one of her college age kids. I mention this only because this woman has positively radiant skin that looked not a day over 40 and if bird poo is the reason behind it then I’ll be spending free time parked under the nearest nightingale nest.

Spa Owner Shizuka Bernstein with a client

The facial itself was like most I’ve experienced; only I found it to be extra enjoyable because it was heavy on the facial massage and I’m partial to that aspect of the treatment. The uguisu no fun (shop talk for poo powder that’s been sterilized by ultraviolet light) is mixed with Japanese Rice Bran to be used as a gentle exfoliate that really had no smell. The droppings are followed by skin cleansing and a light extraction using the all-natural SHIZUKA New York Skincare System. The skin care treatment is completed with a hydrating camellia (a type of Japanese flower) oil massage and an antioxidant Green Tea Collagen Mask. The hands are massaged and set in heated gloves to soften during the rest of the treatment that ends with a fabulous shoulder rub.

The Uguisu No Fun Mask in the foreground and the powdered nightingale droppings in the background

After my facial, I was left to relax with Japanese tea and cookies in the Tranquility Lounge and contemplated hanging out for the remainder of the day since I’d felt so unrushed and well…tranquil. Not to mention when I was in the grooming area, my skin was glowing and not red and blotchy, like it usually is after a facial. Maybe at Shizuka, the facials are full of sh*t, but only in the nicest possible way.

Shizuka New York
7 West 51 Street, Sixth Floor
New York, NY 10019
(212) 644-7400

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