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Kenyan women turn to bizarre products in-search of beauty

23 June 2014, 16:41 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi - Women and even men (Believe it or not) will go to very extreme lengths in order to maintain their youth as well as increase, retain or build on their beauty.

Talk on many's lips circles in recent weeks has centered on bleaching and what nots, spurred on by the irrepressible Vera Sidika and her antics.

It seems though that we did not reach the end of it.

Apparently (And to my utter shock on most of these) there are other ways of getting younger and prettier on the market, but not all of them are straightforward.

So on advice of some of my readers, I was sent out to look at some of the methods and not all are what you would expect in this day and age.

What happened to beauty being in the eyes of the beholder?


I remember there was this episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians that came on and Kim had red stuff on her face, I was not paying attention so I assumed it was a red face mask that she was trying out. Turns out it was her own blood. The system, known as Selphyl, extracts “golden -hued” platelets also referred to as platelet-rich fibrin matrix. It’s a procedure that entails having your blood drawn from the arm then spun in a centrifuge in an effort to separate out the platelets. They are then injected into your face in order to or in the hopes of stimulating new collagen production.  What it is meant to do is act as a filler on hollowed out places as you age.

It is not as pricy as cosmetic surgery, when it started in 2011, it cost between KES 70,000-130,000 in the US.

In Kenya I have been told it goes for between KES 150,000 to 200,000.


It is something that started out in Malaysia but is now known to be practiced world-wide.

So the most recommended one is an ewe’s (Female sheep) placenta, as its possibilities are apparently ‘unlimited’. It is said to have power that I will not delve into.

According to my research, it can be found on order at Kenya’s executive cosmetic stores and spa's costs between KES 130,000 and 300,000.


Bull sperm…semen…I do not even know where to start with this one. But it is rich in protein. What happens here is that an artificial vagina and a teaser cow are used to collect it. The bull ejaculates in a bag and it is frozen up until time of purchase.

It is used both for hair as well as anti-aging facial treatments due to its protein richness. The most notable method used is by combining it with the katera plant, amplifying the protein factor. This is good for dry damaged hair, application is done after shampooing. Same applies to the facial treatments, where the protein factor is a great factor for anti-aging.

Also to note is, taurine, which is contained in energy drinks such as Red Bull, DOES NOT contain bull sperm but the substance comes from the animal’s liver.

This one is common in Kenya but costs well over KES 200,000 for full treatment.


I can see this one catching on in Mombasa, they are the only people in Kenya whom I have heard do not mind playing around with snakes.

The snake massage is said to have originated from Israel where locals were the first to actually try it. It has become a world-wide sort of thing since then. In Indonesia, The Bali Heritage Reflexology Spa says that you get a boost on metabolism as well due to the fear- induced adrenaline rush from having snakes placed on your back. What they do is use pythons that are as long as two meters, fed at least 30 minutes from the massage time and they have to shut their mouths. This means that if they have not digested the food by the time they are on top of you, then you are their next meal. The spa uses non-venomous snakes. If that does not scare you then you should try places where they are using mice and rats on your feet to relieve stress.

The venom on the other hand is good as an anti-wrinkle crème. I can actually see this working due to the after-effects of being bitten by one, the swelling and all, it stings but more gently. If Gwyneth Paltrow swears by it, then who are you not to try it. It is said to prevent wrinkles from forming.

This one I hear is yet to arrive in Kenya but there are plenty in the country who have gone out of their way to try it out in the far east.

Not for the faint hearted.


When I was watching Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror, as part of her ‘beauty regime’  they had a bird poop on her face. I thought they were trying to improve on the movie’s hilarity, turns out it is actually for real.

Initially used by Geishas (the Asians seem to be up to very freaky stuff and we can obviously see the results), to remove heavy make-up; even David and Victoria Beckham are apparently using it. Not just any bird though but a Nightingale. The treatment costs around KES 10,000 to 20,000 depending on where you have it done. What it does is that it exfoliates the skin hence the clear skin of local Japanese women. What they do is mix it with water and rice bran, applied on the face and dried under UV lights.

The bird excrement contains guanine which is found in pearls as well as an enzyme that breaks down dead skin on the upper layers of the face skin. It also brings out all the dirt and dust on skin. I would personally like to try this one, sounds interesting and not too outlandish.

There are many spa’s that do it in Kenya. Do not hesitate to if you have the chance.


This is pretty straightforward. Snails crawling all over your face. Live ones, and it seems the fresher the mucous the better the results. The mucous seems to have anti-oxidant and protein properties.

We have many snails here so this one should be easy for those who are not quickly grossed out.


Good for both the hair and the skin. I can see the EABL (East African Breweries Limited) sales spiking. Instead of drinking it just pour it in a bath and immerse yourself in it.

In Czech Republic they have a Spa where they prepare a bath with dark beer, which has grains, yeast and herbs. One, Mehmet Oz, MD states that the hops, key ingredient in beer, was founded by Germans to have powerful medicinal properties. This may help in a range of skin problems/ conditions like Psoriasis. This should also work for me, much better than snails and venom, would not even know where to get venom from snakes. And it’s less dangerous. It is also said that the protein in beer boosts hair volume and the sugars tighten cuticles to induce shine for it.

Beer costs KES 100 a bottle at the Supermarket. Have a go.


If all else fails, you can just try bee venom. It seems honey on its own has gained a bit of lackluster. So, a certain London-based beauty therapist Deborah Mitchell, pioneered it by adding it into masks. It is said to help skin toning and tightening. This is one of Kate Middleton’s beauty secrets. If she is doing it, then I am most definitely doing it as soon as I can find someone who does it here in Kenya.

What happens is, the substance tricks the skin into thinking it has been stung hence plumping it. I think if you have a plump face, you should avoid it. Simon Cowell, Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue even step-mother to Kate Middleton, Camilla who introduced her to it, does it.

I hear that it can be found  in the country for between KES 50,000 and 100,000.

CAUTION: All the above treatments should be done by a professional,  please do not try these at home. Get the right certified people to do it, especially those with the venom.

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