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Some drop $180 for bird poop facials

In this Wednesday, July 17, 2013, photo, salon owner Shizuka Bernstein gives what she calls a Geisha Facial to Mari Miyoshi at Shizuka New York skin care in New York.

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

NEW YORK — Bird poop for beauty?

That's what goes into facials at a luxury spa where the traditional Japanese treatment using imported Asian nightingale excrement mixed with rice bran goes for $180 a pop.

About 100 women and men go into the Shizuka New York skin care salon, just off Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, each month to get the treatment, which is promoted as a way to keep the face soft and smooth using an enzyme in the poop to gently exfoliate the skin.

Spa owner Shizuka Bernstein, a Tokyo native married to an American, has been offering what she calls the Geisha Facial for about five years.

“I try to bring Japanese beauty secrets to the United States,” said Bernstein, who learned the treatment from her mother.

The Geisha Facial poop treatment, while relatively rare in the United States, is no secret in Japan, where it was first used in the 1600s by actors and geishas.

“That's why Japanese grandmothers have beautiful complexions,” said Duke Klauck, owner of the Ten Thousand Waves health spa in Santa Fe, N.M., which offers a Nightingale Facial for $129.

On a recent afternoon, Mari Miyoshi arrived at the sixth-floor Shizuka spa to try the treatment for the first time.

The 35-year-old occupational therapist reclined, relaxing amid aromas of camellia and lavender.

The cream-colored poop, dried and finely ground, was mixed with rice bran and applied to Miyoshi's face with a brush.

Does it smell? “Yes, but like toasted rice,” Miyoshi said.

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