I love Miranda Kerr. I have long pined for her gorgeous glow and her insanely pretty teacup line. The Australian model recently espoused a beauty treatment, however, that’s just a wee bit much according to some (including Gwyneth Paltrow, who responded to Kerr’s beauty confession with, “Wow. I thought I was batshit crazy.”). What could be so out-there that the wellness world’s favorite vaginal steamer would go into shock? A leech facial. That’s what.
Of course, I couldn’t leave this one alone. I had to know everything. Specifically, what on earth?!
In a leech facial, leeches are placed on your body (like on your abdomen), and they’re allowed to hook on with all of their lovely little teeth (of which there are hundreds) and gorge themselves on your blood. The leeches are removed, and the blood mixture is pressed out of the leeches and applied as a facial mask. The results? Tighter, brighter, silkier skin according to leech facial devotees. Just in case you need a visual, here’s what goes down during a leech facial.
Due to hygiene reasons, the leeches cannot be reused, so they are normally killed after the procedure. Kerr had other plans for her bloodsuckers, however: “I kept the leeches; they’re in my koi pond. You’re not allowed to reuse them, and if you don’t take them home then she kills them, and I didn’t like that idea.”
Kudos to Kerr for her sweet earnestness, but isn’t there an alternative that doesn’t involve any creepy crawlies? Or teeny-tiny teeth? Or smeared blood?
Yes. Yes, there is, and I’m willing to bet that it’s way cheaper than the cost of a leech facial.
The one drawback to this leech facial alternative is that results aren’t instantaneous. Rather, they occur with consistent product application over a period of weeks and months. But given that this alternative is vegan, cruelty-free (just be choosy about your brands!), and accessible (you don’t have to find a licensed hiroudotherapist, a.k.a. leech therapist), I think it’s well worth it!
So what is it? A simple combination of a vitamin C serum and a Beta-Hydroxy Acid (BHA) exfoliating toner. (And my combination, I mean simply using both–not necessarily mixing them together.)
Vitamin C, particularly in the form ascorbic acid, has antioxidant properties and is associated with reducing the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots or hyperpigmentation. A go-to for fighting dullness, this brightening ingredient may also help address loss of firmness. Just be sure to seek an ascorbic acid serum packaged in an opaque pump dispenser since this active ingredient is sensitive to light and air. I like the vitamin C serum by Ursa Major we recently featured in our vegan skin care round-up.
A BHA toner can have pretty wondrous results when used consistently. (BHA is sometimes referred to as salicylic acid (SA); however, there is a slight distinction between the two; for our purposes, a toner with either will most likely be designed to accomplish the same results). BHA is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory (making it a star ingredient in anti-acne products). Because it can penetrate oil, it is able to exfoliate inside pores, rendering them more even in appearance (which helps skin look tighter!). Its use is also associated with boosted collagen production. I’ve sworn by this BHA toner by Paula’s Choice for over a year now.
Because both vitamin C and BHA are sensitizers—and may make you more vulnerable to UV damage—I prefer to use mine separately, alternating days and usually using them at night. Regardless of your skincare regimen, be sure to use an SPF of at least 30 every day.
So there you have it! A simple, cost-effective alternative to a leech facial that will help brighten, firm, and smooth your complexion. Try it for a few weeks and then check in with your results!
Do you think Miranda Kerr’s leech facial is extreme? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for beauty?
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Photo: Miranda Kerr via Instagram