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Do bird-poo facials bring you luck, Tom?

There is an old saying that goes something along the lines of 'if a bird manages to poo on your head then, as sure as eggs are eggs, your luck will improve'. It must follow, then, that if you spread bird poo all over your face, the man of your dreams will appear at your front door and your Lotto numbers will turn up -- or something to that effect.

"What are you on about?" asked Patsy. "The Geisha bird-poo facial," I replied. "That sounds disgusting," she said. Yes it does. The Geisha bird-poo facial originated in Japan where Geishas used the bird poo as a means of exfoliation. It was confined to that country for quite some time but has spread across the water to the US where it has been popping up in beauty salons because, well, after writing this column for a while, I realise that they would try absolutely anything over there.

The facial is made from the poo of a specific type of nightingale bird called the Japanese Bush Warbler. In the old days, you had to stand for hours under a tree holding a bucket as you waited for the Warbler to empty its bowels, but it's big business now, so there are now bird farms all over Japan who are only too willing to collect the faeces on your behalf.

After the poo has been collected, it is dried and powdered before it is packaged and sent on to the beauty salons where it is applied to the mugs of its clients for about $180 a poop ... sorry ... pop. The claims are that it makes the skin softer and brighter.

"Does it smell like sh**e?" said Patsy, not beating about the bush.


Those who have paid $180 to have it applied are probably not willing to describe it in those terms. Instead, they use words like 'doughy', 'musky' and even 'medicinal', while others say there is no smell.

Like all fads, they can't really survive without the oxygen of the celebrity imprimatur. According to Elle magazine, Victoria Beckham is a fan, along with the youthful Tom Cruise. Tom doesn't use cosmetic surgery or Botox but apparently likes to get a great big spatula and spread the Warbler excrement on his puss every other day. The thing is that he actually does look younger than he did 10 years ago. But has the bird poo brought him any luck? I don't know.

Perhaps we should ask Katie Holmes ... .