You haven’t lived until you’ve covered your face in 24 carat gold, apparently.

THE VANITY obsessed Ancient Romans were said to use wee to clean their teeth and apply the sweat of fallen gladiators as a face cream. Fast forward to the 1930s where it was perfectly acceptable to use radium – a radioactive ingredient – to powder (or poison) your face with. I wish I was joking. We’ve made huge advancements in recent years of course, but the pursuit of eternal beauty is one that still consists of peculiar experimentation.

We’ve discovered some pretty left-field treatments in Manchester, most of which have undergone rigorous testing but still sound, well…strange

If it works, it works – right?

From bee venom to snail slime, here are the weirdest spa and beauty treatments to try in Manchester.


Available at SCI-U spa Wilmslow and Manchester, prices from £45

Depleted of energy after all the touring and relentless hedonism, poor burnt-out celebrities rely on vitamins pumped into their veins via an intravenous drip to cure their hangovers. The procedure’s fans include Rihanna, Cara Delevingne and Rita Ora. For the rest of us, it would appear Lucozade and a full English just won’t cut it anymore.

‘Whether you are faced with a crucial meeting, struggling with a demanding travel schedule, recovering from illness or surgery, or simply feeling under the weather, IV drips can help you,’ say city-centre and Cheshire based spa clinic SCI-U. Instead of vitamin supplements, I.V drips deliver nutrients directly into to the body bypassing your digestive tract where they struggle to be fully absorbed. After 30 minutes with a needle in your arm, you’re said to feel immediately refreshed and energised.

SCI-U Aesthetic Clinic – Manchester Clinic, The Fold, Cross Street, Manchester, M2 1HB

170405 Iv Drip Hangover Cure
Would you be willing to cure your hangover via I.V drip?


Available at Vivo Clinic, King Street; £99, 90 minutes

Deborah Mitchell - the original pioneer of bee venom facials - revealed that to make her patented skin cream, she extracted the venom by ‘milking’ her buzzing subjects. The beauty tycoon revealed this peculiar, um… recipe on a BBC docu-series called on ‘How Did You Get So Rich’ so we assume she may be on to something. We’ve endured a lot for beauty at Body Confidential, but we drew the line at sticking our heads in a hive. Thankfully a bee venom facial doesn’t involve being stung, instead, highly concentrated face creams are massaged into your face.

In Manchester, we go one step further and combine bee venom with a luxurious 24 carat gold leaf face mask. It’s a facial King Midas would appreciate (though we know how his story ends). ‘With the combination of bee venom, the gold facial produces a similar effect to Botox,’ says King Street cosmetic clinic Vivo. Gold leaf face masks are said to be an anti-ageing gold mine, helping to combat depleting collagen and keep skin hydrated amongst other benefits. 

Fans include Cleopatra, ancient Chinese dignitaries and the Real Housewives of Cheshire.

Vivo skin clinic , 53 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ

170405 24K Gold
'It’s a facial King Midas would appreciate (though we know how his story ends).'

VAMPIRE FACIAL                                        

Available at Flint Plus Flint; £350 facial - £1,400 breast lift

Here’s one we’ve witnessed first-hand – both in person and when Kim Kardashian tried it in on her reality show back in 2014 (she cried). It certainly sounds vamp-ish. Here, your own blood is extracted before being spun into a centrifuge to separate the red and white blood cells from the plasma. The plasma is then injected and smothered on your face. It looks icky. 

There’s a whole bunch of incredulous science here; the Vampire facial’s government name is ‘platelet rich plasma treatment’ which was first created to help people with serious injuries and burns. It was soon snapped up by the cosmetic beauty market as an anti-ageing treatment. Fans include model Bar Rafaeli (who posted her blood-covered face to Instagram) and more who believe it’s a great skin plumper. The results are said to be youthful and visibly more radiant skin. City centre based spa clinic Flint + Flint offer the treatment as a facial, facelift, breast lift and a means to promote hair follicle growth.

Flint + FlintHarvey Nichols, 21 Cathedral Approach, Manchester M1 1AD

170504 Kardashian Vampire Facial
Kim Kardashian made the facial popular in 2014


Available at Vivo Clinic; £99

On the same lines as the question ‘who was the first weirdo to milk a cow?’ we ponder the maverick who first decided snail slime would make a great moisturiser. Interestingly it was an accidental discovery; Chilean snail farmers, sourcing gastropods for French markets, found their hands became beautiful and soft over time. 

Snail secretion has been found to contain regenerative anti-ageing and healing properties. ‘When snails are agitated, they excrete a thick fluid as a means to protect themselves,’ explain Manchester’s Vivo clinic, ‘as a snail protects itself, the slime that is excreted from its body is packed with nutrients like hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial and copper peptides, and proteoglycans.’ Vivo clinic combine their snail slime treatment with micro-needling - a 240 micro needle roller which rolled onto the epidermis of the skin creating thousands of micro holes. The snail slime is then massaged into the skin in a bid to restore, heal and rejuvenate the skin’s appearance.

Vivo skin clinic, 53 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ

170504 Snail Slime
Does snail slime contain the recipe for more youthful skin?


Available at SCI-U; £45 per session

-160 Celsius. We probably don’t need to explain just how cold that is. But I had once described it as being ‘colder than stumbling out of Bijou nightclub on New Year's Day wearing nothing but a strapless body-con dress and peep toe heels.’ Still, the cold doesn’t stop the likes of footballers, rugby players and celebrities jumping in a cryotherapy ice chamber or ‘cryo-sauna’ for three icy minutes. As we’ve found with many treatments, cryotherapy started as a procedure to treat medical ailments such as arthritis but is now seen as a viable way to tone skin and shock the body slim, while also helping professional athletes recover from serious injuries. 

SCI-U Aesthetic Clinic – Manchester Clinic, The Fold, Cross Street, Manchester, M2 1HB

170504 Cryotherapy
How cold is cold?


Available at Acu-Spa; £30 per 15 minutes

You may remember the strange, bright red suction cup marks on the back of Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps during the 2016 tournament (or maybe I was the only one staring?). He had undergone an ancient Chinese cupping therapy, a type of deep tissue massage where suction cups are applied to your skin for a few minutes at a time. It’s said to help relieve muscle pain, aid relaxation and blood flow, release tight muscle knots and swelling. You’re left with those angry red marks but, let’s face it, there are few instances where you can say your body looks like an Olympian. 

Chinese medical clinic Acu-Spa offer varying cupping treatments - from 'wet/bleeding' cupping to 'moving' cupping - in the city centre.

ACU-SPA , 50 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BW

170504 Wet Cupping
'Wet cupping' can help relieve muscle pain


Available at Spa Satori; from £75 for the first treatment, £40 thereafter.

In short: this is a colonic you administer yourself. It’s a private experience, described as a ‘dignified way to clean out your intestines’. Using a ‘Cherubum Lavage chair’ (basically a special, movable toilet), you place the nozzle into your rectum, while water flushes out your colon removing the, er…contents of your lower intestine. Beauty salon and clinic, Spa Satori, explain that similar to colonic irrigation and hydrotherapy the colonic chair is great for those who are severely constipated and dehydrated. Benefits are also said to include improved sleep, weight control, better skin, balanced mood, improved digestion and regular bowel movements.

Spa Satori , 112 High Street, Manchester M4 1HQ

170504 Spasatori Colonicchair
Spa Satori's colonic chair allows you to clean out your intestines with dignity


Available at Manchester lipo – two areas £159 for 1 hour and 30 minutes

Three dimensional… as opposed to two-dimensional lipo? ‘3D liposuction’ is a questionable title, but as it was designed by the Harvard Medical School we’d be inclined not to strike up any scepticism. On the face of it, 3D liposuction is a non-invasive alternative to regular liposuction, which involves the vigorous removal of your body fat via a mini surgical Dyson vacuum (sort of). Instead, much like cryotherapy, 3D liposuction involves similar freeze technology. Applied directly to your fatty areas, a machine works to freeze fat cells which you later get rid of with your regular waste.

Manchester Lipo, 49 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2AP


Available at Bannatyne health spa - £55

'What a waste' – our first thoughts, admittedly. Although, a full body chocolate massage in the run up to Easter seems somewhat appropriate. Bannatyne Spa offer a full body indulgent chocolate body massage, where after your body is scrubbed, melted chocolate is massaged to the skin. Sounds thoroughly relaxing, but again, so does sitting on the sofa devouring a family sized bar of Dairy Milk. Yet a chocolate massage has far better benefits to you skin than eating it. Apparently chocolate’s ‘high caffeine content firms the skin’ by improving blood circulation. The anti-oxidants help to plump and smooth the skin. No word on whether you get to eat the chocolate afterwards.

Bannatyne health spa , Quay Street and Chepstow Street

170504 Chocolatemassage
No word on whether you get to eat the chocolate afterwards...


Available at Float Level Manchester - £35 for a single float, £55 with a friend.

When an opportunity to put our publisher Gordo in a float tank arrived a few years ago, we pushed him in, closed the lid and turned off the lights. He’d float in a sensory pool of water for an hour in the dark in a bid to calm him down. It seemed the work and he described the non-sensory experience as ‘trippy’. But what’s the point of it all? The floatation pod is said to bring mental and physical relaxation. Based in a purpose built centre in New Islington, the salt-water filled pod brings the feeling of zero gravity, freeing you from ‘the flood of sensory information’ we’re bombarded with every day. It’s also said to help relieve physical pains.

Float Level, Unit 2, Chips Building, Lampwick Lane (Off Old Mill Street), New Islington, Manchester, M4 6BU

170504 Floatlevel
The 'trippy' floatation pod is said to bring mental and physical relaxation.


Available at Vivo Clinic King Street - £495 one treatment

Is your vagina tired? Best not to answer that. But then again, maybe it’s time we talk more about vaginas and their longing to be rejuvenated. Vivo Clinic, now featuring heavily on this list, offer vagina tightening services. Why? Because as we age our vaginas age too, losing collagen and elasticity. Using a device called a ‘Femi Wand’ – or as one Real Cheshire Housewife called it, a ‘minky tightener’ – your vaginal muscles are inspired to contract due a ‘highly intensive’ ultrasound which repairs elastin.

Vivo skin clinic, 53 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ