‘Mad Men’ actress January Jones’ recent confession that she consumes pills made from her own placenta, the organ that connects the developing foetus to the uterine wall, is likely to have shocked at least some of her fans, if not most.
In an interview to a glamour magazine, the actress mentioned that the pills were one of the reasons she was able to get back to work just six weeks after giving birth in September of last year, to continue filming the fifth season of the American drama series.
“It’s something I was very hesitant about, but we’re the only mammals who don’t ingest our own placentas,” she reportedly said, before going on to encourage “all moms” to try it.
Chinese herbalists are among those who believe that re-ingesting the placenta helps nourish the body after childbirth.
Nutritionist Sheetal Tanna is alarmed by Jan’s pill-popping suggestion. “Please do not try such things,” she stresses. “Anything that goes against nature is a strict no-no. These claims are baseless, and by the time it’s proved harmful, the damage is already done,” she says.
It’s not the first time, though, that a celebrity has made a suggestion, or shared a beauty secret that borders on the strange. Here’s a list of celeb beauty quirks, plus expert advice on whether or not they work.
For curves like Liv Tyler, you’ll need a hula-hoop
The ‘Lord of the Rings’ beauty has always made news for her curves, and has been appreciated for not succumbing to the size-zero fad. The secret to her voluptuous body? Liv Tyler claims the only way she can stick to a regime is by enjoying it, and the hula-hoop is a current favourite.
“I put on my favorite song on and stand outside and hula-hoop in every direction until the song is over and I’m all out of breath. It’s really fun,” the actress claims.
Fitness instructor Jordyn Steig approves. “Hula-hoops are good for obliques, base muscles and coordination. They’re good cardio, once a person gets good at it. It’s particularly suitable for women who are considering having babies. Anyone can try it, assuming the person has no injuries, back problems or other such conditions,” he says.
Try this at home: If the thought of mastering the hoop makes you dizzy, try belly dancing or Zumba instead, both of which are based on the same principle of lower and upper body movement.
Teri Hatcher swears by a glass of red wine in bath water for smoother skin
If we look half as gorgeous as the ‘Desperate Housewives’ star does at 47, we will be very happy. Dermatologist Rui Fernandes, however, suggests that you’re better off drinking the glass of wine instead.
Tanna agrees. “Red wine is good for raising HDL, the good cholesterol, and lowering LDL, the villain cholesterol. One glass a day is good for the body, but don’t overdo it, because ultimately wine is alcohol and has several calories.”
Try this at home: Dr Fernandes likens red wine to astringent. “There is no scientific evidence supporting such claims, so use an astringent or cream meant for the skin instead, and unwind with a glass of red wine.”
Who’s afraid of needles? Not Madonna! who takes B12 injections
The 53-year-old singer-songwriter is a fan of B12 vitamin injections, which she claims possess “energy-boosting properties”. The shots supposedly help red blood cells carry more oxygen, efficiently.
“B12 deficiency is very common. Injections are prescribed by doctors only if one is found to be deficient,” says Sheetal. “One should never self-prescribe, and the injection should be taken only under strict supervision.”
As for the skin, the correlation is simple. “Lack of Vitamin B12 causes anaemia, which makes skin look dull. A healthy body, on the other hand, will definitely lead to glowing skin,” she says.
“50% of your skin’s glow is thanks to a healthy, balanced diet, and the rest is thanks to regular exercise. External applications, including creams account for only two to five per cent of the glow, which is temporary,” she says.
Try this at home: Stock up on natural Vitamin B12 to escape those injections. “Oranges and watermelon are excellent for Vitamin C — great for glowing skin. Sprouts, dal, curd are great too.”
Got milk? Cindy Crawford does, she uses it on her face
When ex-supermodel Cindy Crawford talks about staying beautiful, we listen. Is it any wonder then that when she spoke about how she mixes milk with water and sprays it on her face throughout the day, we found ourselves reaching out for a milk bottle!
Fernandes doesn’t quite approve of the milk spray theory. “It’s absurd. If you do have to hydrate your skin, water is the best way to go. Else, opt for a hydrating cream, which traps the moisture and does the job the best.
When you think about how unhygienic un-boiled milk can be, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to sprinkle it over the face. And even if the milk is boiled, there is nothing to suggest that it does any good to the skin,” he says.
Try this at home: Drink milk. “Milk boosts serotonin, which is a feel-good neurotransmitter, and is calming,” says Tanna, adding, “All the nine essential proteins that the body needs, but can’t produce are found in milk. Those below the age of 40, who aren’t lactose-intolerant can easily digest milk. Buttermilk is an excellent way to keep cool during summers.”
Hair tip for guys: Use aloe vera gel as hair gel
On the subject of beauty, there’s no reason men should be left out! Speaking of which, Wes Bentley’s facial hair in the film The Hunger Games took three hours, each day, for make-up artistes to sculpt. Given that his character Seneca Crane lives in the future, is the sculpted beard a trend we are likely to see more of in days to come?
“I don’t see Indian men carrying off this look,” says make-up artiste Clint Fernandes, adding, “It just doesn’t complement their personality. Besides, it won’t go down well in the corporate world. Even then, it has limited appeal.”
Try this at Home: “The unkempt look is popular,” says Clint, adding, “The Italian-French beard or goatee is the way to go. The single blades that barbers use are best for beard-styling, though one needs an extremely steady hand to use it.”
Electric shavers are another option. Instead of using aftershave, Clint suggests using aloe vera gel, instead, which serves a dual purpose. “Aloe vera gel also works great as hair gel. It doesn’t get waxy when sweating, unlike hair gel.”