People visiting a handicrafts fair in Texcoco, outside Mexico City, were in for a surprise this year, as a stand offered a “scorpion manicure,” consisting of having a scorpion glued to one or two fingernails, as part of a new beauty craze hitting Mexico.
Lupita Garcia, a scorpion artisan and enthusiast, started the trend a year ago in her home city of Durango, in the northern Mexico.
The idea grew so popular that Garcia decided to open a nail parlour of her own called “Aries,” where she employed manicurist, Thelma Cardenas, to take care of the scorpion-themed manicures.
The pair visited Texcoco fair last week, where more than 20 women a day paid around $50 pesos ($2.68 dollars) to have a scorpion glued to one or two of their nails.
Garcia buys dead Centruroides Suffusus scorpions from people who find them in the mountain ranges of Durango, where they are extensively found.
The scorpion is highly venomous and fatalities are known to occur after stings, if an anti-venom injection to neutralise the scorpion’s poison, is not placed quickly.
Injections of anti-venom counteract the stings within two hours and they are free in Durango.
This scorpion species is known for its interesting patterning or large size but the ones used by Garcia for the manicures are only babies, due to their small size.
Having a real scorpion encased in acrylic on one of your fingernails is not for everyone, Cardenas told Reuters.
“You find everything. There are people who react positively and say: ‘Wow! I love the nails’ and others who obviously say: ‘No. That it’s a horrible trend. That it’s a tacky trend.’ We have even been accused of animal cruelty.”
Garcia insists the scorpions, are not venomous after they have died and added tweezers are always used when handling them.
Scorpions are alternately cherished and feared in parts of northern Mexico, where stings are common and the dead critters adorn key-chains and ornamental ashtrays, a business Garcia was involved in before embarking on scorpion manicures, her most popular idea yet.
Customer, Abigail Lopez, said she had had a scorpion manicure in the name of fashion.
“The main motivation (for having manicure done with scorpions) is because it’s starting to become fashionable. We think it looks nice. It’s different and innovative and fun, more that anything,” Lopez said.
Garcia, who also commented she has been stung three times in her life requiring the application of an anti-venom serum, said she felt happy with the idea, which has proven very popular among young women.
Garcia added baby scorpions were not used on her handicrafts due to their small size, which led her to think about using them for manicures.
“We wasted them a lot. People thought they were too small and said: ‘No, they don’t have any value and it’s difficult because it’s smaller. But a large scorpion costs the same as a small scorpion so we decided to start placing them on nails. More value is given to it, it’s more authentic. I’m from Durango and I love to wear them,” Garcia said.
Scorpions prick an estimated 10,000 Americans each year, mostly in Arizona, and more than 250,000 Mexicans, anti-venom developers have said.
There are more than 1,000 species of scorpion — about 50 of which are dangerous to humans.
Victims with severe reactions can go into convulsions and choke on their own saliva, according to experts at the University of Arizona. Intensive-care doctors often have to heavily sedate and intubate them.