Have you ever wondered what women did to look beautiful way back when? Well lucky for you we are going to take a quick peek back in the past and tell you about some pretty bizarre historical beauty rituals!
People have been subjecting themselves to unique remedies for centuries and we have found the top ten of history’s most interesting (and a little frightening) methods and rituals people used all in the name of beauty.
1.) Tapeworm diet: Although many of us will probably find this method to weight loss absolutely disgusting, the tapeworm diet was actually very popular in England during the 1800s. But thankfully this quick weight loss method went out of fashion just as quick.
For those who wished to lose some pounds quick, all they had to do was swallow a pill containing tapeworm larvae. Supposedly, as the worm got bigger your weight got smaller, for they would eat those extra food calories that their human host had consumed. Once the tapeworms were full sized adults (up to 20 ft.), they would have to be very unpleasantly removed from the body.
2.) Dimple machines: Yes, I am sure the contraption felt just as horrible as it looks. Invented by Isabelle Gilbert in the 30s, the dimple machine was meant to form two little divots on the wearer’s cheeks. Though the dimples did not last long, this device did somehow grow in popularity.
3.) White lead skin treatment: Toxic white lead was a very common ingredient during the Victorian Era of beauty. Queen Victoria was especially known for sporting this look.
In order to achieve the desired appearance of “aristocratic paleness,” women would rub the powder or liquid onto all of their exposed skin. Not only did the lead cause baldness over time, it also caused organ and nervous system failure (but hey, you were highly desired until this spa treatment killed you).
4.) Borax freckle remover: In the late 1800s, women would remove freckles from their skin by mixing the odd concoction of lemon juice, vinegar, sour milk, horseradish and borax together and then rubbing it on their skin. Borax, a common floor cleaning agent, was very toxic and often left permanent scars on the skin. If Borax was not available, mercury was also used and could cause even worse health effects.
5.) Urine mouthwash: Before the invention of dental technology, it was very difficult to keep teeth looking healthy and bright. Because of this, urine was used to clean one’s teeth since its high concentration of ammonia was a very powerful cleaning agent.
The ancient Romans used this method quite often. They also believed Portuguese urine was “better” therefore they had hundreds of jars shipped from Portugal for their citizens to use. Urine was so popular for dental hygiene that it was used as an ingredient in mouthwash up until the 18th century.
6.) X-Ray hair removal: When X-rays were discovered in the 20th century scientists used them for excess body hair removal and marketed the device as a perfectly safe device for this beauty procedure. But, according to one report, some patients were exposed to the X-rays for up to twenty hours. While this method did indeed make all of the hair fall out, later on the patients also experienced ulcerations, atrophy and various cancers.
7.) Arsenic Eating: Introduced in the 12th century to what is current day Austria, this routine was most often carried out by young people who would eat small amounts of arsenic in order to make their cheeks look flush.
This practice still took place until about the 19th century and believe it or not, people did not always die from this poison. By taking small amounts of arsenic each day, the user’s body became less likely to suffer from the potent effects and slow death of arsenic poisoning. Even if they did live a full life, they still likely suffered other long-term health effects.
8.) Siberian Snail Facial: In Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, spa goers commonly allow very large, very slimy African Snails to crawl over their face all in the name of beauty and relaxation. Many claim the snail’s mucus, which is rich in proteins, elastin and healthy acids, speeds up the regeneration of the skin which is believed to help reduce wrinkles and scars. This snail has been used for centuries as a form a skin treatment, but thankfully today you can get the same effects in a bottle.
9.) Dental extractions for a thin face: In the early to mid 20th century, women (especially celebrities) would remove a few of their back molars in order to get their cheeks to sink in more. They believed having a thinner face was more beautiful and those who wanted the “Hollywood Look” also took to having many of their teeth extracted.
10.) Crocodile dung bath: Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans would often relax after a long day in a bath filled with crocodile dung. They believed that the dung had beautifying and restorative properties and would even mix it with mud for facials and skin creams. I do not know about you, but I am fine with just sticking to modern day mud baths.
The price of beauty is said to be quite high. But thankfully today a lot of our beauty regimens no longer contain any dangerous toxins like arsenic or call for eating tiny worms in the name of weight loss. Though there are still a few odd ideas out there I believe we have all gotten a bit smarter when it comes to our beauty regimens.
Have you heard of any past or modern day beauty regimens that you think are a little bizarre? Let us know in the comments!