Today, it is common to see the lengths that people go to look a specific way and worry about our culture. We are often so obsessed with our looks that people will go to the extreme – dangerous – lengths to try and look how they dream. However, as you might notice, history has a habit of making the extremities of today appear quite tame. Here are just a few examples of historical beauty techniques which would make your stomach turn.
A chemical compound for eye makeup
In ancient Egypt, most images and drawings we find from that era depict people wearing specific kinds of eye makeup. Well, the problem is that while this looked grandiose it was made using a combination of lead sulfide and the green ore of copper. As you might imagine, when combined with kohl, a lead-based product, the results could be pretty dangerous. When applied to the skin, this would come with a natural risk of poisoning the individual in question.
We often see people walking around with no eyebrows at all today, and this is seen as odd. However, it is an aesthetic idea taken from the era of Queen Elizabeth I. The ‘trend’ at the time was to have no eyebrows at all. Some would even shave away a portion of their hairline, as this was considered to be the modern and attractive look at the time. The reason? Someone with a larger forehead was seen as more intelligent. By showing off their foreheads, people would be seen as smarter!
Another odd aesthetic choice from the 19th Century was for women to smash their ribs by wearing extremely tight corsets. This would force the corset to push on their digestive system, and eventually even on their ribs. It was common for women who would wear corsets to have squashed rib cages, moved organs into the wrong place, or damaged themselves internally in some other horrific manner.
Pale skin via lead
A rather worrying trend back in the day was for people to use chemical composition to pale their skin. For example, it was common for people in nations like ancient Greece to use lead-based lotion to try and chemically brighten their skin. The red lead would be used to give people a reddish, rosy-looking tint to their skin. As you might imagine, this led to significant lead poisoning.