10 Dangerous Beauty Tricks From Ancient Times

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette

Photo: Sony pictures

Make-up and beautifying treatments have been around since the time of the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians.Today, we pinch, peel and inject to make ourselves beautiful, but thousands of years ago people were doing dangerous and down right gross things to reach the pinnacle of perfection and beauty.

Crocodile dung.

Ancient Greeks and Romans thought crocodile dung had beautifying and restorative properties. The dung was mixed in with mud to use for anti-ageing facials or a relaxing bath.

Mud Baths are still popular today claiming to improve complexion, relieve joint and muscle pain, and remove toxins from the body.

Poop Facials.

People are still getting facials made of poop today.

The Daily Mail reports that Tom Cruise rubs a mixture of nightingale poop, rice bran, and water to keep his youthful look.

The nightingale facial is popular in Japan and is also known as the Geisha Facial. It is thought to exfoliate, brighten, and soothe the skin. The urea found in bird poop also helps with moisture retention.

In New York, you can get a 60 minute Geisha Facial for $180.

Poop for pale faces.

The uses of crocodile dung do not stop at baths and facials.

When dried, it was also used as a less toxic option to achieve the pale face popular in Elizabethan times.

Leaded make-up.

The more toxic option was the favourite make-up of the time, called ceruse, a poisonous mixture of white lead and vinegar. The use of this make-up withered the skin, caused sores, and damaged internal organs.

Egyptians also used a lead-based make-up called kohl, which was basically dark lead. This make-up was used around their eyes and as a mascara.

The first non-toxic mascara wasn't created until 1920 by Rimmel.

Lard hair.

Instead of hair gel and spray, lard was used to sculpt wigs in the 1800's. The lard would attract rats and often these wigs would become infested with them. The wig was attached to a woman's real hair, which they would leave on for weeks. Sleeping with cages over their wigs became popular to avoid a rat infestation.

Leaded hair dye.

Dyeing your hair was also common. The dye was lead-based like the Elizabethan make-up they wore.

Here is a list of the effects of lead by the EPA that include reproductive problems, muscle and joint pains, high blood pressure, and more.

Queen Elizabeth's hair concoction caused nausea, headaches, and regular nosebleeds, Beauty Riot reports.

Radioactive products.

As if lead-based make up wasn't bad enough, arsenic and radiation were later added as well.

In the 1600's women began to wear face powder that was made with arsenic. Health effects has been linked to a number of cancers including bladder, lungs, skin, nasal passages, and more.

Sometime before 1920 a line of radium cosmetics was marketed. These cosmetics were said to stimulate vitality, activate circulation, firm skin, eliminate fat, reduce pore size, and much more. Luckily radiation in these cosmetics were so low they probably had little to no effects -- good or bad.

Hair Removal.

Hair removal also became popular during Elizabethan times. During this time, homemade depilatory creams that contained quicklime and arsenic were used to burn off hair.

In the 1940's wartime scarcity made woman resort to using sand paper and buff themselves to remove hair. This method actually regained some popularity recently with an infomercial product (essentially a smoother type of sand paper that) to smooth away body hair.

Gargle with urine.

With all these tips to look your best remember that fresh breath and a great smile go a long way too.

Before the time of Scope and Listerine, Romans used urine mouthwash to freshen their breath and get whiter teeth. Not just any urine either, Portuguese urine was used because they thought it was more potent than their own.

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