Beauty at Any Cost! 10 of the Most Disturbing Beauty Trends Throughout History

Beauty trends have been around for centuries, and over time, they have evolved in strange and sometimes horrifying ways. From toxic ingredients to bizarre devices, people have gone to great lengths to achieve their ideal beauty standards. 

Here are ten bizarre and horrifying beauty trends from the past that will leave you thankful for modern beauty practices.

1. Lead-Based Makeup

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Lead-based makeup was popular in ancient Rome, and it was common to apply a paste made from lead and vinegar to the face. Lead was believed to improve the complexion and give the skin a pale, luminous appearance. 

The use of lead-based makeup was incredibly dangerous, as lead is a toxic substance that can cause serious health problems, including organ damage and even death.

2. Foot Binding

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Foot binding was a Chinese practice that began in the 10th century and continued for over a thousand years. Young girls would have their feet tightly bound with cloth to prevent them from growing. The idea was to create a “lotus foot,” which was considered a symbol of beauty and status. 

Foot binding was incredibly painful and often led to infections, deformities, and even death.

3. Eyebrow Shaving

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In the 18th century, it was fashionable for women to shave off their eyebrows and draw them back on with a pencil. This practice was particularly popular in France, where it was believed that a high forehead and lack of eyebrows made women appear more intelligent.

The constant shaving and drawing of eyebrows could lead to infections and skin irritation.

4. Corsetry

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Women wore corsets from the 16th century to the early 20th century to achieve an hourglass figure. They were made of tightly laced fabric and often caused discomfort, restricted breathing, and even organ damage. 

Some women even had ribs removed to achieve a more extreme waistline.

5. Hair Powder

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In the 18th century, it was fashionable for both men and women to wear powdered wigs or powder their natural hair with white powder made from flour or starch.

This practice was incredibly messy, and the powder often attracted vermin such as lice.

6. Arsenic Complexion Wafers

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In the 19th century, women would consume arsenic complexion wafers to achieve a pale complexion. Arsenic is a toxic substance that can cause skin damage, organ damage, and even death.

Despite this, the wafers were widely advertised as a safe and effective beauty treatment.

7. Blistering Agents

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Blistering agents were commonly used in the 19th century to remove freckles and other skin blemishes. These agents contained harsh chemicals, such as cantharidin, which is derived from blister beetles. 

They were applied to the skin, causing blistering and peeling, which was believed to remove the blemishes. This practice was incredibly painful and could lead to infections and scarring.

8. Beauty Masks Made of Animal Feces

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In ancient Egypt, beauty masks made from animal feces were popular, particularly those made from crocodile dung. The masks were believed to have anti-aging properties and were also used to treat acne. 

The use of animal feces on the skin could lead to infections and diseases.

9. Teeth Blackening

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In Japan, during the Edo period (1603-1868), it was fashionable for women to blacken their teeth with a mixture of iron filings, vinegar, and gallnuts. This practice was believed to make women appear more attractive and refined. 

However, blackening the teeth led to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss.

10. Bee Venom Facials

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Bee venom facials have gained popularity in recent years. But the use of unusual and sometimes dangerous ingredients in beauty treatments has been a recurring theme throughout history, and bee venom facials certainly fit that mold.

The pursuit of beauty has led to some truly bizarre and sometimes horrifying trends throughout history. From lead-based makeup to foot binding and corsetry, people have gone to great lengths to achieve their desired beauty standards, often at the cost of their health and well-being. 

While some of these trends may seem unthinkable today, it’s important to remember that modern beauty practices are not immune to criticism and that the quest for beauty has always been a complex and ever-changing phenomenon.

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