Take a seat in front of the television for more than ten minutes and you’ll likely find yourself bombarded with 21st Century health and cosmetic propaganda. Men and women seem to be obsessed with preening- indulging in bee venom facials, sea salt hair sprays and paying tiny fish to nibble their feet. All sound a bit bizarre? Bat your false eyelashes at these health and beauty trends from the past:
Queen Cleopatra and the Egyptians
Myths surrounding the last queen of Egypt and her beauty regimes abound, but one that crops up time again is the beautifying milk bath. While we all enjoy a relaxing soak in some scented oils, Cleopatra is thought to have favoured the addition of both donkey milk and crocodile excrement to cleanse and tone her skin. Not content with merely smelling like a farm however, Cleopatra also championed the use of heavy makeup, sporting eye shadows made from burnt almonds and saffron, lead based eyeliners and lips rouged with iron oxides.
16th Century Europe
Continuing the fashion of those early beauty queens, ladies of the Elizabethan era considered porcelain skin their most prized feature. Heavy white lead oxide based paint was applied to the face and neck, with thin blue veins carefully painted on top. In the true spirit of the “no pain, no gain” philosophy, Elizabethan women also partook in the plucking of their hairlines, seeking to achieve the elusion of a long face and high forehead. Finally, in a risky move, these ladies sprinkled deadly night shade plant powder in their eyes to enlarge the pupils.
During the Second World War, beauty resources were scarce and girls used whatever they could to keep up appearances. Reported trends include the use of gravy browning to tan legs, pumice stones instead of razors and Vaseline for just about everything. Later, ‘70s magazines advised girls to rinse with beer and vinegar for shiny hair. Unable to reach for the nearest pair of GHDs, ‘70s girls also spent hours with their faces pressed to the ironing board – attempting to burn their hair straight, for a look like ‘70s icon, Diane Keaton’s.
Present day preening
While most of us can agree we’ve heard enough about Team Edward, the blood sucking trend may not have passed just yet. For the bargain price of $400, willing victims can now participate in the “vampire facial” where blood is injected into the face in a botox-esque manner. This, they hope, will give them the ethereal complexion of Twilight actress Kristen Stewart (pictured). Other fixes for the beauty junky include bull sperm hair care, snake massages and many more unusual trends…