Ancient world had efficacious beauty remedies up their sleeves. Enthralling part is that they did not hesitate to venture and expand their beauty research even without lab tests. Even though few rituals were eerie it is not easy either for them to discover and work through without equipment. If only they had known about arsenic poisoning and tapeworm pills; they would’ve not implemented them in the first place. Some of them work impeccably even today and are popular among celebs. You can go through ancient beauty rituals which were prominent among ancient people.
10. Sea Salt from Dead Sea, 1000 BC
Dead Sea is located in between Jordan and Israel and has 8.6 times saline than any ocean or salt water bodies in the world. The sea salt in the Dead Sea contains salt and minerals. Egyptian summers are sweltering along the Mediterranean coast, so Egyptians were conscious of skin and personal hygiene. The sea salt in the Dead Sea is used for skin for its therapeutic and sanative properties. Even now the sea salt is popular for skin replenishing and stress relieving. It is said that Cleopatra traveled all the way to Dead Sea just to take bath. She mixed 1-2 cups of sea salt in her bath which slows down aging. It’s a natural skin rejuvenate and cures eczema and psoriasis.
9. Arabic Body Sugaring, 1900 B.C.
As the name suggests, sugaring discovered by Arabians and has been in use since 1900 B.C. many of the beauty secrets were invented by Arabians, some of them are popular and well received among the skincare and beauty industries even now. They have a lot of fascinating beauty secrets up their sleeves like milk-honey facial and burnt almonds for eyebrows. Sugaring is made using just three main ingredients: lemon, sugar and water. Sugaring can be used for exfoliating and are less painful than waxing. They don’t have any harmful chemicals like toxins and hormone disruptors which are present in present day cosmetics. They came upon this wax based product to remove hair from body to attain smooth skin and also which is hygiene. Cleopatra the Egyptian beauty was using sugaring intentionally for exfoliating and hair removal.
8. Pearl Powder, 320 AD
Though using grounded pearls for skin care is lavish, they are used internally and externally in China over 1,000 years. Even today Asian beauty creams and masks have pearl powder ingredient featured. They were used by royal Chinese women to improve their complexion and to treat acne. China’s only female empress Wu ZeTian also ingest teaspoonful of pearl powder to get glowing face. Pearl powder has antioxidants, proteins and amino acids which help them with health improvement and regeneration of collagen. And also rich in calcium which rejuvenates skin and bones when consumed. Even in India Ayurveda mentioned pearl powder as an antidote for poison. Pearls which cannot be used for jewels are finely grounded and they are added in face creams and masks for face brightening. Pearl powder was taken internally for to cure tuberculosis and eye diseases in China.
7. Crushed Beetles for Red Pout, 3500 BC
Lips are the sensual part of our body and wearing lipsticks will make you stand out in the crowd. Mesopotamian women were the first inventors of lip colors. They used crushed gem stones and bees wax to color their lips red. Later they would’ve figured out that they were playing with the precious gems. It was Egyptians who advanced the lip color culture, and were a step ahead.
In the initial stage they used sea weed, iodine and bromine mannite to create signature colors. They experimented a lot and came up with hot tangerine to pink colors. Even black lipsticks were invented back then; bromine mannite with iodine gave deep purple shade. As the ingredients were and poisonous beetles and ants were crushed and carmine color was introduced by Cleopatra. It was not easy either apparently 70,000 beetles were crushed to get 1 pound of carmine dye. Cleopatra was seen wearing red lips most of the time. Cochineal or natural red color is famous even now, dried blood from beetles are used to get this color.
6. Arsenic Hair Removal, 4000-3000 BC
One of the well known trends for women is maintaining hairless body which is soft and attractive. Women use razors to shave the hair, some use painful waxing. Let me introduce to one more bizarre technique which was used by renaissance women back in the ancient times. Renaissance women used a pint of arsenic and eighth pint of quick lime to prepare a lotion. Then they went to hot rooms or baths and applied to the parts of the body to be depilated. Arsenic is poisonous and can rip the skin, so when they felt hot, quickly washed them with hot water. So that only hair is removed without peeling the skin off. Hence the process of hair removal left their skin with irritation and skin burning it was not practiced later.
5. Tapeworm Diet, 18th Century
Being slim and trim was a trend in England in 1800s which is not surprising at all, they are ever-trendy. To get the slim body women go under knives and try crash diets what not. People always choose extreme measures to lose weight, can you believe even back then people were on tapeworm diet. By consuming sanitized real tapeworms into pills which is one of the filthiest practices back those days. They swallowed those tapeworm pills sold in tins and cans to shed weight. Actually it worked well but with horrifying side effects.
The worms convert the calories in our body to their own body and grew larger. They stay in their body until removed through bowel movements which was an unpleasant process. It was a physically and psychologically challenging process to shed weight with the infamous tapeworm diet. Chances are there that tapeworms might deviate to other parts of the body including eyes, liver and brain. People were affected with vitamin deficiencies, serious bloating, infection, nausea and constipation until tapeworms were expelled. Even after tapeworms were expelled people started to gain weight rapidly. Thankfully the tapeworm diet was put to an end.
4. Urine for Tresses, 40-30 BC
Although pouring urine on your scalp may sound obnoxious, ancient people smeared them on their tresses. Ancient Arabians used camel urine to achieve long and shiny hair. It was also to protect hair from knits and give reddish hue for the hair. Even women in the ancient Venice got their blonde highlights from lion’s urine. Pouring lion’s urine on the hair before sitting out in the sun worked well for them to get nice shiny blonde highlights. It is said that urine therapy for your hair will control hair loss and leave your hair shining. Cow dung and urine is used for its medicinal properties in ancient India too. Ancient Romans believed urine will whiten their teeth and used them as mouthwash.
3. Donkey’s Milk, 30 BC
Back in time, Cleopatra swears by this beauty remedy, she literally took bath in donkey milk daily to preserve her skin vitality and beauty. For her daily bath about 700 donkeys were utilized to accomplish enough milk in bath tub. It is said that all the donkeys were escorted with her to all of her journeys. Donkey’s milk has alpha hydroxyl acids which reduces wrinkles and slows down aging. Donkey’s sour milk is known as ancient elixir of life which cures psoriasis and also eliminates dead skin cells. Any redness and irritation in the skin can be diminished restoring clear and smooth skin. Even at present donkey’s milk is used in the manufacturing of creams and soaps.
2. Nightingale Poop Cream, 17th Century
Earlier in 17th century in Japan there were kabuki performers who would perform in traditional Japanese theater. Kabuki makeup is the main part of their performance in which they paint their face using thick coat of white makeup. The geisha or kabuki women were suffering from chronic skin diseases since the makeup had harmful ingredients like lead and zinc. So they came up with cleaning their makeup using guano (bird poop) collected from Japanese bush warbler or Japanese nightingale. It may sound strange and disgusting but guano really helped them to remove makeup effectively. After using those to remove makeup the texture of the skin improved tremendously. Even now nightingale poop facial is popular among celebrities like Tom Cruise and Victoria Beckham. They brighten the skin and repair the damage done to the skin slowing the aging process.
1. Crocodile Dung, 20 BC
Ancient Greeks and Romans used an exceptional ingredient in their mud bath also known as ‘fountain of youth?’ none other than crocodile excrement. Even Egyptians had a skin care routine which includes crocodile faeces as facial mask. The facial masks are for anti-aging treatment. Cleopatra particularly used them as face masks and for body wash with donkey’s milk. Her bath tub was filled with milk and crocodile dung to fight anti-aging marks like wrinkles. She bathed in rose petals and milk which leaves her skin smell sweat. Egyptians also used crocodile dung as a pessary; it might have worked since excrement is rather alkaline.