The quest for “beauty” is a timeless one, and throughout history, women’s appearances have been particularly subject to scrutiny. Across the ages, ladies have gone to extreme measures to alter their appearances, often in painful ways that conform to beauty standards of the time. Here are 13 bizarre beauty treatments that totally belong in a horror movie:
1. The Double-Chin Vanquisher
Got a chronic case of “turkey neck?” Strap on Professor Mack’s “Chin Reducer and Beautifier” and strangle that double chin right out of existence!
2. Lysol For Your Vagina
You trust Lysol disinfectant to keep your kitchen clean, why not give your ladybits the same luxury?
3. The Tapeworm Diet
Hungry all the time? Lend your digestive system to a tapeworm in need! The Tapeworm Diet was first advertised in the early 1900s as a way to lose weight, while still eating to your heart’s content. Don’t let that tempt you: the Tapeworm Diet comes with serious health risks, like meningitis and epilepsy. It’s now banned in the U.S.
4. “Toebesity” Plastic Surgery
Are your stilettos way too uncomfortable, or do you just have way too many toes? Some women think the latter, and they’re undergoing “stiletto surgery” to shorten or remove a toe or two. All the better to strut your stuff — after the recovery period, of course. Experts warn against reshaping your foot to fit your highest of heels. After all, buying a sweet pair of comfy kicks is way less expensive.
5. The Facial Flaw Detector
This helmet looks like a prop from the set of “Saw VI,” but it’s actually just the “Beauty Micrometer” in action. The device, shown here in 1934, claimed to calculate women’s facial measurements and detect the most minute “defects in feminine beauty.” That’s way more terrifying than anything depicted in the “Saw” movies.
6. The “Inverted Nipple Suction Dream Charm Adjuster”
Brought to you by the Japan Trend Shop, this cute, candy-colored device claims to “adjust” mild cases of inverted nipples. Don’t knock it ’till you try it; but probably, just don’t try it.
7. The Vampire Facial
They say that beauty is pain, but are you willing to really, really bleed for super pretty skin? If so, why not try the Vampire Facial, a simple face mask made from you very own blood? The mask is followed by laser treatment and “micro-needling.” Kim Kardashian brought this blood-curdling salon treatment to national attention last March.
8. Lard Wigs
Maybe she’s born with it … maybe she stuck her head in a bucket of lard. In the 18th century women often sported enormous, decorative wigs that were secured with lard. Women would wear these wigs for months, even though they’d often become infested with rats and lice.
9. The “Facewaver Exercise Mask”
Sing operatically while wearing this mask for just five minutes a day to reduce wrinkles and terrify your neighbors. It supposedly “stretches and tightens the face and cheeks,” thereby “kneading out wrinkles, lines and sag.” Available online from the Japan Trend Shop, this is the perfect Christmas gift for the super-vain bank-robber in your life.
10. The Nose Helmet
This device promised to give you a perfect nose and a perfectly terrible migraine.
11. The Siberian Snail Facial
Your facialist is a human? How quaint! Apparently, Siberian beauty mavens believe that snail slime is the secret to pretty skin. If letting a family of snails crawl all over your face grosses you out, the sheep-placenta facial is always an alternative.
12. The Original Nair: Arsenic
All that pesky body hair bumming you out? Make like your favorite Renaissance beauty mavens and slap some poison on it. In a pre-Nair world, Arsenic solution was apparently the hair-remover of choice.
13. The “Harness Magnetic Corset”
Circa 1890, the “Harness Magnetic Corset” promised to make “the most awkward figure become graceful and elegant,” while strengthening internal organs. X-rays of 19th century women reveal displaced ribs and other internal traumas cause by the undergarments. Yet, even today, the corset trend lives on.
These are just some of the bizarre treatments the fairer sex has undergone in the name of beauty and glamour through the years. What beauty treatment would you ban forever?
These don’t look too pleasant, either: