10 Bizarre Things People Did to Look Better in the Past
Appearance has always been important for people, but sometimes fashion or cultural traditions seem to have been taken a bit too far. In this article we’ve listed a few examples of unusual, strange, and sometimes weird things that people did to become more attractive.
We at Bright Side find it fascinating to see how fashion and beliefs change with time and want to share them with you.
1. Teeth blackening
As we all know, sugar can do major damage to teeth. In the 18th century, only wealthy families could afford sugar and sugary products like jams and candies. So people started deliberately blackening their teeth to show that they were rich enough to buy so much sugar that it even rotted their teeth.
2. Removing ribs for a smaller waist
Surely, some women are just lucky to have a tiny waist by nature. Wasp waist has always been considered very feminine and while in Victorian time it was normally achieved by wearing corsets, it seems that some people go for extreme solutions and actually remove a few ribs.
3. Stiff collars
Just to make it a bit fair, it’s not only women who suffer for fashion. In the late 19th century, men’s shirt collars were very high and stiff and this was part of the clothing that every gentleman had to have. It may look like it’s not a big deal, but there were a few reports where men died because of this collar.
4. Outstanding hairstyles
Sometimes we look at a hairstyle that was popular in the 70s or 80s and we say, “Really?”. But frankly speaking, those who grow up in the next 50 or 60 years will probably say the same thing about what’s popular at the moment. What can we say, it’s fashion.
5. Lotus feet
In China foot binding began in the 10th century when Emperor Li Yu asked his dancer Yao Niang to bind her feet in a moon shape and dance on the points of her feet. The Emperor was so impressed that soon other dancers started doing the same thing to try to get the Emperor’s attention. Not long after this foot binding became so popular in China that by the 19th century, 40-50% of all women had bound feet, while for the upper-class, this number was close to 100%.
It was so important that girls with unbound feet were judged and had a very slim chance of getting married. The most desirable bride had a 3-inch foot, a 4-inch foot was ok, while a 5-inch foot was close to disaster.
6. Mud bath with crocodile excrement
There are many people who believe that mud can be therapeutic and relaxing for the skin, joints, and muscles, but the ancient Greeks and Romans were way more extreme. They believed that animal byproducts had some anti-aging properties and one of the most popular treatments was having a bath in a warm mixture of mud and crocodile poop. Well, it might be gross, but at least it wouldn’t kill you compared to the next one.
7. Radioactive cosmetics
After the discovery of radium by Marie and Pierre Curie the world was overwhelmed with all sorts of commercial uses of radioactive materials in cosmetics, cleansers, creams, lipsticks, and even toothpaste. The products promised their users “radiant” skin, a highly-glowing face, and an anti-aging effect. It might sound ironic if we didn’t already know the consequences.
8. Urine for teeth whitening
Ancient dentists believed that urine had a magical teeth whitening effect. Urine was used for toothpaste and mouth washing liquids up through the 18th century. Honestly, it most likely did work well because it contains ammonia which is a known cleaning agent, but it’s still very gross.
Belladonna in Italian means “beautiful woman” and in the past this highly toxic plant was used as eye drops to achieve a very special look, the drops gave the pupil a dilated effect which was considered to be very attractive. Later scientists found that this effect was the result of the blocking of the receptors in the eye muscles and frequent use could lead to permanent blindness.
10. Beauty patches
Originally face patches were used to masque blemishes or scars but at some point it became a fashion and by the 18th century it became a must-have beauty finishing and a symbol of wealth. It was made from fabric and could be in all possible shapes, little hearts, stars or just random figurines.
Which one did you find the most, well, bizarre? Tell us in the comments below.