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11 Facts That Prove Beauty Procedures Aren’t a Modern Invention

Nowadays, we can easily change our appearance with the help of cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery. And those who aren’t ready for such a serious step but want to sport plump lips and smooth skin in their photos simply use photo filters. We tend to think that cosmetic procedures appeared just a few decades ago, but in reality, they are hundreds and even thousands of years old.

At Bright Side, we decided to find out what our ancestors did to change their appearance and look beautiful.

They changed the shape of their eyebrows, even in ancient times.

© Cleopatra / Twentieth Century Fox and co-producers, CANAL+ ESPAŃA / CINEBISS / HIMENOPTERO / MOD PRODUCCIONES / Album / East News

Some beauty procedures of the past were quite simple. In Ancient Egypt, for example, they paid lots of attention to the eyebrows and dyed them with antimony.

And in Ancient Greece, eyebrows were painted with soot. The Greeks sometimes wore false eyebrows made from dyed goat hair. They glued them to the forehead with the help of plant sap.

Nose jobs were performed before our era.

The Indian surgeon, Sushruta, is considered one of the founding fathers of plastic surgery. Presumably, he lived between 600 BCE and 1000 BCE. Even then, Sushruta developed the techniques of nasal reconstruction.

However, a nose job was performed not for the sake of beauty but to help those who got injured. By the way, contemporary rhinoplasty is based on some techniques developed by Sushruta.

In Ancient China, they knew how to repair a harelip.

They learned to perform harelip (also known as cleft lip) repair surgery as far back as in ancient China. Even the word “harelip” was first used then. It’s interesting that a poet with a cleft lip lived at those times. He felt uncomfortable about his appearance, and later his lip deformity was successfully operated on.

They performed upper eyelid surgery as far back as 2,000 years ago.

Back in the first century CE, scientist Aulus Cornelius Celsus described a kind of plastic surgery that was intended for people with relaxed upper eyelids. Today, this procedure is called blepharoplasty.

Many celebrities had this surgery. Actress Betty White, for example, had it in 1976. And George Clooney had it many years later.

Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection / East News, Touchstone Television / Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection / East News

Betty White

Plastic surgeons of the past used leeches.

In the nineteenth century, the development of plastic surgery continued. One of the famous surgeons of that time was Johann Friedrich Dieffenbach. He learned of the techniques of rhinoplasty that were practiced in India for thousands of years and focused on this type of plastic surgery.

Anesthesia and antibiotics were not invented yet, which means Dieffenbach had to use whatever resources were available at the time. For this reason, he used leeches to speed up the healing process.

False lashes came into fashion at the beginning of the last century.

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Seena Owen

In the early twentieth century, they came up with another way to enhance one’s appearance: with the help of eyelashes. In 1911, inventor Anna Taylor patented false eyelashes. Her invention included strip eyelashes that were supposed to be made of human hair.

False eyelashes attracted the public’s attention in 1916 when director D.W. Griffith insisted on actress Seena Owen wearing them during filming. After that, thick eyelashes became extremely popular.

In the twentieth century, surgeons performed different types of plastic surgery.

In 1911, Frederick Strange Kolle published his book on plastic surgery. And although the methods he described didn’t seem innovative at the time, there were many illustrations in the book. And thanks to them, we can now assess the skills of plastic surgeons of that time. They knew how to perform cosmetic eye and lips surgeries, as well as facelifts.

They began to do permanent makeup procedures more than 100 years ago.

In 1902, tattoo artist Sutherland MacDonald pioneered permanent makeup. He created the technique called “all-year-round delicate pink complexion” on the cheeks. In the 1920s, this procedure gained popularity.

Another tattoo artist, George Burchett, claimed that women were often given permanent makeup in beauty salons without even realizing it. They were only told that this was a complexion treatment that was performed with the help of vegetable dyes injected under the top layer of the skin.

Celebrities would get facelifts as early as the beginning of the last century. However, the results were dubious.

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Mary Pickford

Plastic surgery became popular among actors in the 1930s. Magazines even published articles about celebrities who had it. Silent film star Mary Pickford was among them. She became a victim of a failed early facelift that left her unable to smile.

The facelift technique was far from perfect at that time, often resulting in the “wind tunnel” look.

The celebrities of the past also changed the shape of their ears.

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Rudolph Valentino

Actor Rudolph Valentino, for example, underwent plastic surgery to change the shape of his ears.
Before the surgery, he couldn’t get any good parts because he was told his ears stuck out weird. But after the correction, he suddenly started getting multiple roles offered to him.

There were certain beauty secrets in Old Hollywood.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer / Collection Christophel / East News, Collection Christophel / Collection Christophel / East News

Many famous actresses of the 1950s used different tricks to improve their appearance. For example, the film studio made Elizabeth Taylor get her eyebrows reshaped. Later, this shape became her hallmark. And Rita Hayworth underwent an electrolysis treatment for a year to lift her hairline.

Marlene Dietrich, by the way, didn’t repeat Mary Pickford’s mistake and decided not to have a facelift with unpredictable results. Instead, she asked her stylists to pull pieces of her hair back to make her facial skin look smoother and tighter.

What do you think about plastic surgery? Would you want to change anything about your appearance? Tell us in the comments below.

Preview photo credit Metro Goldwyn Mayer / Collection Christophel / East News, Collection Christophel / Collection Christophel / East News
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