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6 Strange Beauty Trends That Many Women Followed In The Past | by Yewande Adeleke | May, 2022

Some of these trends were beyond bizarre

A device for creating permed hair during the 1920s; Source: Vintage gal

TThroughout human history, unusual inventions have been created to make women prettier. Just as beauty standards have constantly evolved, there is a long list of incredibly strange trends that many women have followed, all for the sake of beauty.

Some of these weird beauty practices are quite shocking and it’s unbelievable that they were methods that people cherished. Many of the devices looked like torture instruments, rather than self-care products.

From freckle remover to blackened teeth and dimple makers, here are some strange beauty procedures that many women subjected themselves to:

A woman ironing her hair; source: Bored Panda
The hair ironing process; Source: Vintage Everyday

Unlike now that hair straighteners are popular, some women used flat iron to straighten their hair in the past. Although this practice was quite dangerous and was later abandoned post-1960, many women considered it to be an easy way out. All they had to do was put their heads close to an ironing board and someone would help them iron the hair bit by bit. Other times, they would spread their hair across any flat surface.

The women enjoyed the process, while risking burns or having scorched hair.

A freckle removing machine; Source: Bored Panda

Dr Matarasso, an Italian physician, developed a method for removing freckles in the 1930s. His method involved freezing and digging out the freckles. The process entailed freezing the freckled part with dry ice or carbon dioxide, then loosening and peeling the pigment from the face.

It was a painful process, particularly because of the cold stings experienced while freezing the face.

Source: Weird Universe
The dimple maker was designed to build dimples where non existed or to enlarge small ones: Source: Weird Universe

Mrs Evangeline Isabella Gilbert invented the dimple machine in 1936. In a patent she filed for her product, it was classified as a face shaping device.

The dimple machine was a weird-looking machine that was simply worn over the cheeks to create dimples. Mrs Evangeline claimed that the consistent use of the dimple machine could result in a fine set of dimples. From this product alone, she made over 12000 dollars.

The dimple maker usually came with the following instructions:

“Wear dimplers five minutes at a time, two or three times a day, while dressing, resting, reading or writing. Look into the mirror and laugh. There will be a semblance of a line where you should always place the dimplers until your dimples are made.”

A woman using the breast enhancer; Source: Messy Nessy

According to the Messy Nessy website, the reason for using this device was to stimulate blood circulation in the user’s breasts after applying cold water.

There are speculations that this product was also used to wash the breasts while toughening them and with the hope that it would preserve the due proportion of their shape.

A woman using the perm machine; Source: Green Lemon

The perm machine otherwise known as the permanent wave machine, was invented by Charles Nessler in 1906. It was used to curl hair in the early decades of the 20th century.

The machine used chemical processing and heated rods to create curls that would last. In using water, heat and chemicals to curl hair, the perm machine recreated the look of a naturally curly or wavy hair. Although this worked well for the women, the rollers were so heavy and hot. Sometimes, it would even burn a woman’s scalp to the point of hair loss.

More improvements were made and a chandelier-like apparatus was included to reduce the chances of burning.

A woman with blackened teeth; Source: Cvlt Nation

While white teeth is what the world considers fashionable, some women in Japan preferred to have their teeth pitch black.

Teeth blackening is an ancient custom practised by some women in Japan. It is also common in some other Asian countries. Around 200AD, dyeing one’s teeth black was trendy. It was a ritual that persisted till the 17th century.

Teeth blackening also known as “Ohaguro”, was considered healthy and a sign of maturity. Other people did it because they saw it as a status symbol of the aristocratic class.

While blackening their teeth, the women use a liquid called Kanemizu. This solution instantly turns it black. It is a strange custom and many strangers have viewed it as a bad form of mouth hygiene.