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When one looks back on beauty trends over the centuries it is difficult not to smile,

or wince. Adding a bit of perspective also makes it easy to see how fortunate we are to have access to state of the art, scientifically proven, and professionally applied body sculpting and beauty treatments such as those offered by Glam RN.

During the Victorian era, the fashionable women wanted a thin waist, red lips and cheeks, and unblemished deathly pale skin. The later was viewed as a sign of wealth since a pale woman was not a woman who labored in the sun. To acquire the ideal look associated with beauty, some would regularly visit arsenic springs baths to acquire the prized pale skin. Another option, purchase low dose arsenic wafers at your local pharmacy. Lotions, face paints, and powders were also quite popular. In the Roman empire a face paste manufactured with lead and vinegar was quite popular. In Elizabethan England, a similar product was known as Venetian ceruse, or the spirits of Saturn. Archaeologists have found that another ingredient was radium.

During this period there were an array of recipes for the making of gloss at home that could be used to transform lips into a ruby red masterpiece. For those with money, a lip paint compound could be purchased at the pharmacy. In the early to mid 19th century, a primary ingredient in these products was carmine, a product made from the crushing of cochineal beetles. On occasion, when mixed with ammonia, the products could produce allergic reactions that were toxic.

For men and women during the 18th century, wigs were a fashion necessity. For the rich and famous, especially women, tall and artistically sculpted wigs were all the rage, and a wig maker could become as famous as a painter that catered to wealthy clients. The base of the most extravagant wigs, such as those wore my Marie Antoinette, was a wood frame. The hair, often human, was glued to the frame and given its shape with extensive use of an adhesive made from tallow and lard. As this often attracted rats to the wigs when stored (rats nest) wig cages were a popular accessory.

Greek and Roman society were proponents of warm mud baths and mud face masks to maintain a healthy glow. The ingredients, however, were, at least by modern standards, quite disgusting. Aside from carefully selected earth and clay, crocodile feces were a primary ingredient. Radium, lead, and arsenic were also often added to the mix.

It is natural to look upon the past as the “good old days.” However, when it comes to beauty treatments and body sculpting, that is not the case. There is no better time than the present.

A service of Jim Hinckley’s America