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Fork facial

Madonna: fame, fashion, falls and now…forks?

Who knew that the humble contents of your kitchen drawer could actually be great assets to your beauty regime. Madonna certainly thinks so. In fact, we were recently contacted by The Guardian newspaper to comment on a story they were doing about using instruments which closely resemble forks as part of her facials. Yes, really!

As Jane told the paper, the reason the forking works is because it increases the blood flow to the skin as well as encouraging lymphatic drainage. In other words, she’s having a facial massage.

The article went on to look at other weird sounding homemade treatments that do actually have beauty professional equivalents, with spoons, toothbrushes, cling film and even Pepto-Bismol coming under Jane’s microscope.

Beauty treatments that make you go ‘euw!’

Throughout history, odd and sometimes dangerous, beauty treatments have been all the rage, sometimes with fatal results. Just as a bit of fun, here’s a selection of some of the weirder ones. NB Do not try this at home!

  • Get me a skin toner and make it snappy – Fresh crocodile dung was used in mud baths to help tone the skin of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
  • Not a roaring success – In Venice, the posh people used to put lion’s urine on their hair before sitting outside in the sun as it was thought to encourage their hair to go golden.
  • Eye for beauty – The Italians also used to put belladonna into their eyes to dilate the pupils. Belladonna is another name for deadly nightshade – the clue is in the title. Not only did the side-effects include sensitivity to light and visual distortion, it could also kill you.
  • Pale and interesting, not to mention dead – In complete contrast to today’s ambition to be as tanned as possible (or sometimes orange), in the old days, only the aristocracy could afford to stay out of the sun, so in general beauty terms, the paler you were, the more attractive you became. So in the 18th century, women used lead-based products on their faces to make them more beautiful. The trouble was, lead is a poison, and side-effects included dry skin, greying hair, constipation, severe abdominal pain and death. So the beautiful people eventually stopped using it… and bought arsenic instead. Arsenic certainly gave them the pale skin they wanted, but it achieved this by destroying red blood cells, with resulting side-effects of baldness and death.
  • Grimy gnashers – Meanwhile in Japan, until the late 19th century, married women stained their teeth black, which is thought to have been to show their maturity. Every few days they coated their teeth with a mixture of iron filings dissolved in vinegar with vegetable tanins. Ironically, this coating actually helped protect them from tooth and enamel decay, not that you’d have noticed… You may be surprised to learn that some women in Far Eastern countries still continue the practice today.

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