It’s Only Skin Deep: The Weirdest Beauty Tips From History

The bust of Nefertiti

If you spend a lot of time digging through the celebrity gossip, you will likely stumble upon some truly interesting celebrity beauty tips, too. Among the secrets keeping our favorite models, actors, and singers young and beautiful, we can find some that raise a few eyebrows, like Demi Moore’s use of leeches to detox and Scarlett Johansson’s face-cleansing secret that’s as simple as using apple cider vinegar to balance the pH of her skin. These are, in turn, nothing compared to some of the most interesting beauty secrets in history. Weird as they may sound, they likely worked – those practicing them are remembered as some of the most beautiful women ever.

Bathing in Donkey Milk

Donkey milk deserves to be called a superfood for its many health benefits – it has little to no fat, loads of nutrients, vitamins, and proteins, helping the intestinal flora to thrive and strengthening the immune system. There is no word on whether Cleopatra, the famous queen of Ancient Egypt, consumed it as part of her diet – but legends speak of her daily baths in donkey milk taken to preserve the beauty of her skin that used the “production” of a herd of 700 animals.

Other famous ladies in history also sworn by the benefits of donkey milk – it is said that Poppea, the wife of the infamous Roman empire Nero, and Pauline Bonaparte, the sister of the French emperor Napoleon, also used it to maintain the beauty and youth of their skins.

Countless Lives for One Woman’s Beauty

One of the most gruesome and horrifying beauty myths is tied to one of the most “productive” female serial killers in history: Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed. The number of her victims is unknown but rumor has it that the number is thought to be well above 650.

Apparently, Countess Báthory was obsessed with maintaining her youth, and this is said to have been the reason for the carnage she is responsible for. Legends say that she not only killed and mutilated her victims – mostly virgin girls – but also bathed in their blood to maintain her beauty. This is one beauty tip that nobody should follow today.


After a killer with a name and a face, let’s take a look at one that’s faceless: arsenic. We all know today that it is a poison – those using it as a cosmetic in the Victorian era were also aware of its negative health effects but – alas – one must suffer to be beautiful. Arsenic was used to even out complexion and whiten the skin – and if it was taken in a dosage too high, it whitened the skin permanently. It did have negative side effects (aside from the passing of the user, of course) like hair loss, fever, headache, and many others. And it came with a handful of withdrawal symptoms, too, like anxiety, constipation, vomiting, and the complexion to go haywire, encouraging the ladies to keep taking it in the long

Vivianne Sterling

Editorial Manager at Beautips. I love street style and I'm always in search of bits of inspiration around me. I also believe in home-made solutions for fitness, beauty tricks and healthy cooking.

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