Some trends are meant to be left behind.
Super harsh bronzer. Blush applied like racing stripes. Or even better: dated blue eyeshadow applied with the frostiest of lipsticks. Of course, now we know some of these looks can be updated and transformed into something fabulous. However, step back in time and you’ll see how far we’ve come in terms of beauty products.
For your makeup education (okay, and your reading pleasure), we’ve put together a list of some of the most uncomfortable, inconvenient, and just generally mediocre vintage beauty products. A quick look at these older trends and you may just want to go home and hug your entire lipstick collection…
1. Dimple Machine
Okay, we are willing to do a lot for the perfect smile. Teeth bleaching kits. Lip scrubs, balms, and lipsticks. Basically, we get that having a fresh, kissable pout is one of the best accessories anyone can have.
But our vintage sisters took smile enhancing to an extreme. Would you ever *willingly* press metal into your face to create some faux dimples? Back in 1936, an American woman by the name of Isabella Gilbert actually invented something do this. Face squeezing metal wiring was pressed into your cheeks using springs and two nobs. Sounds pretty comfortable!
If a Hannibal Lector-like grill isn’t your thing, let’s take a moment to think of all the beautiful, cute, and FUN lip products we now get to play with! Nowadays an edgy way to modify your smile is through dimple piercings. Much quicker and probably less painful.
2. Arsenic Complexion Wafer
A little more toxic. A little more dangerous…
Poisonous beauty bars are NOT the kind of thing we would currently visit our local beauty counter for. Long-term exposure to arsenic can cause cancer! However, back in the day, these were available through department store catalogues!
Touted as a miracle products, advertisements promised that arsenic complexion wafers would perfect any complexion. Goodbye acne, wrinkles, and wrinkles! We could see why would be this product would be hard to resist. But please, hook us up with ANY other infomercial product instead…
3. Vending Machine Spray Tan
The year is 1949. In Chicago, inventors are trying to convince women that vending machine spray tans are a good thing. Can you imagine? Picking up the spray nozzle on your coffee break for a quick spritz of color? While these tan machines were meant for installation at pools, tennis courts, and beaches, this just sounds like an incredible NO.
How would you spray your back? What if you missed a spot? A dime for a spray tan is hard to beat—but we still would wouldn’t give up the modern convenience of spray tan that actually looks great!
4. Carbon Dioxide Freckle Remover
One of the best things about living in the 21st century is how beauty standard have undergone a total overhaul. These days, we get to love what makes us unique.
But in the 1930’s, the beauty care industry was intent on banishing all freckles! After shielding the eyes, nose, and mouth, carbon dioxide would be applied directly to skin through various nozzles. Given that carbon dioxide poisoning is very serious, the thought of using toxic fumes for a facial treatment is hard to believe.
Happily, we now see freckles as a beautiful marker of individuality. And if someone does want to diminish their freckles, super safe laser treatment is available. Gentle fade creams are also a much less radical option. That said, at least this contraption didn’t make our post on the most deadly beauty products of all time…
5. Block Mascara
You probably have a favorite mascara. And odds are that you love nothing more than twisting the lid off a shiny new mascara tube! But if you were a woman living before the 1960s, mascara came in solid form.
Anytime you wanted to apply a fresh coat, you had to wet a tiny brush, drag it through a black bar of mascara, and THEN comb it through your lashes. Often women resorted to saliva to dampen the brush, making block mascara a less than convenient option. And forget about tossing your tube every three months for hygiene purposes! Intriguingly, however, cake mascara has now made a comeback as a go-to for certain women.
6. Leg Silque Liquid Stockings
These days, bare leg are widely accepted by professional dress codes. If not, nylons are available everywhere. Some women even love the look of pantyhose so much that it’s part of a larger fashion statement. 2016 even saw nylons return as a trend with stars like Ariana Grande sporting nude and flesh-toned hose.
But wait for it—earlier in the century, bare legs were a lot more complicated than they are now. Nylon material was actually invented in 1939 by DuPont. A synthetic alternative to silk, pantyhose made from nylon became the latest trend.
Once WWII took over, nylon material was needed to create things like parachutes and rope. So, liquid stockings became the next best thing. Women would actually use eye-liner or eyebrow pencil to draw on the look of sleek back seam. Now that’s commitment to fashion!