1. Ambergris (aka sperm whale intestinal goo): to stabilize perfumes and pharmaceuticals. Flickr: biodivlibrary / Creative Commons Flickr: alsis35 No one has seen whales excrete ambergris, but most scientists assume it's from their (ahem) back end. You'll never look at a bottle of Chanel No. 5 the same way. 2. X-Rays: to treat "superfluous hair." Flickr: therahim / Creative Commons While it may have gotten rid of unwanted hair, X-Ray hair-removal also led to dermatitis and other harmful side effects like cancerous growths. Nope. 3. Lead: for smoother and paler skin. Flickr: 60861613@N00 / Creative Commons Side effects include grey hair, dry skin, abdominal pain, and constipation. 4. Kohl (aka more lead): as eyeliner AFP / Getty Images KHALED DESOUKI Galena (the lead in kohl) was easily absorbed through thin ocular skin. Side effects of prolonged use would include: "irritability, insomnia and mental decrease." Sorry, Nefertiti.But don't worry about any eyeliners you have lying around. According to Allure, kohl as a mineral isn't FDA-approved because of the lead content, so when you see "kohl" on a beauty product, it just refers to the color. 5. Arsenic: to clear complexion and increase paleness. Flickr: digitalnc That transparent glow of death. Oh, sorry, I meant youth. Glow of youth. 6. Camel pee: to get shiny hair. Flickr: jerrold Move over, Garnier! Ancient Arabian women dipped their hair in camel urine for extra shiny locks. 7. Mercury: to cure blemishes. Flickr: jameslaing / Creative CommonsFlickr: joanet Easily absorbed through the skin, mercury can cause "birth defects, kidney and liver problems, fatigue" and, of course, death. 8. Deadly Nightshade (aka belladonna): to dilate pupils and brighten eyes. Hulton Archive / Getty Images The name "belladonna," which means "beautiful lady" comes from this dangerous beauty regimen. You may get Disney Princess Eyes, but you will also get visual impairment, sensitivity to light, and eventually death. 9. Radium: to cure wrinkles. Flickr: mr_physics / Creative Commons Well, you won't get wrinkles after you die young from radium poisoning. Some young women, called "Radium Girls," who worked with glow-in-the-dark radium, even painted it on their teeth and finger nails. 10. Lard: to hold elaborate 18th century updos in place. For weeks. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Columbia Pictures / Via tooyoungtoreign.tumblr.com "My head is too itchy. Fetch my scratching stick!"The lard used to keep enormous hairdos in place also lead to lice infestations (hence the scratching sticks). Some women even slept with cages around their heads to keep mice from nesting in it. 11. Crocodile poop: to keep looking fresh. Flickr: sittinginthekitchensink / Creative Commons Ancient Greeks and Romans used croc poop to whiten complexions and prevent wrinkles. Because mud baths don't seem gross enough. 12. Cyanide: to dye hair black. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Paramount Pictures / Via fallenfay-l-h.tumblr.com "Use a mixture of celeste water... with a solution of yellow cyanide. (Take great care in using this preparation; the cyanide is a terrible poison." Thanks for the warning, guys. 13. Cocaine: to ease the pain of beauty procedures. Flickr: dklimke / Creative Commons Before eyelash glue, lash and brow extensions were attached by needle and thread. Hence, the cocaine. 14. Mouse skin: as fake eyebrows. Ralph Earl / Via metmuseum.org With lead makeup causing facial hair loss, women resorted to attaching false eyebrows made of mouse fur to their faces. As a satirical poet wrote in 1718: "On little things, as sages write, Depends our human joy or sorrow; If we don't catch a mouse to-night, Alas! no eyebrows for to-morrow." 15. Paraffin: to make hair grow. Flickr: the_justified_sinner / Creative Commons But: "you must be very careful afterwards not to go near a fire or light of any kind." Clearly. 16. Rat poison: to remove unwanted hair Flickr: boston_public_library / Creative Commons Koremlu, a 1930s depilatory cream, contained thallium, the toxic element in rat poison. 17. Urine: to freshen breath and whiten teeth. Flickr: bstorage / Creative Commons The Romans gargled with urine mouthwash. But not just any urine: they imported pee from Portugal because they thought it was stronger. Even the wife of Emperor Lucius Verus (pictured above) looks pretty grossed out. 18. Dimple machine: to do exactly what it says. blog.modernmechanix.com One of many face-shaping machines. She does not look happy. 19. Orange juice: to brighten and clear eyes. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF nick.com / Via college-life-crisis.tumblr.com According to 1858's The Arts of Beauty, squeezing orange juice into the eyes makes them more brilliant. Yes, "the operation is a little painful for a moment, but there is no doubt that it does cleanse the eye." When you feel the burn, you know it's working. 20. Charcoal: to freshen breath. Flickr: internetarchivebookimages Gross. And if you have extra bad breath, the Polite Manual for Young Ladies (1847) even suggests you swallow it occasionally. 21. Sandpaper: to remove hair. Flickr: blakta2 In the wartime scarcity of the 1940s, women buffed away unwanted hair with sandpaper. Certainly makes you look twice at the pin-up girls of WWII. Of course, all of these make some more recent beauty fads seem less extreme. Flickr: darthdowney / Creative Commons Maybe. Share On facebook Share On facebook Share On vk Share On vk Share On pinterest Share On pinterest Share On lineapp Share On lineapp Share On twitter Share On twitter Share On email Share On email Share On sms Share On sms Share On whatsapp Share On whatsapp Share On more Share On more Share On tumblr Share On tumblr Share On link Share On link Share On copy Share On copy Omg It's Prime Day!