There were some pretty gross and weird things that our ancestors used to do in the name of beauty, and some of the beauty treatments of years gone by were downright dangerous too, but there are a lot of things that the ladies of the past knew that are still useful to know today. Whether they have been passed down through generations of your own family or they are tips we have learned from ancient Egypt, we shouldn’t dismiss beauty advice just because it’s old. Here are ten beauty tips that your ancestors would have known all about.
1. Bathing in Dead Sea salts
Bathing in the Dead Sea was favourite beauty treatment of the ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians, so there must have been something about the Dead Sea salts that made so many people trust in them. Modern scientists have now confirmed that there is such a high mineral content in the Dead Sea that is does indeed have major benefits for the health of your skin. Fortunately, you won’t need to travel to the Middle East to enjoy a Dead Seas Salt bath; just look online and you can buy packets of the salt to add to your bath at home.
The first mention of eggs being used as an ingredient in skin care treatments dated back thousands of years to the Chen Dynasty in China in 600 BC. While they may not have had mayonnaise readily available like we do, they still used egg whites to tighten the skin and they knew that the protein in eggs would moisturise and nourish their skin.
3. Rose water
We think of rosewater water today as being something more than a nice little luxury, but the benefits of rose water are far more wide reaching than we give it credit for. This is another beauty treatment that dates all the way back to ancient Egypt. Back then, it was used for tightening the pores, as an antiaging treatment, and as a cleanser.
4. Cold cream
Pharmacist Theron T. Pond may have been the one to patent his Pond’s Cold Cream in the United States in 1846, but the original cold cream was being used in the 2nd century. In those days, cold cream was made with animal fats, water and rose water and it was used in exactly the same way as we use it today.
5. Marie Antoinette’s age defying gloves
Marie Antoinette knew full well that, if anything was going to give away her age, then it would be her hands. She kept her hands soft and wrinkle free by wearing gloves at night that were lined with sweet almond oil, wax and rose water. Unfortunately, she was executed when she just 37 years old, so she never lived to see if her anti-ageing hand care treatment actually worked.
6. Milk baths
Cleopatra famously regularly took milk baths to care for her skin. While jumping into a tub filled with donkey milk may not seem too appealing today, it does have its merits and it would keep your skin soft and smooth. Milk contains lactic acid, which would exfoliate the skin and the protein in milk would nourish the skin. Today, you can buy soaps and bath products that are made with donkey milk; so, thankfully, there’s no need to go looking to see where you can buy several gallons of fresh donkey milk.
7. Ice water
This tip is from a few generations ago, rather than from the ancient times, but it is one that many people used to swear by. Splash your face with ice cold water twice a day and that will cleanse your skin, tighten up your pores and remove excess oil. It might be a bit old fashioned, but a lot of beauticians still recommend this treatment today.
Avocado skin treatments are nothing new either. Most people today do know that the healthy fats in avocados are great for the skin, but the ancient Aztec civilizations discovered that centuries ago. Today, you can use avocado oil to keep your skin looking healthy. It’s easily absorbed and it nourishes and moisturises skin without clogging up the pores.
9. Green tea
While we, in the west, are only just beginning to fully understand the power of green tea, the ladies of the east have known about its many health and beauty uses for centuries. We now know that it is the antioxidants in green tea that are responsible for its anti-ageing properties, and there is now research being done to discover that green tea can even reverse the signs of ageing.
10. Olive oil
Olive oil used to be amongst the top natural products used for beauty treatments, but today, store-bought products have replaced it in most people’s beauty kits. In ancient Greece, olive was used for hair care, skin care, as a cleanser, and as an antibacterial agent. All those different uses from a single bottle and it tastes great too. Life was so much simpler back then!