The Odd Beauty Secrets of History’s Most Beautiful Women

Sophie Loren once said “beauty is how you feel, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical,” but many would beg to differ. While many of history’s most beautiful women were born with their good looks, it took years of work and unconventional beauty practices to help accentuate their features. Unfortunately, they’re not as glamorous as one would imagine. Let’s take a look at the practices used by some of the most attractive women throughout history. 

1. Empress Elisabeth


Empress Elisabeth of Austria was called the most beautiful woman on earth during the 19th century, and she gained a reputation for her perfect skin and beautiful hair that went down to her feet. What many people did not know was what it took for her to look that way. Her skin care routine included rubbing crushed strawberries over her skin, bathing in warm olive oil, and sleeping with a face mask lined with cuts of raw veal. When it comes to haircare, she spent 3 hours a day detangling her hair. When she combed it, it would get so heavy that it would give her terrible headaches. 

2. Cleopatra

Queen Cleopatra was one of the most popular Egyptian rulers of all time and her rise to power and relationships were only shadowed by how beautiful she was. The thing is that she had quite the beauty regime. She used lipstick made from crushed beetles, powdered crocodile dung on her face and it was also rumored that she bathed in sour donkey milk. They believed that the milk would reduce the appearance of wrinkles and scientists claim that there is some truth to the technique. The lactose in the milk turns into lactic acid which helps to make the surface layer of skin peel off. 

3. Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti’s name means “the beautiful one has come” and it was certainly true. She was so attractive that when a statue was carved of her face, it caused an international frenzy, and it may have been due to her strict beauty routine. Although her tomb was never found, those of her contemporaries were and they gave much insight as to what products women of their social class used. Nefertiti was completely hairless, by choice, wearing a wig atop her head instead of growing her hair. Het makeup, much of which was toxic, included dark lead ore galena to paint a characteristic kohl and lipstick containing the toxic substance bromine mannite. She may not have known it at the time, but she was slowly killing herself with her makeup. 

4. Marie Antoinette

French Queen Marie Antoinette may not have eaten a lot of cake but what she did do was use unconventional materials to maintain her gorgeous looks. Like Empress Elisabeth mentioned earlier, she went to sleep with a face mask, but Antoinette’s was made with a mixture of lemon, powdered milk, cognac, and eggs. When she woke up, she would wash her face using a cleaner made of pigeons. Back then, pigeon concoctions were flying off the shelves. Marie’s favorite, “eau cosmetique de pigeon” was made with eight stewed pigeons. After getting dressed, she would trace her veins with a blue pencil, to create the illusion of translucency. 

5. Helen of Troy

There were many things said about Helen of Troy, specifically her beauty, the most popular of which was that she had “the face that launched a thousand ships”. According to the Iliad, Helen had quite the beauty process to help maintain her good looks. According to the story, she had her attendants prepare a bathtub full of vinegar after which she would spend several hours wading around in it. The smell may not have been pleasant, but if she looked good enough for rulers to fight over her, who are we to judge how she preserved her beauty?

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