In the name of beauty and fashion, women will jump through some extreme hoops, and always have. Throughout history, the quest for beauty and status has taken on many different forms, ranging from corsets, teeth blackening (ohaguro), foot binding and rubbing arsenic on the face to achieve the kind of aristocratic pale complexion which meant you had never seen a day’s work outside in the sun. These days, it’s Brazilian waxes, eyebrow threading, ridiculous high heels and either fake tan or whitening. Let’s not even get started on the surgical procedures you can now undergo to become an idealized identikit Barbie! At the dentist recently, I was offered Botox or collagen lip filler. Well, if you’re getting stuff injected into your face already, why not?

Here we have 17 photos of early twentieth-century women being beautified by some terrifying machines, many of which look strikingly similar to what we might undergo today. Huh, they must be working then! The next time I’m having hot wax poured onto my crotch and ripped off, I will remember the brave sacrifices made by those who have gone before us…

▼Multi-tasking: shape your legs and your knitwear at the same time.




▼Want dimples? Create your own with this handy gadget!beauty4

▼Don’t hide behind a mask.


▼Industrial-strength hair drying. Seriously, I could use one of these.


▼Some vigorous vibration to those troublesome areas will solve a multitude of issues.


▼Like an iron medusa, the forerunner of the modern perm was not for the faint-hearted.





▼Itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot thingie.


▼Citrus facial. When perfect skin is more important to you than being able to breathe.


▼Everyone’s doing it, so it’s totes norm, right?


▼Doc, please vacuum clean the toxins and blemishes out of my face by any means possible.


▼Improve circulation to the face by reducing air pressure to the head. A new level of air head is born.


▼They called her the ice queen.


▼Finally, the most horrifying of them all…beauty17

Wow, those do look painful and unnatural. I believe the best beauty treatments ever invented are a good night’s sleep, an intense workout and eating your veggies. But I’d also submit to a spa escape with exfoliation, relaxation massage, mud wrap and mani-pedi. Just don’t attack me with machines, please. I have no desire to become a Barbie doll.