Terrible Beauty Ingredients Throughout History

Ah, the things women go through to be beautiful… sometimes could kill them. Since the ancient Egyptians, we’ve concocted miracle potions to improve one’s complexion with compounds that later proved to be highly toxic, like lead, arsenic, mercury, and radium.

Did you ever put a highlighter on your face and go, “Man, I wish my skin glowed. Also I want some face tumours”? Then go back to the early 1900s and get some Radior! In 1917, the London-based company Radior created a series of cosmetics that contained radium, meaning you could buy an actual face powder called “Flesh” full of radium in the hellish dystopia that London apparently was in the 1900s. Other brands, such as Tho-Radia (a French company started in 1933 that made things such as lipstick, skin creams, and toothpaste containing thorium chloride and radium bromide) and Artes (also started in 1933, creators of a skin cream made with “radium gas”) made claims that their products would help “assist blood circulation” and “stimulate cellular vitality”, along with “brightening” complexions.

Oh, but there’s more. The rundown at The Toast has to make you wonder which beauty product we’re using today that will turn out to be a very bad idea when the next generation of research is in.


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