These days, practically anywhere you look there’s a strange new beauty treatment. Like letting a bunch of tiny carp nibble away the dead skin on your feet. Or, urotherapy. American companies sell about 80 billion dollars worth of beauty products every year, so it might be tempting to think that this sort of weirdness is just a byproduct of the market being so huge.
Not so! Because it turns out the beauty industry has always had a weird side, as we’ll see in this gallery of strange beauty treatments from 1920 to 1940. Some of them are precursors to beauty treatments that are still around today. Others are more like one-offs that understandably never caught on. It just goes to show you beauty companies will try anything to make a buck.
1. Leg massaging weight loss machine
HAHAHAHAHA! People used to think you could lose weight by getting a massage. What a bunch of dummies. Oh wait.
2. Ice mask, by Max Factor
This one’s not THAT weird, because these days there are numerous products that cool down your face for a better complexion. Just be grateful Max Factor figured out how to do it without literally attaching ice cubes to your face.
Fun fact: 1930’s celebrities used these ice masks to treat hangovers!
3. The Beauty Micrometer
That’s right, ladies! Putting on makeup is as easy as strapping on this metal contraption that looks like it’s from one of the Saw movies!
4. Night time nose job harness
Hoo boy. I have several thoughts.
- SO MUCH NEGGING IN THIS AD!
- There’s no way that thing actually works.
- Apparently there was a time in America when a random man in Binghamton, New York who sold masks that deform your face and everyone was fine with it.
- This isn’t much different from the night mask my orthodontist made me wear, actually.
5. A device to give yourself dimples
Doesn’t she look thrilled?
6. CO2-powered freckle remover
What’s nice is they found another use for the medieval torture device they had lying around. #recycle
7. An enormous hair dryer
King Kong has one in his bathroom.
8. This is how people used to get perms.
And the best part is, by the time they’re done disconnecting you from the machine, you’re ready for another perm.
9. Rubber “beauty masks”
These are nice to have if you want to remove blemishes, and in case an impromptu S&M party breaks out.
10. Fruit masks
Here’s another one that stuck around ’til today. Definitely took them a while to get the hang of it, though.
11. Vacuum-powered face massager.
12. An anti-freckle cape/mask.
You know you’re committed to beauty when you’re willing to walk around looking like a polka-dotted ghost.
13. Beauty Mask, by Helena Rubinstein
It’s always nice when serial killers find each other and become friends.
14. Mountain air pressure simulator
High-altitude air pressure is great for your complexion. Hopefully the accompanying panic attack is too.
15. Madame Rowley’s Toilet Mask
And here I thought my ancestors never amounted to anything.