History's Greatest Beauty Secrets

·3 min read
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned


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Beautywise, we’re living in the most abundant and diverse era in history—but that doesn’t mean we don’t have something to learn from the primping practices of our predecessors. Here,a comprehensive collection of the most evergreen pieces of wisdom ever gleaned about the art of looking and feeling good, from facialist-recommended creams to drugstore steals to the single most transformative makeup item money can buy

Cleopatra wore eyeshadow made of crushed lapis lazuli.

Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection - Getty Images
Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection - Getty Images

Why not try skincare powered by (anti-inflammatory, glow-boosting) pure gold?

Like your mother probably told you, you could use a little blush.

Photo credit: Fine Art - Getty Images
Photo credit: Fine Art - Getty Images

Diana Vreeland and Madame Virginie Gautreau, the model for John Singer Sargent’s iconic Madame X, even wore it on their ears.

Marilyn Monroe's signature gleam came from a layer of Vaseline.

Photo credit: Sunset Boulevard - Getty Images
Photo credit: Sunset Boulevard - Getty Images

These highlighters will also do the trick...

Beyoncé swears by inexpensive Aquaphor to lock in hydration.

Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images

These drugstore finds also feel like a steal...

... but some cult creams are worth every penny.

Major lashes are always a win (see Liza Minelli for proof).

Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images

Wave these magic wands for serious fringe benefits.

Marie Antoinette covered up complexion imperfections with faux beauty marks in the shape of stars, hearts, and moons.

Photo credit: Heritage Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Heritage Images - Getty Images

Perhaps you prefer a concealer?

Austria's Empress Sisi, known for her elaborate beauty rituals, slept in face masks made from raw meat and leather.

Photo credit: Jean-Francois DEROUBAIX - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jean-Francois DEROUBAIX - Getty Images

Modern sheet masks work (and smell) better.

When you need a facialist who can turn back time...

Photo credit: PeopleImages - Getty Images
Photo credit: PeopleImages - Getty Images

Consider these essential names for your beauty black book:

Tammy Fender, Palm Beach, Florida
Aida Bicaj, New York, NY
Shani Darden, Los Angeles, California
Joanna Czech, New York and Dallas, Texas

And when a facial just won't cut it...

Photo credit: CoffeeAndMilk - Getty Images
Photo credit: CoffeeAndMilk - Getty Images

These dermatologists and surgeons cater to the faces that give no secrets away.

Robert Anolik, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist, New York, NY
Macrene Alexiades, MD, PhD, Dermatology and Laser Surgery
Julius Few, MD, Plastic Surgeon, Chicago, IL
Andrew Jacono, MD, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, New York, NY

Dolly Parton owns 365 wigs, one for every day of the year.

Photo credit: Richard E. Aaron - Getty Images
Photo credit: Richard E. Aaron - Getty Images

Consider these hair beautifiers also worth the investment.

Liberace famously bathed in a $55,000 marble tub.

Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images

Indulging in these items will enhance even the simplest soak.

Napoleon Bonaparte went through 50 bottles of cologne every month.

Photo credit: DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI - Getty Images
Photo credit: DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI - Getty Images

Consider these a modern gentleman's scent essentials:

Elizabeth Arden distributed red lipstick to suffragettes in New York City in 1912 to wear as a symbol of strength and defiance.

Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images

The shade is still an instant confidence booster.

Betty Grable, who insured her legs for $1 million in 1943, used cold cream to keep them moisturized.

Photo credit: Hulton Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: Hulton Archive - Getty Images

Guarantee good-looking, gleaming gams with these body-beautifying indulgences.

Barbra Streisand has revealed that the only time she cut her famously long nails was to play Yentl, in 1983.

Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images

Keep your talons in tip-top-shape with these tried-and-true varnishes.

Joan Crawford reportedly splashed her face with ice water 40 times every morning.

Photo credit: Hulton Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: Hulton Archive - Getty Images

Extreme cold has been proven to de-puff the face and boost micro-circulation, enhancing glow.

Italian siren Sophia Loren's soft skin secret? Olive oil.

Photo credit: Donaldson Collection - Getty Images
Photo credit: Donaldson Collection - Getty Images

These facial oil formulations lock in moisture and keep skin supple.

Ancient Romans used a thin blade called a strigil to scrape away dead skin.

Photo credit: AskinTulayOver - Getty Images
Photo credit: AskinTulayOver - Getty Images

These exfoliators effectively sweep away dry skin and encourage cell turn over.

King Louis XIV employed a perfumer to create a new scent for every day of the year.

Photo credit: Heritage Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Heritage Images - Getty Images

Create your own perfume wardrobe with these must-smell scents.

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