Tried and True Beauty Methods from Centuries Past

Tried and True beauty methods from centuries past

It seems like we’re constantly on the lookout for new and innovative ingredients and formulas that will give us stronger, shinier locks and smoother, firmer skin. Yet many cultures have been relying on the same tried and true beauty methods for centuries, and for good reason—they simply work. Here is a look at some tried and true beauty methods from centuries past that you might consider incorporating into your beauty routine.

Olive Oil

Olive oil has an extensive history for its use in skin care. Ancient Egyptians used it with beeswax as a moisturizer, cleanser, and antibacterial agent. Minoans are also known to have used it as a cleanser, base for fragrances, and in tanning. If your skin isn’t too sensitive to handle olive oil, you can apply extra virgin olive oil topically to remove makeup, lock in moisture, and for some, even clear acne. It also contains strong antioxidants, giving it additional anti aging benefits.

Milk Baths

Cleopatra is, by legend, famous for her ancient beauty methods, one of which was a milk bath. Milk baths have been a go-to skin care method for millennia, with many famous women such as Poppaea Sabina (Emperor Nero’s second wife) and Pauline Bonaparte (Napoleon’s sister) resorting to the milk bath as well. In Cleopatra’s case, the milk in her baths was supplied by donkeys, but you can enjoy your very own “milk bath” at home with skin care products that contain alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), which milk boasts in the form of lactic acid. AHA helps slough off dead skin cells, regenerate healthy skin cells, and stimulate the skin.


Legend has it that Cleopatra used to add honey to her milk baths to help keep her skin smooth and firm. It has also historically been used with milk to create a lotion, with oil to make hair shinier, and with ground orange seeds to help keep skin blemish-free. Honey is a natural humectant, meaning it traps moisture and seals it into the skin. It’s also antibacterial and contains many antioxidants that contribute to more youthful looking skin. You can make a powerful facial mask with honey, involving skin-friendly ingredients such as cinnamon, coconut oil, baking soda, yogurt, avocado, or lemon juice.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Natural beauty lovers know that apple cider vinegar has a wide variety of uses for the skin, including as a toner, acne treatment, antiseptic treatment, and solution for oily skin. Apple cider vinegar is high in malic acid, which, like lactic acid, is a skin regenerative AHA. It has a history that likely begins in ancient Roman times, when many believe it was used as a toner.


Dead sea salt in particular holds a prominent place in the history of beauty and skin care. It is believed that the ancient Egyptians used salt in their skin creams and soaps, just as we do today. Sea salt is shown to offer a myriad of beauty benefits, such as improving skin hydration, reducing inflammation, clearing acne, and improving the appearance of wrinkles. It also make for a great exfoliant.


Guanine is a compound that, oddly enough, is found in nightingale feces and turned into a powder for use on the skin. Japanese geishas in Kabuki theatre have actually used it for centuries to cleanse and rejuvenate skin, and to give it the trademark porcelain complexion. Today, you can treat yourself to a “bird poop” facial, or you can luckily find it as a key ingredient in several beauty care products, with the guanine being sourced instead from fish scales. The guanine will give you brighter skin and restore damage due to sun exposure and aging. If you’re intrigued by this odd beauty ingredient, this article details more of the odder beauty methods from centuries past.

Silk Pillowcases

This beauty method falls more within the confines of the last century, as Hollywood starlets of decades past are famously known for resting their heads on silk pillowcases in order to help preserve their youthful looking skin. A silk pillowcase is friendlier to skin and hair, as it creates less friction than pillowcases made from cotton and other materials, giving you an extra boost of anti-wrinkle protection. Silk is also entirely natural, meaning it’s hypoallergenic and contains amino acids that are compatible with human skin.

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    Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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