5 of the Deadliest Things We’ve Ever Done for Beauty (PHOTOS)

lipsAs women we are all more than familiar with the phrase "pain is beauty." We may roll our eyes at the unfair sentiment, but we've all put on a pair of high heels and we know exactly what it means. Like it or not, when it comes to being beautiful, we've all at one time or another done something that makes us feel less than totally comfortable. It starts early -- with bras. After getting used to that not-great feeling, everything else is a cake-walk (on very high and pinching heels).

But there have been some beauty and fashion trends throughout history that go past being simply uncomfortable. These trends and techniques weren't just uncomfortable, they were downright dangerous. Heck, in some cases, they were even deadly. GASP! I know, right? While I'm willing to take just a little bit of "ouch" for glamour, I shan't offer up my life to it.

There's no doubt about it. Life has become easier as time has marched on. We know a lot more now about chemicals. We know what we can and cannot put in our bodies. Plus, our standards of beauty have changed and, for the most part, become less intense. Well that's not entirely true -- they've become intense in a whole other way (please see Brazilian blowouts and hair relaxing). Let's look at 5 of the deadliest things we've done to look fabulous throughout time! HISTORY! It's the best.

What's the most painful thing you've done for beauty?


Image via Christine Roth/Flickr

  • Big Hair


    Image via Sherry's Rose Cottage/Flickr


    The infamous beheaded French queen Marie Antoinette ushered in an age of hair so tall, it was hard to get in and out of rooms. It was bolstered with wire and horse hair padding. It also caused massive neck trauma due to its weight and was known to catch on fire. This is why she was beheaded. For crimes against hair. JK, JK.

  • Corsets, Old & New!


    Image via Boston Public Library/Flickr

    Death to the corset! Long live the corset! As long as there have been women, there have been variations on this old-fashioned torture device designed to make us look a certain way in our clothes. Prolonged use of the old-fashioned ones could cause serious organ damage. Even now with Spanx, there's talk of health risks.

  • Foot Binding


    Image via plassen/Flickr


    In China, foot binding, which wasn't abolished completely until the early 20th century, involved breaking the bones in a small girl's foot by literally bending her foot in half in order to achieve 'golden lotuses,' the three-inch ideal foot length that was considered the height of fashion. Not so fashionable? The stench of the rotting flesh that often kicked in.

  • Lead Face Powder


    Image via Cliff1066/Flickr

    In Elizabethan England, ladies achieved milky white complexions by using a powder called ceruse. This foul stuff was a combination of vinegar and deadly, deadly lead. A fun time was had by all. Until they died. From being lead poisoned.

  • Red, Red Lips ... OF DEATH


    Image via Chelsea Danielle/Flickr

    And speaking of lead, the threat of deadly beauty trends isn't over. Many, many popular brands of your favorite red lipstick have been found to contain lead! Still! To this day! It won't kill you immediately and people argue about the levels, but even if we found out it was highly dangerous, you'd have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. And you probably would.

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