Ye Olde Beauty

Before BB cream and lip balm, women in olden times used some, uh, creative products in their beauty routines, including squashed bugs, lead powder, crocodile dung, and arsenic. The cosmetics industry has come a long way, but there are some ingredients from way-back-when that’ve stood the test of time and are still available to slather all over yourself:


Donkey’s Milk: 
Cleopatra bathed in ass’ milk in an attempt to reduce wrinkles, and it’s contained in creams sold across Europe today. Rich in vitamin C and fatty acids, it fades age spots and is ultra-moisturizing.

Try: Fat Belly Farm 
Donkey Milk Soap, $5,

The Limonia acidissima tree has been a beauty staple in Burma for more than 1,000 years—when its powdered bark is mixed with water into a paste, it acts as a non-toxic, homemade sunblock.

Try: Siam Herbarium Thanaka Powder, from $6.50

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Since the 10th century, 
the bathhouses of Northern Africa have covered customers in this clay. In face-mask form, it removes dead skin, hydrates, and cleanses; the clay also does double-duty as a shampoo.

Try: Mountain Rose Herbs Rhassoul Clay, $10 

Rice Bran: 
Japanese Geishas have used rice bran flour since 
the 1500s to soften and clean skin. And rice-bran oil is packed with Vitamin E and antioxidants that moisturize and prevent sun damage.

Try: Nature’s 
Gate Rice Bran Moisturizer, $14.99

By: Savita Iyer 

This story originally appeared in BUST Magazine. Subscribe today! 

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