Outdated beauty advice that (thankfully) hasn’t stood the test of time

From meat masks to lash trimmings, ELLE.com explores the most outdated beauty advice of our time...

Then: Suntanned skin was a sign of health, high status, and style.

Coco Chanel was the poster child for high fashion-and high status. So when she came back from a cruise with a deep golden tan in the 1920s, it's no wonder her fans began adapting darker skin tones too. Sporting a bronzed glow sent the message that one was wealthy enough to afford a leisurely outdoor life and by the 1930s sunlight was touted as a cure for everything from acne to tuberculosis. The result: Tanning oil became a beauty staple through the 1980s and was applied as vigorously as SPF lotion is today.

Now: A little sun can perk up your complexion, but even a slight tan represents injury to your largest organ (your skin). SPF is a must-wear for every day-including during the winter and in the shade. Experts say the incidental sun exposure you get while driving in the car or walking to lunch is enough to meet your daily vitamin D quota, and recommend reapplying sunscreen every couple of hours. Photo: Retna

Then: Eyewash and lash trimmings would help play up your peepers.

A 1920 beauty article in McCall's Magazine advised readers to use a daily eyewash for "sparkling eyes" that are "great to look at." The author suggested that women create said eyewash by mixing "a half teaspoonful of powerful boracic acid and two or three drops of camphor" with hot water. To further beautify the eyes, it was recommended that lashes be trimmed every six months to promote their growth.

Now: Instead of enduring questionable eye mixtures and stubby lashes-trimming them won't make them grow in thicker!-try a saline solution for the occasional eye irritation and a lash conditioner for lengthier fringe. Photo: Imaxtree

Then: Sleeping with a meat-muslin mask would keep you young.

According to 1930's The Art of Feminine Beauty by Helena Rubinstein, beef could provide a fabulous facial: "Cut pieces of paper-a strip to cover the forehead, another for cheeks, chin, and a thin narrow strip for the nose. Give your pattern to the butcher, who will cut the meat accordingly. Leave openings around the eyes and lips. Pack the meat over your skin and secure it with a strip of muslin. Leave it on one to two hours or overnight if possible."

Now: There are other (less messy) ways to give your skin a dose of moisture and protein. From caviar facials to seaweed masks, you can keep your complexion looking its best with the help of an aesthetician or a jar-not the butcher-thanks to products like Kiehl's Panthenol Protein Moisturizing Face Cream. Photo: Retna

Then: Lashes could be darkened with Vaseline and coal dust.

Many women in the early twentieth century would combine petroleum jelly and coal dust to create a lash darkener. Others would use burnt cork or a mixture of frankincense, resin, and mastic.

Now: After observing his sister Mabel blend Vaseline and coal dust, Maybelline founder T.L. Williams got the idea to create mascara. In 1917, he introduced a cake mascara which was applied with a wet brush and by 1932 Maybelline mascara could be found in drugstores nationwide. 1958 saw the first tube mascara, which was released by Revlon and referred to as "Roll-On Mascara." Photo: Imaxtree


Then: Wearing underarm pads would prevent body odor for days.

In the 1940s, the 5-Day Pad advertised itself as "a starched white organdy frill on a delicate wrist" that would make "underarms dry as desert wind, odorless and sweet."

Now: Sorry, 5-Day Pad: Despite your claim that your antiperspirant was "really effective and the handiest method ever devised," technology has come a long way! Rather than wear awkward pads under your pits, now you can spread on a superthin layer of deodorant instead. Photo: Retna

Then: The thicker the cream, the better it hydrated.

Women used to slather their faces with rich creams and sleep on them overnight, thinking that this would lead to smoother skin and less wrinkles. A 1940s print ad for Bonne Bell's Plus 30 Cream boasted that "overnight your skin can absorb the active hormones in Plus 30 Cream. The result? A fresher, younger look-in only a few wonderful 'story book' days."

Now: More doesn't necessarily mean you'll get maximum hydration: Heavy creams can create a barrier on the surface of your face and keep your skin from absorbing moisture. And formulas that contain synthetic ingredients can actually trap dead cells and leave your complexion looking dull. Instead, try a lightweight serum-or look for a cream that contains all-natural ingredients like June Jacobs Brightening Moisturizer. Photo: Retna

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