18. Teeth dyed black
The custom of dyeing one’s teeth black was so popular in Japan that there was even a specific term for it: ohaguro. That is, at least, until it was outlawed in 1870. The practice arose because dark black objects were regarded as beautiful, so, as a fashion statement, teeth naturally followed. And it even had health benefits, counteracting tooth decay in the same way as modern sealants.
17. Eyelash removal
In medieval times, the Catholic Church deemed that women daring to show off their head hair in public were committing a sin. And while that edict didn’t extend to eyelashes and eyebrows, many women of the period removed both of those features anyway. Apparently, a hair-free face gave more prominence to a woman’s forehead, regarded back then as her greatest asset. We can’t imagine the pain involved in the whole removal process, though…
16. Extremely long fingernails
Fingernails have been the focus of many a fashion trend over the centuries, but arguably the fiercest-looking fad of them all came from ancient China. Specifically, “nail guards” were a status symbol for those in society’s highest echelons. Reaching up to six inches, they showed that the pampered wearer had never needed to perform any hard manual work. And the vicious-looking talons virtually ensured that she wasn’t going to buck that trend any time soon.