Old-Fashioned Beauty

Ancient Beauty: 5 Historic Beauty Products We Still Love Today

These centuries-old ingredients have found a home in modern beauty products.

By Layne Lynch February 25, 2016

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I’m in search of miracle products. Game-changing CC creams, age-rewinding night creams, wrinkle-reducing eye creams, cellulite-removing coffee scrubs—I've tried them all, and I know I’m not the only one on this exhaustive quest for the holy grail of beauty. 

For centuries, civilizations have applied cosmetics to enhance their physical appearance. Egyptians used essential oils to create natural perfumes. Japanese women employed crushed rice powder to imitate lily white skin. And as a ginger, I can appreciate that the British started using red hair dye as early as the 14th century.

But here's the truth: The best products on the market today are ones that have stood the test of time, passed on by generations of women from around the world. And while I'm unlikely to do as the Romans did and use sheep's blood to paint my nails, here are a handful of historic beauty ingredients I can still get behind.

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Therapeutic Skin Oil

Therapeutic skin oil features a blend of plant-based, Austrian ingredients and oils dating back as early as 1350 A.D. During the late Middle Ages, the oil was a go-to solution to treat wounds, much like our modern-day Vaseline. The soothing balm treats a host of irritations, including burns, bruises, scars, dry skin, acne and more.

The Vatican has even gone as far as blessing the popular oils. Check out Theresienöl's amazing line of therapeutic skin oils, lotions and creams, which was recently introduced into the United States.

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Image: Shutterstock

Essential Oils

Though they are one of the most of-the-moment, versatile products in the beauty industry today, essential oils have actually been around for hundreds of years. In fact, they were employed by the Egyptians for an assortment of herbal medicines and mummification practices. Today, you can use these very same oils, including cedarwood, myrrh and juniper oil, from a lineage of companies, but for the highest quality, trusted oils, check out Young Living.

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Kiehl's isn't just one of the most popular skincare lines in the country, it's also one of the oldest brands around. The company got its start as an apothecary in New York City’s East Village in 1851, selling a small collection of skincare products. In 1921, the ever-popular Musk Essence Oil—then known as 'Love Oil'—hit store shelves. It remains a bestseller to this day.

Dead Sea Salts

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Image: Shutterstock

Remember those strange mall carts in the '90s hawking dreadful Dead Sea salts? As much as we're convinced those were definitely a scam—after all, who pays $50 for a salt scrub?—those pesky vendors were actually onto something. Since the Biblical age, travelers have ventured to this one-of-a-kind inland sea for holistic and beauty remedies. Today, cosmetic companies employ those very same minerals in their body scrubs to inspire soft and nourished skin with a lasting, healthy glow. Check out Adovia’s sea salt scrub, or one of the countless other tried-and-true brands.

Olive Oil

The Ancient Greeks were obsessed with olive oil. Women lathered themselves in this versatile potion to promote clear complexions and deep moisturization. Today, brands have learned a thing or two from the Greeks. Companies like Olivella use high-quality virgin olive oil in their moisturizers to nourish skin and prevent premature aging.

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