The Craziest Things People Have Done to Try and Stay Young

Just be glad your eye cream doesn't come with a side of crocodile dung.

Olden day photograph of lady looking at herself in the mirror wearing a Victorian gown
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fenugreek, a Mediterranean herb, is believed to be the sole ingredient of an ancient oil ritual that's, well, a lot of work.

Here's how it went down: Two sacks stuffed with fenugreek plants were required. These were then "broken up" and left in the sun to dry. After they dried, they were threshed, winnowed, and finally divided into two piles of seeds and pods. Equal amounts of these were combined and mixed with water and kneaded to form a "dough" which was then boiled in a pot of water. The water has to completely evaporate, and then the dough is cooled. It's then washed with river water until the water reveals no bitter taste. After drying in the sun (yes, AGAIN), the dough is ground on a millstone and steeped in water, forming a *soft * dough. (Are you still with us? You get a cookie.) Finally, the dough is placed in a pot and simmered over a fire until some oil begins to rise to the surface. That oil is then skimmed into a stone jar and rubbed all over your body to keep it lookin' GOOD and blemish-free. BOOM.

Ancient Egyptians

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In ancient times, Greeks and Romans mixed a special ingredient with mud to create a mask that would keep them looking youthful. The ingredient? Crocodile dung. In fact, full tubs were filled with the mixture to create a bath for spa-goers. We bet it smelled amazing.

Crocodile's eye and snout above water

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the 15th century, Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed of the Kingdom of Hungary apparently killed and mutilated hundreds of young women, and then bathed in their blood to retain her youth. Um...yeah. (FYI, blood as an anti-ager hasn't gone away. In fact, one MTV: True Life participant bathed in pig blood (opens in new tab) to keep from aging.)

Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed portrait

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Victorian women used mercury to make their mugs look straight up beautiful and youthful, since it got rid of acne and hit wrinkles and scars. It did this because it was corroding the surface of the skin. Hah, science.

Victorian woman

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What is happening in this world? Hasn't the years taught us something?! Now it's all about J.Lo loving placenta facials, Demi Moore talking about how great leeches are (opens in new tab), and Kim Kardashian espousing the benefits of vampire facial. How about we just stick with some natural oils and maybe a serum and call it a day? Please?

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You should also check out:

6 Bizarre Beauty Treatments You Never Knew Existed (opens in new tab)

How Getting Naked at a Korean Spa Made Me Stop Hating My Body (opens in new tab)

Beauty PSA: Extractions Don't Hurt *That* Much and You Should 100% Do Them (opens in new tab)

Samantha Leal
Senior Editor

Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for Latina.com, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.