To remove Superfluous Hair (1857)

“This is very difficult… Madame Elisi Voiart, in her ‘Encyclopedie des Dames,’ recommends a few drops of dulcified spirit of salt, (that is, muriatic acid distilled with rectified spirits of wine,) to be applied with a camel hair pencil.”

Receipts for the Million, 1857

(muriatic acid = hydrochloric acid)


Long and Black Hair (1658)

Take a green Lizard, and cutting off the Head and Tail, boyl it in common Oyl, and anoynt your Head with it.

Natural Magick: How to adorn Women, and make them Beautiful by John Baptista Porta, 1658

Do not do this.

A Depilatory (1100s)

A Dog Hunting a Stag; A Man Killed by Hanging and A Woman Laying

A Dog Hunting a Stag; A Man Killed by Hanging and A Woman Laying in a Coffin; Unknown; Trier (probably), Germany; third quarter of 15th century; Pen and black ink and colored washes on paper; Leaf: 28.7 x 20.6 cm (11 5/16 x 8 1/8 in.); Ms. Ludwig XV 1, fol. 11

Place three ounces of [quicklime] in a potter’s vase and cook it in the manner of a porridge. Then take one ounce of orpiment and cook it again, and test it with a feather to see if it is sufficiently cooked. Take care, however, that it is not cooked too much and that it not stay too long on the skin, because it causes intense heat.

The Trotula, edited and translated by Monica H. Green

This 12th century depilatory would certainly remove your hair… and your health as well, since orpiment is sulfide of arsenic! You might end up in a coffin like the woman in the illustration.