These days images of an overly-altered Heidi Montag or Britney Spears with her unfortunate extensions are scary reminders of the drastic (and not always pretty) lengths celebrities will go to achieve their own and society's ideals of beauty. This has been going on for decades in Hollywood, even the most stunning of actresses from the '30s, '40s and '50s were implementing their own bizarro beauty techniques to hide personal insecurities.
Did you know that Rita Hayworth felt so uncomfortable about her low hairline she had it raised, then dyed her black hair that famous shade of red? Elsewhere, both Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe shaved their faces to get rid of unwanted peach fuzz. And Marlene Dietrich apparently had her upper molars removed to create shadows underneath her cheekbones, which looked even more dramatic with the contrast of the black and white film of the time. Admittedly, I've made my share of questionable beauty decisions: I nearly burned my face off with a shall-not-be-mentioned face exfoliant, all in the name of luminous skin. This subsequently seemed counter-productive since I walked around with my hand over my face for the next five days.
Herewith, a round-up of the some of the more alarming beauty tricks favored by the women of Hollywood's Golden Age:
UPDATE: A previous version of this post stated incorrectly that Marilyn Monroe grew hair on her face due to a side-effect from a hormonal cream.