Terrifying 1917 Face Masks And Their 2014 Counterparts

"Sometimes made of animal flesh like veal..." And you thought sheet masks were scary.
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"Sometimes made of animal flesh like veal..." And you thought sheet masks were scary.

Korean sheet masks are all the rage right now--you know, the kind you typically feel the need to post on Instagram, accompanied by an overused Silence of the Lambs caption. That’s the one. But did you know that this Hannibal Lecter-looking beauty mask has been around since 1917?

hygiene of the face and cosmetic guide

From the 1917 Hygiene of the Face and Cosmetic Guide, by Richard W. Müller. 

Typically made of vulcanized rubber--and sometimes made of animal flesh like veal (!)--early 1900 face masks aimed to prevent "wrinkles, congestion, dryness, blackheads, greasy seborrhoea and general eruptions.” Sound familiar? Let's take a closer look at these 1917 masks, and their 2014 counterparts. 

The Entire Face Mask

Women in 1917 used... 

The perfect mask to put on before waking your partner up from a nap.

The perfect mask to put on before waking your partner up from a nap.

I used... A.C Care Bee's Sheet Mask, designed to deliver moisture and hydration to the skin while reducing redness and inflammation. Its active ingredients are bee venom and obtusa water, which target acne-prone skin.

ac care sheet mask

A.C Care Bee's Sheet Mask

The mask was cooling and soothing, but while my skin felt refreshed afterward, I'd need multiple treatments to see results.  

The Chin Mask

Women in 1917 used...

Also doubles as a faux beard.

Also doubles as a faux beard.

I used... Purederm Firming Lift Multi-Step V-Line Treatment, designed to help you achieve that perfect V-Line face shape, which is extremely popular in Korea. This one is a two-parter: you apply the firming ampoule (feels like body lotion) on your chin, and then apply the patch made of hydrogel on top.

Purederm Firming Lift Multi-step V-Line Treatment.

Purederm Firming Lift Multi-step V-Line Treatment.

The stuff of nightmares: Purederm Firming Life Multi-Step V-Line Treatment + A.C Care Bee's Sheet Mask. 

The stuff of nightmares: Purederm Firming Life Multi-Step V-Line Treatment + A.C Care Bee's Sheet Mask. 

The patch has two loops that go around your ears; the fit is very snug, forcing your double chin to temporarily recede back into your jaw where you hope it will stay. Despite the fact that it smelled like a used Band-Aid, I left it on for 30 minutes. The formula uses collagen and caviar extract for firming and lifting, as well as pumpkin and ginkgo extract to improve microcirculation and reduce swelling. 

Before & After 

Before V-line mask

Before V-line mask

After V-line mask

After V-line mask

Did it work? Inconclusive, but, again, these masks need more than one go for full results. My chin did feel tighter and extremely soft, though.

The Under-Eye Mask

Women in 1917 used... 

Note the bottom bit. Told you they used veal! 

Note the bottom bit. Told you they used veal! 

I used... The Face Shop Raspberry Collagen Eye Patch. Made with Himalayan raspberry roots and collagen, these gel patches improve elasticity, moisturize, and reduce fine lines. My under-eyes felt brighter and more refreshed, though the difference is definitely not discernible enough to be photographed. 

The Face Shop employee suggested to use this mask twice a week for at least four weeks for more noticeable effects.

Longing for the days of vulcanized rubber.

Longing for the days of vulcanized rubber.

This Is Me After Using All Of The Masks 

Sad that this entire article was makeup free.

Sad that this entire article was makeup free.

  • What are your favorite sheet masks?
  • Any beauty tips or curiosities from the 1900s you’d like to share?