Unsavory Facts About Victorian England That Weren't In The History Books

When you think of Victorian England, your first thoughts probably drift to fancy palaces, stuffy outfits, and funny hairdos. That's the vibe we've always gotten from our favorite period films, anyway. But it turns out that beneath that beautiful facade, things were pretty grim for Victorian brits. See, things weren't as pristine as they appear in the history books. From toxic fog to disturbing medical practices, living in this time period was probably a nightmare for many average folks. If anyone tried these practices today, we'd be disgusted.

1. Toothpaste made of what?!

Toothpaste wasn't invented until later in the 1800s, so Victorian Brits had to improvise when it came to brushing their teeth. They used a homemade solution called "Dentifrices" instead. Some of these included ingredients like chalk and bleach, and one particularly popular solution was made of charcoal and honey — yuck!

2. That's poison, Mary

Can you imagine wearing dresses or papering your baby's nursery with arsenic-infused materials? We know now that arsenic is a dangerous poison, but back in the Victorian Era, it had many completely different uses. Men, for example, used it as a sexual stimulant, and women used it to prevent wrinkles. It was also a common ingredient in clothing and decor.

3. Tear catchers

Mourning was taken very seriously in Victorian England. Mourners would often wear (morbid) accessories such as bracelets and rings with their loved one's hair stuffed inside. Even more extreme, special bottles were used to collect tears. They weren't messing around! We wonder if they compared these tear vials to see how was "saddest"...

4. Raw meat facial

Raw meat: good for all purposes! Well, that's what Victorian Brits thought after reading a popular beauty column that advertised laying strips of raw beef on your face at night to improve your complexion. Needless to say, don't try this at home. We don't even want to think about the bacteria...or the smell of the rancid meat in the morning.