In Hollywood, plastic surgery is as commonplace as The Paleo Diet or Twitter Fingers. There are a million different ways to tweak, chisel, or reconfigure one’s visage as desired thanks to a laundry list of procedures.
The possibilities are so limitless these days, it’s got us reminiscing about the golden age of celebrity. Even though they didn’t live under the high-definition magnifying glass of today, Old Hollywood starlets were no less vain—perhaps even more so—and thus had to get way more creative in the nip-and-tuck department.
From the up-and-coming ingénue looking to kick-start her career to the lauded actress hoping to freeze her face in time, here are a couple of ways O.G. Hollywood glamazons altered their famous faces.
THE HAIRLINE ELECTROLYSIS
Back in the heyday of Old Hollywood, hairlines (and white beauty ideals) had a lot of sway. In fact, Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Carmen Cansino, was of Spanish descent and decided to dye her hair red and get rid of her characteristically Latina lower hairline.
To reshape it, Hayworth underwent a year’s worth of electrolysis, which consisted of using a thin metal probe to “shock” the follicle and permanently remove the hair. In the end, her hairline was an inch higher and her new look, for better or for worse, helped launch her career.
Marilyn Monroe was also notorious for undergoing electrolysis, removing her widow’s peak to change her face shape. The less painful, modern day equivalent? Stars (the Kardashians in particular) are making their hairlines look more bold and precise by filling them in with eyeshadow.
THE SANS-MOLARS CHEEKBONE TRICK
Marlene Dietrich was famous for her cheekbones that could cut glass, but rumor has it they weren’t part of her born-with-it bone structure. According to folklore, the German-American beauty had her molars removed to emphasize the hollows of her cheeks. And you thought fillers sounded unpleasant…
THE CROYDON FACELIFT
In case you had your doubts, Dietrich had a very high threshold pain. In addition to her dentistry tactics, she was also a fan of the Croydon Facelift method, using both surgical tape and strategically twisted pieces of hair to pull the skin up around her face.
Do not try this at home. For one, the skin on your face is extremely delicate and you don’t want it too lose any of its precious elasticity. And then there’s the whole matter of putting weight on the hair and being abrasive with follicles, which can cause permanent hair loss.