There's a new page in the ever-growing book of bizarre beauty procedures. Joining the list of treatments like extreme butt implants and Japan's "bagel heads" comes gum tattooing. More specifically, tattooing your gums black to achieve a more beautiful smile.
While it may sound extreme to most, women in the country of Senegal have been doing it for years. The West African country inherited the custom from their ancestors and believe it will help women attract men. We're now learning about this unique beautification method thanks to a video that has surfaced following a young woman named Marième as she undergoes the procedure.
Although she's brave at first, Mariéme soon succumbs to the pain of the needles jabbing into her gums as they inject a black powder made of burnt oil and shea butter, only making it through four of the seven recommended layers of pigmentation.
"It hurts. I would never recommend this torture to anyone," she explains after the tattoo is finished.
Needless to say, the video is hard to watch. But the woman performing the tattoo explains its benefits:
Less and less women are doing this, but some are still interested. Especially young women who are looking for a lover. Listen to me, tattooed gums and a silver tooth: that's what's attractive. A woman should not have red gums. Her gums need to be dark. A nice smile attracts men. A nice smile with white teeth.
If you need a bit more convincing, the procedure is also said to boost dental health and eliminate bad breath, all of which could be yours for 1 Euro (that's less than $1.50) and the nerve to make it through a torture session.
No thanks, we'll just stick to Crest Whitestrips and Altoids.
Furthermore, we honestly can't see much of a difference between Marième's pre-tattooed gums and the darkened result. And for the record, the women in this film are already beautiful -- no black gums required.
Check out the video above and learn about other bizarre beauty treatments in the slideshow below.