Much of modern fashion and style has a long and interesting history. Women have been experimenting with different ways to express their own beauty through body enhancements and modifications since the beginning. The idea of lengthening eyelashes as a way of enhancing looks is not a new one. From ancient Egypt to present day, the demand for lash enhancements has evolved, culminating in the introduction of today’s lash extensions.
THE EGYPTIAN ERA
The history of enhanced eyelashes dates back as early as 2500 B.C. during the time of the Egyptians, where ointments and brushes were used to achieve fluttery fanned out lash looks. Eye liners and tinting treatments with kohl and natural dyes were quite popular for both men and women.
Many publications on fashion in the late 1800s advised on how to lengthen your eyelashes. Methods advised at the time included cutting the ends off of your eyelashes to give the illusion of fulness, rubbing pomade on the lash line, or applying a solution of water and walnut leaves to stimulate growth. Toward the end of the century the painful precursor to eyelash extensions as we know them today got their humble beginnings when women across Europe created eyelash implants by sewing hair directly into their eyelids.
THE 20TH CENTURY
As fascination with eyelashes continued, Mascara was introduced in the early 1900s by a man named Eugène Rimmel. The formula was made up of coal dust and the newly invented petroleum jelly. While this created a darker volume look, it did little to achieve length. Hair stylist Karl Nessler patented a method in the UK in 1902 to weave artificial eyelashes and eyebrows and by 1903 was selling them from his London salon. Not long after, Polish beauty guru and businessman Maksymilian Faktorowicz jumped on this trend to become an influential lash inventor and founder of Max Factor Cosmetics.
Canadian born Anna Taylor soon followed when she registered the first US patent for artificial lashes in 1911. In 1916 eyelash extensions landed in Hollywood when D.W Griffith, a film producer inadvertently became an eyelash pioneer during movie shoots demanding his leading actresses accentuate their lashes for a more leading lady look. Wig makers began creating prototypes of lash strips using human hair on a fine gauze that were precursors to what we now see today. As techniques improved false eyelashes became very popular with the general public in the 1930s and again in the 1960s. The original fringe base false eyelash gave way to more advanced designs such as flares or cluster lashes which were used to thicken specific areas of the eyelash.