Much of modern fashion and style has a long and interesting history. Makeup, hair care, and beauty enhancements go back centuries and have been a part of human society far longer than most people think. The history of eyelash extensions is especially interesting, and dates back further than most assume.
History of Eyelash Extensions: The 1800s
The idea of lengthening one’s eyelashes as a way of enhancing looks is not a new one. While not yet having developed a technique to do so at the time, many books and 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 encourage longer growth. Other treatment methods said to enhance growth included the use of pomade and washing the eyelashes with a mixture of walnut leaves and water. In 1882 it was reported in the press that residents of Paris had started sewing hair into their eyelids to create fake eyelashes. This painful precursor to modern eyelash extensions was also reported in 1899 in the Scottish press.
History of Eyelash Extensions: The 20th Century
In 1902 famous hair stylish and inventor Karl Nessler patented a method in the United Kingdom to weave artificial eyelashes and eyebrows and by 1903 was selling artificial eyelashes in his salon in London. In the United States the patent for false eyelashes was performed by Canadian Anna Taylor in 1911. However, like many things it would be popular culture that lead to more widespread use of false eyelash extensions. In 1916 director D.W. Griffith was working on his movie Intolerance and wanted actress Seena Owen to have long eyelashes and to have her eyes to stand out. He made use of false eyelashes that were human hair woven through a fine gauze material.
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. The style in the 1960s was a brash and bold one with a touch of overdone to the overall style at the time.
History of Eyelash Extensions: The 21st Century
By the 21st century more advanced eyelash extension methods came into use. Unlike the artificial eyelashes of the past modern eyelash extensions are far more precise. Said to have been developed in either Japan or Korea in the early 2000s (based off of older techniques) these methods achieved widespread use by 2004. Becoming favored by celebrities and famous movies stars eyelash extensions have only increased in popularity. Modern eyelash extensions are composed of single hairs attached to your existing eyelashes with a medical grade adhesive. These eyelash extensions come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and materials. Materials include human hair, synthetic silk, polyester, and Siberian mink fur. Modern lashes are lightweight, comfortable, and far superior to the older methods you’ve seen in the past.
As you can see eyelash extensions have an interesting history. It is one of ever improving techniques. From the earlier methods using very primitive design, to the more effective but still somewhat fake looking lashes of the 1960s, to the lightweight and stylish eyelashes of the 21st century. It is a very important part of the fashion industry and one that continues to evolve and grow in popularity.