Why were fake eyelashes invented? A look into the cosmetic accessory
Nowadays, false eyelashes tend to be part of lots of people’s glam routines, and even if you have never worn them before, you definitely have seen someone who has.
Dark, long and swooping, or wispier and more natural, beauty stores around the world are stocked with various types of false lashes which you can apply yourself with a swipe of glue and a steady hand.
But who invented false lashes? And how long have they been around? Let’s take a look into the history of the lash…
When were fake eyelashes invented?
Fake eyelashes were first patented in 1911 by a Canadian woman called Anna Taylor. The product was a strip of fabric implanted with small hairs, to look like eyelashes. Four years later, hairdresser Karl Nessler began selling lash services at his salon. He said that they were “a guard against the glare of electric lights.”
However, fake eyelashes were most likely invented as a beauty tool, given that throughout much of history (and to this current day) long eyelashes were seen as desirable. This was even the case back in Ancient Rome, when Pliny the Elder claimed that long eyelashes were a symbol of both youth, and chaste character.
A rise in popularity
In 1916, false lashes saw the start of their mainstream popularity when director D. W. Griffith decided that something was not “right” with the leading actress of his film Intolerance, Seena Owen.
Griffith got the film’s wigmaker to glue lashes made of human hair onto Owen’s eyelids. As you can expect, this did not end well, and fellow actress Lillian Gish later explained that poor Owen arrived on set one morning “with her eyes nearly swollen shut.”
“Fortunately, Mr. Griffith had already shot the important scenes,” Gish wrote in her memoir.
What are false eyelashes made from?
Eyelashes are normally made from synthetic fibres, human hair, or animal fur. The cheapest, and usually the most popular, option is synthetic, however these don’t tend to last as long.
Lashes have evolved a lot over the years (especially since the era of Seena Owen) and you can even get magnetic lashes now. These work by sandwiching your natural eyelashes between two fake lashes with magnetic strips. This means no more messy glue!
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