The first patent for false lashes was obtained in 1911 by Canadian inventor, Anna Taylor. Her invention included glue-on lashes, designed in a crescent-shaped strip of fabric implanted with tiny human hairs.
American film director D.W. Griffith was falsely credited with the invention, after he ordered a wigmaker to use hair to apply heavy false eyelashes to actress Seena Owen’s eyes during the making of the 1916 film “Intolerance”.
But although glue-on false lashes were invented in the early 20th Century, the desire for them had existed way before this patent.
So, Where Did False Lashes Actually Come From?
The desire for long lashes has been a fashion trend for more time than people think.
The Ancient Egyptians
According to Marie Claire, the Ancient Egyptians darkened their eyelashes with malachite and ointments to protect their eyes from the hot sun.
Years later, the Romans desired luminous lashes and used materials like burnt cork and coal to achieve the glamorous look. They also adopted lash enhancement practices after ancient philosopher Pliny the Elder asserted that short eyelashes were a sign of ageing. The Romans also believed that long lashes were a symbol of virginity and morality.
The popularity of false lashes fluctuated throughout time. During the middle ages, having too much hair was viewed as erotic. This belief led to women pulling out their lashes and eyebrows in an attempt to show off more of their foreheads. Since eyelashes function as defences against dust and debris, this was a dangerous trend. Thanks to the fashion industry, it went out of style pretty fast.
The 19th Century
The first cosmetic mascara was invented in the mid-1800s by Queen Victoria's perfumer Eugene Rimmel. The creation caught on quickly, becoming a staple of fashion in the 1800s and evolved the history of eyelash extensions.
In 1882, Parisian women sewed hairs on their eyelids for enhancement. A few years later in 1899, women began transplanting their hair onto their eyelids. Around the same time, there were even reports of women getting eyelashes implanted with needles. Thankfully, by the 20th century, makeup artists began experimenting even more.
The 20th Century
It wasn't until 1911 when Anna Taylor, (as mentioned at the beginning), invented and patented glue-on strip false lashes using human hair.
In the 1950s, plastic hairs were used as an alternative to human hair in the glue-on lashes, which helped fake lashes to become even more popular.
As time went on, several developments were made, and better-modified eyelash extensions were produced.
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