Why were eyelash extensions made?

In 1916, while making his film Intolerance, director D. Griffith wanted actress Seena Owen to have eyelashes that would touch her cheeks, so that her eyes would shine brighter than life.

Why were eyelash extensions made?

In 1916, while making his film Intolerance, director D. Griffith wanted actress Seena Owen to have eyelashes that would touch her cheeks, so that her eyes would shine brighter than life. The false eyelashes, which were made from human hair, were specifically woven piece by piece by a local wig manufacturer. In essence, this obsession with longer eyelashes stems from the idea that eyelashes get shorter with age.

In ancient Rome, the author Pliny the Elder helped make long eyelashes even more enviable when he posited that they were related to being chaste. As a result, women strived to have the longest eyelashes possible. When you think about false eyelashes, what kind of look comes to mind? Is it the modern aesthetic of the bad guys that sexy celebrities love as much as influential people? Is the explosive 90s look inspired by Pamela Anderson recently renewed? Maybe it goes back even further: icons from the 50s with agitated lashes like Sophia Loren, or even flappers in the (original) Roaring '20s. As with most beauty inventions, the story of false eyelashes, including the reason false eyelashes were invented, is a legitimately crazy story with experimentation, pseudoscience and application methods strange enough to give even lovers of goose bumps most bitter beauty.

The road to our modern counterfeits may have been chaotic, but learning about it will make you even more grateful for the rows and rows of easy-to-use eyelashes that line the shelves of every pharmacy in the United States. Get ready: it's time to delve into the history of false eyelashes. While eyelashes perform some biological function by acting as an early warning system, if debris, dust or other foreign agents get too close to the important eyeball, their cultural meaning is purely aesthetic. While they're not inherently feminine (everyone knows people of all genders with long, wide eyelashes), they're considered a feminine trait, although it's not quite clear why.

Some experts theorize that it has to do with the relationship between youth and what society considers standards of female beauty, while others speculate that long, dark eyelashes enhance the whites of the eyes to become a kind of indicator of health. However, the most accepted idea today is that long eyelashes simply make the eyes appear larger, and in most cultures, large eyes are among the most important factors of “female beauty” in general. So it makes sense that the recorded use of false eyelashes dates back to the Roman Empire. Eyelash enhancements, such as rudimentary mascara and even curling tools, also have a long history in ancient and Ptolemaic Egypt, but it was a Roman philosopher (the first influencers, actually) who perpetuated the idea that eyelashes fall out with age and sexual promiscuity; all of a sudden, it became very Important: Romans should have the longest and most lush eyelashes possible thanks to botanical ingredients, kohl and even minerals.

Eyelash trends came and went over the years (in medieval times, it was fashionable to tear them all out along with your eyebrows to show your forehead, which was considered the sexiest part of the body long before BBL), especially with reports of the application of real eyelash extensions that appeared in late 19th century Paris: although its version requires needles to implant synthetic hair directly into the skin. Although that horrible stitching was being done in 1899, it wasn't long before a different interpretation of false eyelashes appeared, and they look much more like modern false eyelashes. The first patent for false eyelashes was issued in 1911 to a Canadian woman, but five years later, it was an American film director named D, W. Griffith, who was looking for a more dramatic and exotic look for his protagonist.

Although the false eyelashes made by the production's wig manufacturer were effective, since they were made of human hair and chewing gum, they were irritating and rough. I can't imagine why. Perhaps the most important change occurred when production materials were changed to plastic in the 1950s. Synthetic fibers, no different from today's most popular styles, were easy to replicate and mass-produce, which in turn made fake use more regular and widespread.

Nowadays, you can choose false eyelashes made of plastics and other synthetic materials, as well as real animal hair such as mink. They're considered essential to large-scale glamour for everyone from celebrities to teenagers on graduation night. Owen subsequently suffered severe allergic reactions, and the style became so popular that 20 million pairs of false eyelashes were sold annually in the 1930s. Eyelash extensions were invented and patented in 1911 by Anna Taylor.

She owned a beauty salon in New York. Taylor is credited with being the first person to apply false eyelashes commercially. The history of eyelash extensions is especially interesting and goes back further than most of us realize. However, over the years, the function of eyelash extensions has changed and they are now used for a variety of purposes, such as making the eyes look larger, fuller and more defined.

W. Griffith wanted her actress to have eyelashes that would touch her cheeks, she instructed her hairdresser to make false eyelashes for her heroine, Seena Owen. Asako (left) and Naoko (right) are certified eyelash stylists and the owners of Divine Lashes, a site for eyelash lovers to meet and learn more about eyelash extensions and lifts. At the end of the 19th century, several cosmetic specialists began offering implants for eyelash extensions.

The main reason for the invention of eyelash extensions was to enhance the beauty of the eyes and make them stand out. While the practice of artificially lengthening eyelashes began in the late 19th century, the first patent for an artificial eyelash was not obtained until 1911. According to the beauty magazine Marie Claire, humans played with their eyelashes and beautified them in ancient Egypt, although it wasn't until the late 19th century, people discovered that they could lengthen their eyelashes with human hair. While COVID affected the eyelash extensions industry like any other industry, it's not going to end soon because the eyes are now even more important, thanks to masks that cover the lips. Over the past decade, many eyelash extension manufacturers have appeared in China, Vietnam, Thailand, India and other Asian countries due to the expensive nature of Korean false eyelashes.

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Constance Kail
Constance Kail

Hardcore coffee guru. Certified zombie nerd. Food fanatic. Certified bacon practitioner. Infuriatingly humble coffee buff. Passionate music fanatic.