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History of False Eyelashes

Fashion and beauty tends to come and go. Trends only last so long before they disappear, only to re-appear decades later, reimagined. For example, when it comes to long, luscious lashes it’s easy to recall images of the 1960s when everyone tried to emulate supermodel Twiggy’s famous peepers.  

But womankind’s obsession with lashes has existed far longer than the 1960s – since around 3000 BC if you want to get specific!  

Around that time, in ancient Egypt, women and men sought out tinted lashes and used kohl and ointments to do so. Women also used malachite (a rather toxic mineral) which they believed was also an aphrodisiac. In ancient Rome, long, thick, curly lashes were seen as the epitome of beauty and women used kohl and burnt cork to darken them. Pliny the Elder also declared that “eyelashes fell out from excessive sex and so it was especially important for women to keep their eyelashes long to prove their chastity”. A great excuse to maintain nice lashes! 1 

But women wanted more than just defined lashes, they continued to strive for fuller, thicker lashes. And as always, pain wasn’t going to stop them. In 1899, The Dundee Courier reported that Parisian women were having procedures that involved taking hair from their head and having it threaded with a needle through their eyelids! Ouch, ouch, ouch! 2 

The original “strip lash” was invented as early as 1870, made by wigmakers in England and glued to the upper eyelid. As straightforward as these lashes sound, they weren’t commonplace for the average woman. 3 

The most popular story surrounding falsies are attributed to Hollywood (naturally) and the infamous silver screen director, D.W. Griffith. Griffith was said to have wanted his silent film actresses to have gorgeous “fluttering” lashes and so, in 1916, he asked his wigmaker to glue false eyelashes onto his actresses with spirit gum. Like most beauty trends, these didn’t really become mainstream ’til around the 1930s. 

The 1960s were certainly an epic decade for falsies, but by the 1970s they’d faded out in favor of more natural beauty and then in the 80s were ignored in favor of a “let’s overdo everything but the lashes” look. That being said, falsies never went completely out of vogue and by the 1990s, a “retro bombshell” look was reignited in the form of Anna Nicole Smith and Pamela Anderson and their luscious peepers.5 

Today almost every woman on the Hollywood red carpet is wearing a pair, but everyday women (without makeup artists) still struggle to make those spidery lashes stick to their upper lash line. Which is perhaps why we’ve most recently gone through a fashion trend of semi-permanent lash extensions – where an expert glues lashes to your eyes that last for around three weeks. Which sounds like a positive dream compared to yesteryear, until you take onboard the ongoing cost and the wear and tear on your natural lashes. 

Unsurprisingly, a new eyelash trend has taken mainstream beauty by storm; One Two Cosmetics’ full lashes. These falsies were brought to us in the newest millennium, specifically the year 2014. A savvy woman working in real estate decided that beauty needed to be far more effortless. As a business woman constantly on the go, she didn’t have the convenience of spending half an hour in the mirror trying to get her fake lashes just right. Instead, she set her sights on lashes that could be clicked on with magnets. Since that product didn’t exist, she made them herself and then patented a miniature magnet to do just that.  

Thus, One Two Cosmetics was born into the history books. 

If you’ve yet to come across One Two Cosmetics’ full lashes, you’re in for a real treat. The idea is that each false lash is actually two lash pieces bearing little magnets – a top and a bottom – that effectively sandwich your natural top eyelashes in-between and click into place. They then just slide apart with a gentle flick of your thumb and forefinger.  

One Two Cosmetics offers two options: the new full coverage lash, which covers your entire top lash line, and the original half-lash, which covers the outer half of your natural lashes. 

Magnetic falsies are a little pricier than your standard one-use falsie but they’re 100% reusable for ongoing use. Surprisingly simple to use, they’re currently available in half or full lashes, as well as different effects – like natural, enhanced, bold, and ultra bold. 

So, what’s next for false eyelashes? Perhaps one day we’ll all be genetically engineered to be born with fabulous lashes!

Sources: 

  1. http://eyelashesinhistory.com/ancient_times_3.html 
  2. http://thequackdoctor.com/index.php/the-most-uncanny-look/ 
  3. http://www.cosmeticsandskin.com/cdc/false-eyelashes.php 
  4. http://www.marieclaire.com/beauty/news/a13574/the-history-of-women-and-their-eyelashes/ 
  5. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-history-of-fake-eyelashes-will-make-you-never-want-to-wear-them-2017-7/?r=AU&IR=T 

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