Over the years I have had clients consistently asking me ‘Who invented eyelash extensions?’ or ‘Where did they come from?’ Seeing as this is my first blog, it’s probably the perfect topic to write about, so here it goes.
The trend was set in 1916, when director D.W.Griffith was making a film called ‘Intolerance’ with leading actress Seena Owen, Griffith wanted her to have ‘eyelashes that brushed her cheeks, made her eyes appear bigger and remarkable’. So he did just that, he had a local wig maker make the first false eyelashes out of human hair woven by hand with fine gauze, and voilaaa eyelash extensions made it to the big screen.
Obviously over the year’s eyelash extensions have come a long way, but for Hollywood back in the day beauty was exciting and eyelash extensions were the new trend.
But Hollywood was only following a trick that had been known for centuries.
Don’t read this paragraph if you have a weak stomach! Most gruesome story is the technique of a Mrs Pomery who at her beauty establishment in Bond Street, London, removed hairs from the heads of her clients and sewed them onto their eyelids. This late nineteenth century remedy for sparse eyelashes definitely shows a commitment to beauty! Pain is beauty right, maybe that’s a little to far!
Max Factor got false eyelashes onto shop shelves first, they were made from human hair, gauze and gummed to the eyelid. Expensive, fiddly and with a short shelf life of a couple of hours the use of these accessories were initially limited to Hollywood film stars who wowed the crowd with their expressive eyes and graceful lash fluttering.
The real innovation that established false eyelashes as an everyday accessory came in 1923 when Karl Nessler, of permanent waving fame, patented a new machine for making false eyelashes. He introduced his “Nesto Lashes” which were cheaper, lasted longer and gave a more natural effect.
Interestingly they were also advertised as vital tools in “saving eyes from dust and light”
By the 1930s false eyelashes were in reasonably common usage and came in a variety of lengths indeed their purpose was to increase the length of a ladies natural lash rather than thicken them.
In the 60’s false eyelashes where the fashion, made with human hair or artificial material, used in clusters of lashes or individual, they would glue along the lash line onto the skin of the eyelid.
However eyelash extensions of today are far more durable in recent years, giving a natural to dramatic look, or whatever is desired. A classic set of lashes lasts anywhere from 2-6 weeks before in need of infills and if done correctly does not damage any natural eyelashes/ follicles and eyes. They say a girl will do anything for fashion, they were truly right!