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History of False Eyelashes

August 29, 2013

False eyelashes are all around us today. Women across the world are using these false eyelashes to glamorize themselves and look really good. And with the magic clearly working – on men as well as on women themselves, who clearly want to have that extra bit of confidence about them anytime they head out, it is amply apparent that false eyelashes have pretty much become an integral part of women’s makeup or overall getup paraphernalia.

There is simply no escaping such false eyelashes today!

 

But how did things come about to such a state of affairs? Indeed how did the whole phenomenon of false eyelashes gather so much steam? These are the kind of points which this article will delve into…i.e. the history of false eyelashes.

 

Early Days

Early days of false eyelashes have been marked by the cinematic industry in a big way. While the actresses or stars of that era wanted to look good and overtly glamorized, the filmmakers themselves also wanted that these starlets had an extra bit of oomph and chutzpah about them, which they managed to accentuate with the help of these false eyelashes.

So when director D.W. Griffith in 1916 wanted his actress Seena Owen to have that extra bit of glamor about her, with eyelashes that literally brushed her cheeks, he got false eyelashes made which were then made by a local wig maker who took actual human hair, weaving them with fine gauze to make what were essentially the first false eyelashes as such known to mankind.

D.W. Griffith’s 1916 epic, Intolerance gave birth to false eyelashes, as seen on Seena Owen above (top right)

 

Once attached to Owen’s eyes, these false eyelashes gave her just the look which Griffith desired and thus were born the first real false eyelashes known to mankind.

Since then of course there hasn’t been any looking back whatsoever in anyway as far as false eyelashes are concerned.

 

Subsequent Usage

Post Intolerance it would be apt to ironically state that tolerance for false eyelashes remained on the fringes. While Hollywood in particular continued to patronize these false eyelashes, the acceptance as a whole was somewhat intermittent. So what was happening is that while in some of the films they were in fact featured, that too prominently, many other films and filmmakers simply chose to give them the miss.

The word fringe too in this context would be just too apt since the false eyelashes in this era were made of fringe, attached to thread and stuck with glue. Naturally, being made with fringe, the natural look was clearly missing. Not only that, they had an extremely short lifespan, very often no less than a few hours. Cost too was a major consideration; given the complex process in which they were made, they were invariably expensive, which pushed up costs in a big way, making them affordable only to the swish set.

Fringe false eyelashes – cumbersome, costly and unnatural

 

Eventually, for a very long time, there was little acceptance for false eyelashes as a whole. While the 1960s saw wider deployment of false eyelashes, eventually there was considerable decline and it was not until the 2000s that false eyelashes came to the fore again. This was largely as a result of vastly improved technology which allowed far more advanced false eyelashes to be produced. These were false eyelashes which looked as natural and real as possible.

Both Brigitte Bardot and Twiggy sported false eyelashes in the 1960s

 

Among such technologies, there is one developed in Japan called lash-by-lash technology which has been especially very well received. Herein the idea is to have each individual lash attached to an artificial or false one. Naturally, this gives a very real look unlike say the fringe false eyelashes which clearly do not look real at all.

 

The lash-by-lash technology offers false eyelashes which look really very real and natural

 

Additionally, there were many ancillary industries besides films alone which demanded these false eyelashes. A major instance would be the fashion industry. With the industry making great waves in recent times, the demand for false eyelashes has in turn skyrocketed.

 

False eyelashes have become central to the fashion and modeling industry, as seen in the case of Katy Perry above

 

At the same time, there are medical reasons which have prompted the demand for – and indeed the use of false eyelashes; when due to medical complications, natural eyelashes are lost or are minimal in nature, perhaps even naturally, the best way out is to opt for false eyelashes.

The lady above had minimal eyelashes; with false eyelashes, they seem vastly accentuated as can be noted in this before and after collage

 

The Use of Mascara

While the usage of false eyelashes has been delved into extensively over here, we cannot deny the widespread usage of mascara. In the context of false eyelashes, it has to be mentioned that mascara served the purpose of highlighting natural eyelashes to an extent wherein they seemed altogether heighted and elongated. So even without actually putting up false eyelashes, women could enjoy an appearance of eyelashes which seemed to extend out considerably.

 

This is a 1959 Maybelline print ad for its Spiral Brush which made applying Magic Mascara, truly magical!

 

Future of False Eyelashes

Any insights into the past in turn demand that one takes a close look at the future as well. So keeping that in mind, we forecast that demand for false eyelashes as a whole will increase incrementally in the times to come. In particular, we will see that demand for these false eyelashes will start to come in a big way from developing countries in Asia and Africa.

 

Asian countries such as China and India – whose women are showcased above, along with countries in Africa, would spearhead the demand for false eyelashes in the times to come

 

This is especially true thanks to widespread media and the Internet which brings fashion trends closer home than ever before; when individuals see these trends in other places, they are quick to latch on to them. Alongside, with economic growth taking place in a big way in these places, affordability too remains less and less of a concern!