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The History of False Eyelashes

September 13, 2012

If there’s one thing pretty much every woman wishes she had, it’s the doe-eyed, sultry look that long, thick eyelashes can bring to the table. Thick eyelashes can make any pair of eyes look larger, more expressive, and more alluring. However, not everyone is lucky enough to have been born with the perfect set of dream lashes.

That’s where false eyelashes come in. Like wigs, hair extensions, and other varieties of supplementary hair accessories, false eyelashes offer you the opportunity to get the look you’ve always dreamed of. They’re a fun and glamorous way to change your look either subtly or dramatically as well. Let’s take a closer look at where false eyelashes come from as beauty items and examine what they can add to your routine.

The Skinny Behind False Eyelashes

False eyelashes as we know them today first hit the scene way back in 1916 when renowned film director D.W. Griffith was making the movie Intolerance. He wanted screen siren Seena Owen to have a specific look that brought out her eyes and really made them sparkle. He and a studio wigmaker came up with the idea of false eyelashes – real human hair interwoven with gauze that was then applied to the lash area – and a phenomenon was born.

Over the years, false eyelashes have continued to evolve in order to cover many different bases. While older styles of false eyelashes came attached to a fringe base, as we moved into the 40’s, 50’s, and beyond we began to see new innovations hit the scene. Synthetic lashes emerged, as did innovative styles of false eyelash application that allowed for the application of only a few carefully placed hairs.

False eyelashes are still very much used in Hollywood, on runways, and for photography in order to lend a wide-eyed, glamorous look to a given set of eyes. However, many modern ladies adore their false lashes for everyday wear as well and enjoy taking full advantage of the many styles available.

Today’s Modern False Eyelashes

The false eyelashes of today are far more flexible and natural-looking than the ones that were popular in Old Hollywood or even – more recently – in the 60’s when Twiggy was the big “it girl”. They come in a wide variety of different options, so if you’re new to false eyelashes, it’s important to understand what each brings to the table.

  • Thick, long, showy lashes are best saved for special occasions and dramatic evenings out. Think of them in the same way you would think of “evening make-up”. During the day, color and additions like extra lashes show up more prominently, making it easy to look overdone if more understated looks aren’t chosen.
  • Sparse, thin eyelashes were made for everyday wear, so if you’re looking for a lash look you can take the office or rock on the weekends with little to no make-up, these are your best bet.
  • Individual lashes were first developed in Japan and are made to be accent pieces, so these are also appropriate for day wear (although you can add them to your evening look as well).

Choose False Lashes That Suit Your Existing Lashes

As is the case with hair extensions or any other type of false hair designed to blend in with existing hair, false eyelashes need to be chosen at least partially with your existing lashes in mind in order to avoid a fake, campy, overdone look. Start by asking yourself some specific questions about what your lashes are like:

  • Are your lashes straight or curly?
  • Are they thick or sparse?
  • Are they dark or very light?
  • How about length? Are they longer or very short?
  • Do your lashes always point downward or do they curl upward?

While you may be able to get away with choosing lashes that are dramatically different from your natural ones for evening looks or make-up looks that involve a lot of dark shadow or a smoky eye, keeping things realistic is important for a daytime look.

More Tips on How to Make Falsies Look Natural

Opt for false eyelashes that have clear strips, as opposed to dark ones whenever you can. Again, this is essential for the creation of daytime or office looks or in the event you want to wear your false eyelashes without much additional eye make-up. Attach the strips as close to the lash line as possible to help facilitate a natural look, especially when your lashes are seen from above.

Also consider applying at least minimal mascara over both your false lashes and your real ones at the same time as a finishing touch. This can help bind the two types of lashes together and make for a more seamless look. Give it a try today and see just how natural and elegant today’s falsies can really be!