The History of Eyelash Extensions

Time for a little history lesson, because every lash lover should know from where her trusty lash extensions came. The Parisians used to create false lashes by “sewing” hair into the eyelid without anesthetics—ouch! And strip lashes dashed through Europe in the late 19th century, but it wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that eyelash extensions really “stole the scene.”

In 1916, director D.W. Griffith envisioned lashes so long they “brush the cheeks” and eyes so bright they “shine larger than life.” So, he outfitted his leading lady, Seena Owen with the first documented set of eyelash extensions, captured on the silver screen in Griffith’s film,Intolerance. Griffith contracted a local wig maker, who wove strands of human hair through fine gauze, and then attached the eyelash strips to Owen’s eyes. Lashes have journeyed quite the distance since their 1916 debut, and enjoyed many incarnations along the way.

1930s Fringe

The 1930s was a time when makeup was bold and daring, a way for a woman to express her unique personality and pizazz. During this era, eyelash extensions enjoyed a surge of popularity. Salons applied strip lashes or individual lashes to the clients’ natural lashes, but eyelash extensions weren’t multipurpose back then. Shades were limited and difficult to match, and extensions only lengthened eyelashes. As we drifted into the 1940s—with more women entering the workforce—and the 1950s—when domesticity reached its peak—beauty trends tended toward the more natural, and eyelashes fell out of favor and into the exclusive reach of movie stars and celebrities.

1960s Falsie Craze

False eyelashes became all the rage in the 1960s. New materials and manufacturing methods made eyelash extensions affordable for all. You had the expensive falsies—made from mink, sable, seal and human hair! And the cheaper varieties—made from synthetic materials like plastic. Some were two-toned, some were tweed and all were often doubled up into two strip sets. It seems there was no such thing as too big or gaudy in the sixties!

The Twiggy look personifies lash extensions of the sixties. Waif-like model Twiggy wore two strips of lashes on both her top and bottom lids to create her glam signature look. This is a look that never goes out of style, as it seems each season there’s a celeb or a fashion figure walking down that catwalk sporting the Twiggy look. You can put together your own Twiggy look with Top Model Short, Medium and Long strip lashes.

2014 and Beyond

Lashes have become even more popular and affordable, venturing away from “trend” and into necessity. Synthetic, silk, mink, human hair—take your pick of material and type. Glad Lash has you covered for all your lash extension needs. We can do the big, bold strips for a night on the town… elegant, individual eyelash extensions for a glamorous evening out…or a natural set of flare-cluster lashes for every day wear, because you deserve full, long, natural lashes on all occasions!

Want to display the history of lashes? Try it with our “Life in Lashes” full-color high gloss poster!

Glad Lash

Lashing out since 1981, Glad Lash brings over 30 years experience to the beauty industry. The Eyelash Extensions Blog is our contribution to the advancement of professional skills and industry standards. Here you will find salon business articles, training resources, beauty tips and general health and wellness articles.

Disclaimer! Opinions expressed on the Glad Lash Blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Glad Lash Inc. Content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before making decisions that could affect your business or clients.

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