5 Fun Facts about Eyelashes Across the Centuries

Fun Facts about Eyelashes across the Centuries

You flirt with them. A sidelong glance is made dramatic by your eyelashes. A wink is a wink but emphasized by eyelashes, it conveys much more. Simply, women have always understood the value of their lashes. They’ve darkened them; they tried to lengthen them; they’ve curled them. Here’s a look at eyelashes across the century.

The Medieval Church found them too Alluring. In the 1400s, eyelashes were thought to be too erotic. The well-bred, pious women of the time not only plucked out their eyebrows – they plucked their eyelashes. That had to hurt! It also left their eyes unprotected from wind and dirt which made the whole idea even more painful.

Ancient Rome thought the Opposite. Women went to great lengths to show off their eyelashes. Much like today they tried to trick the eyes of others into believing that their lashes were longer and thicker by lining their eyes. Why? Because Pliny the Elder thought that excessive sex would make eyelashes fall out – so, women were showing their chastity with their long lashes.

A Cup of Tea showed off the Problem. False eyelashes were in use – usually made with natural hair attached to silk or gauze, but the glues weren’t state-of-the-art. In 1879, The Royal Cornwall Gazette reported that while a lady was “toying” with her tea, a gentleman noted that one eyelash was floating in the tea unnoticed by the woman. It went on to say, “the left side of her face, by contrast with the right looked rather as it were slowly recovering from a small explosion of gunpowder”.

Is Beauty Worth the Pain? This one may make your eyes water just thinking about it. By the late 19th Century, long eyelashes were on the most wanted list. So wanted, that in 1899 the Dundee Courier published a story to detail a procedure that was in use to make eyelashes longer and thicker. A long hair was taken from the head and threaded in a needle. Then, the hair was literally sewed on the eyelid’s edge between the epidermis and the lower border of cartilage of the tragus leaving loops of hair that were carefully graduated in length to mimic eyelashes. Cocaine was rubbed on the eyelash to help control the pain, but it’s doubtful that it relieved all or much of the pain. This one sounds more like torture than beauty.

The Modern False Eyelash was born on the Big Screen. In 1916, D.W. Griffith decided that Seena Owen an actress in his film Intolerance should have eyelashes so long they brushed her cheeks. He employed a wigmaker to make and glue false eyelashes on the actress. Soon they were the rage among actresses who said that they even lessened the glare from the lights. More likely, vanity was winning over the need for shading their eyes.

Today false eyelashes have gotten even easier – with no needles and better glues. You can buy them at the drugstore or at a makeup counter, but you still may worry about getting them applied correctly so they don’t end up in your tea or look like a caterpillar is napping on your eyelids. An option more and more women are turning to is eyelash extensions. They’re carefree so you can swim and shower. There’s no need for mascara – you have beautiful eyelashes all night and all day long. The extensions are applied to the wearer’s eyelashes and come in a style for every eye and every occasion – you pick the length and the style from cute and flirty to fabulously glamorous. Get ready. Make an appointment and practice your wink!