A Lash Into The Past Pt. I: Lash Extensions!

Arielle Davis, Owner and Founder of Luxe Lashes in RVA, shares a fun lesson in lash history!

History repeats itself.

Or it never stopped doing what it’s doing! While eyelash extensions seem like a more recent trend that just seems to keep getting hotter, they’ve actually been a while for quite some time. When it comes to eyelash history, there is more to it than meets the eye…

People have always gone to extremes for beauty. From plucking them out entirely to using a needle to thread extensions onto your eyelids, eyelashes may or may not win the prize for the most extreme beauty history. 

Let’s start with a reason to be SO thankful for the time you live in, beauty. Back in the 1400s, to showcase one’s hair was a promiscuous taboo, this included a woman’s eyebrows and lashes. Thus, women removed them entirely by plucking them out! (Hello, NO! I would have totally established my own beauty commune and happily lived in isolation with my hair extensions and lashes, thank you.) 

The goddesses of Ancient Rome used eyeliner to mask their age and prove their chastity (click here to learn more about how that rumor spread, beauty). But it wasn’t until the 19th century that eyelashes really adhered to measures of extremes! I know you’ve heard of threading your eyebrows, beauties. But in the 1800s, threading human hair onto “the extreme edges of the eyelid” was a thing. Here’s a more descriptive process I found from an article by Racked: 

An ordinary fine needle is threaded with a long hair, generally taken from the head of the person to be operated upon. The lower border of the eyelid is then thoroughly cleaned, and in order that the process may be as painless as possible rubbed with a solution of cocaine. The operator then by a few skilful touches runs his needle through the extreme edges of the eyelid between the epidermis and the lower border of the cartilage of the tragus. The needle passes in and out along the edge of the lid leaving its hair thread in loops of carefully graduated length.

Talk about if looks could kill. Again, no thank you!

As you can imagine, people looked for slightly less painful beauty measures and gluing human hair onto your eyelids became a welcomed option. In 1916, Hollywood director, D.W. Griffith demanded his heroine, actress Seena Owen, have lashes that brushed her cheeks! However, they used an adherent called “spirit gum,” the same glue they used to adhere false beards onto a man’s face. As you can imagine, Owen’s eyes were swollen shut after the production. 

Thank goodness the times of eyelash extension trial and error are behind us, beauty. At Luxe Lashes, we’ve got lash extensions down to an art. Click here to book your appointment today!

Caroline Kalentzos