2.1 A brief history of lash enhancement

As the famous words by Winston Churchill go, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it!” And trust us, you’ll soon learn that there are some lash trends from yesteryear that you will not want to repeat! In all seriousness, though, every expert of their respective industry should have a firm understanding of where their craft originated, and the progression of trends and styles through the ages. So let’s take a closer look!

Lash like an Egyptian

The earliest reported instances of lash manipulation date back to ancient Egypt, approximately 3500 B.C. Ancient Egyptians used a mixture of donkey faeces and kohl (ground lead or antimony sulphide, which is actually now considered poisonous to humans!) to darken their lashes, which also served as protection for their eyes from the harsh desert sun. They also brushed their lashes to achieve a more fanned appearance. Interestingly, men were just as likely to partake in lash enhancement as Egyptian women.

In ancient Rome, long, thick and curled lashes were also popular, but for a much different reason than sun protection. Roman philosopher and author, Pliney the Elder, famously once wrote that eyelashes fell out from sexual excess. In conservative ancient Rome, this meant that long, visible eyelashes were a sign of purity and righteousness. Much like the ancient Egyptians, the Romans used kohl and burnt cork to darken the appearance of their eyelashes, and combed them to achieve a more fanned look.

A focus on the forehead

Throughout the Medieval period and the Renaissance, the focus shifted from accentuated, styled lashes and onto the forehead. The forehead was considered to be the most prominent and beautiful aspect of a woman’s face, and so to emphasise this feature, women would pluck out their eyelashes and eyebrows. In addition to this, according to the Catholic Church (a prominent influence in Medieval times) it was a sin to exhibit hair in public, and as such women chose to remove all visible body hair, including their eyelashes and brows. A little later, during the Elizabethan era, this trend was phased out and replaced by a desire to mimic the Queen’s reddish-golden hair, including her lashes. Considering the dying of lashes was not generally socially accepted, women did this in the privacy of their own homes with whatever red coloured substance they thought might work. As a result, many women inadvertently took on the former trend of removing their lashes (and brows) when the make-do dye burnt away their hair entirely!

An industry is born

While the desire for lush, long lashes began to build once again throughout the 1800s, it was early-1900s Hollywood that can be said to have been the birthplace of modern eyelash extension. While shooting a film with screen siren, Seena Owen, in 1916, prominent Hollywood producer, D.W. Griffith, asked his wigmaker to create lash extensions for his leading lady. The experiment was a hit with fellow film makers and fans alike, and by the 1940’s, enhanced eyelashes were a common theme in movies. The beauty industry of the time quickly took notice and began experimenting with various lash extension application techniques. By the late 1960s, the fake eyelash industry was well and truly booming, with large beauty labels such as Max Factor, Revlon and Elizabeth Arden investing millions in its promotion and progression. By the 2000s, the industry had developed into the modern-day eyelash extension service industry we now know and love. Throughout the course of the past two decades, the importance of finding a skilled (and educated!) lash technician has become well known, and as such there is no better time to be undertaking the best lash mastery course on the market!