A Brief History of Eyelash Extensions

a blond woman with lash extensions in front of trees

a blond woman with lash extensions in front of trees

The history of eyelash extensions goes back a whole lot further than most people realize! It’s easy to think that lash extensions are a modern concept. After all, they’ve sure been trending on social media the past few years. But the truth is that lash extensions didn’t get their start on TikTok—the history of lash extensions goes back many centuries! Here’s a quick look at how they’ve developed over time.

Ancient Influencers

Long, luscious, fluttery eyelashes have been a symbol of beauty as far back as 3500 B.C. when the Egyptians would make their own brushes and ointments to add darkness and volume to their eyelashes. At this point in the history of eyelash extensions, the look was also practical, as darkening and extending the lashes offered protection from the sun’s beating rays.

Mascara Hits the Scene

Over the centuries, manicured eyelashes went in and out of fashion. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s when Eugene Rimmel, (Queen Victoria’s personal perfumer) used petroleum jelly and coal dust to invent the first crude version of mascara. This exciting invention sparked a trend that made long lashes highly desirable. 

The Dawn of the First Artificial Eyelashes

While it’s clear that eyelash fashion took centuries to evolve, it wasn’t until 1911 that the first artificial eyelashes were patented by Anna Taylor, a Canadian inventor. Here’s where the history of eyelash extensions truly begins. They were the first strip lashes that could be applied with glue and were crafted from human hair.

Long Lashes Under the City Lights

The history of lash extensions continues with a German hairdresser named Karl Nessler who advertised Anna Taylor’s lashes as protection against New York City’s bright electric lights. Five years later, lash extensions were featured in a movie called Intolerance. The film’s director, D.W. Griffith, decided that actress Seena Owen’s eyes weren’t prominent enough on camera, so he commissioned the on-set wig-maker to whip up some lash extensions for the scene!

Lash Extensions Start Trending

After Owen’s stunning eyelashes hit the big screen, eyelash extensions burst dramatically into history, with women in the 1920s and ‘30s flocking to the trend. Lash extensions were featured in Vogue magazine, and they were worn proudly by famous mid-century actresses like Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe. By the ‘50s, it was clear that lash extensions were here to stay!

Back to Present Day

A woman with downcast eyes wearing beautiful lash extensionsLike any fashion trend, lash extensions have phased in and out of mainstream culture over the years, but there were always plenty of fans—some who wore them, some who wore them and pretended they didn’t wear them, and plenty who didn’t wear them but admired them. 

In the early 2000s, the history of eyelash extensions was revitalized once again, as celebrities like Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez sported them prominently. Later, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian also became known for rocking the look. 




You’re Part of History

Today, the fascinating history of lash extensions continues strong. They’re no longer considered a fad, but a fashion staple, and that’s largely due to fashion-forward people just like you. That’s right, you’re making history right now, so flutter those lashes proudly! And, as a lash tech, you’re not only influencing the future of fashion but helping to establish a lasting place for lash extensions in our culture. 

Shop Quality Lash Supplies Today

The history of eyelash extensions is just beginning, so keep on doing your thing, and we’ll keep on providing the lash supplies you need. If you’re thinking about becoming a lash technician, we can help you join this fun and profitable tradition! Yegi Beauty offers on-site classes and online classes so you can get certified, become your own boss, and make your dreams come true. Enroll today!

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