Mon - Fri : 09:00 - 17:00
600 Congress Ave 14Fl, Austin Texas 78701

Single Blog Title


History of Eyelash Extensions

Anyone who knows anything about EyeLash Extensions will agree that it's an absolutely fascinating craft. A really intricate art form, gained from long hours of training and loads of practice, to achieve the results seen in the top Salons and Lash Bars.

So, we sifted through a few references on the web, and put together a brief history or eyelashes and eyelash extensions, which we hope will inform and amuse.

The art of decorating the eyes - enhancing eyelashes in both volume and colour, the use of eyeliner, and eyebrow colouring - has been with us since ancient times, and from what we know, the practice of eyelash and eyebrow enhancing dates back to Ancient Egypt.

Make-up in Ancient Egypt

The ideal eyes, from the Roman perspective, were large with long eyelashes. Pliny the Elder wrote that eyelashes fell out from excessive sex and so it was especially important for women to keep their eyelashes long to prove their chastity.

Kohl was the main ingredient in eye makeup, and was composed of ashes or soot and antimony, with saffron usually added to improve the smell.

Kohl was applied using a rounded stick, made of ivory, glass, bone, or wood, that would be dipped in either oil or water first, before being used to apply the kohl. The use of kohl as makeup came from the east. In addition to kohl, charred rose petals and date stones could be used to darken the eyes.


Colored eyeshadow was also applied by women to accentuate their eyes. Green eyeshadow came from poisonous malachite, while blue came from azurite.

The Romans preferred dark eyebrows that almost met in the center. This effect was achieved by darkening their eyebrows with antimony or soot and then extending them inward. Plucking began in the 1st century BCE to tidy their overall look."


History of Eyelash Extensions

In 1879, James D. McCabe wrote in his book The National Encyclopaedia of Business and Social Forms, section "Laws of Ettiquete," that eyelashes can be lengthened by cutting the extreme ends with a pair of scissors.

Other beauty books, such as My Lady's Dressing Room (1892) by Baronne Staffe[1] and Beauty's Aids or How to be Beautiful (1901) by Countess C also state the trimming of eyelashes and the use of the pomade Trikogene for promoting eyelash growth. Countess C also suggested that eyelashes can be given length and strength by washing them every evening with a concoction of water and walnut leaves.

In 1882, Henry Labouchère of Truth reported that the "Parisians have found out how to make false eyelashes" by having hair sewn into the eyelids.

Similarly reported, the 6 July 1899 edition of The Dundee Courier also described the painful sounding method for lengthening the lashes. The headline read, “Irresistible Eyes May Be Had by Transplanting the Hair.” The article explained how the procedure achieved longer lashes by having hair from the head sewn into the eyelids.


In 1902, German-born hair specialist and noted inventor Charles Nessler (aka Karl Nessler or Charles Nestle) patented "A New or Improved Method of and Means for the Manufacture of Artificial Eyebrows, Eyelashes and the like" in the United Kingdom. By 1903, he was selling artificial eyelashes at his London salon on Great Castle Street. He used the profits from his sales to fund his next invention, the permanent wave machine.

In 1911, a Canadian woman named Anna Taylor patented false eyelashes in the United States.

In 1916, while making his film Intolerance, director D.W. Griffith wanted actress Seena Owen to have lashes "that brushed her cheeks, to make her eyes shine larger than life." These false eyelashes were made of human hair woven through fine gauze by a local wig maker. They were then attached to Owen's eyes.


Eye Liner in Ancient Egypt

Eye liner was first used in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia as a dark black line around the eyes. As early as 10,000 BC, Egyptians and Mo wore various cosmetics including eye liner not only for aesthetics but to protect the skin from the desert sun. Research has also speculated that eye liner was worn to protect the wearer from the evil eye. The characteristic of having heavily lined eyes has been frequently depicted in ancient Egyptian art. They produced eye liner with a variety of materials, including copper ore and antimony. Ancient Egyptian kohl contained galena, which was imported from nearby regions in the Land of Punt, Coptos and Western Asia.


In the 1920s, Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered, introducing the use of eye liner to the Western world. The 1920s were an era commonly associated with many changes in women's fashion, and women felt freer to apply make-up more liberally.




Records from around 4000 BC refer to a substance called kohl that was used to darken eyelashes, eyes, and eyebrows. Kohl was used to mask the eyes, believed to ward off evil spirits and protect the soul, by both men and women. Often composed of galena; malachite; and charcoal or soot, crocodile stool; honey; and water was added to keep the kohl from running.

The product that people would recognize as mascara today did not develop until the 19th century. A chemist named Eugene Rimmel developed a cosmetic using the newly invented petroleum jelly. The name Rimmel became synonymous with the substance and still translates to “mascara” in the Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Romanian, and Persian languages today.

The mascara developed consisted of petroleum jelly and coal in a set ratio. It was undeniably messy, and a better alternative was soon developed.


A dampened brush was rubbed against a cake containing soap and black dye in equal proportions and applied to the lashes. Still it was extremely messy. No significant improvement occurred until 1957 with an innovation by Helena Rubinstein.



  • We found this fabulous website 'Eyelashes In History' and thought we'd share it with you.

Credits: All content used under the Creative Commons ShareAlike License

We love to learn, so feel free to comment and add your own references if you like.