History of Lash Extensions

History of Lash Extensions

Hey Lash Babes! Today we are brushing off our history books and diving into the history of lashes and lash extensions. Eyelash extensions have evolved drastically since they were first introduced, and they will only continue to do so.  

Today, we are taking a deeper look at the history of lash extensions.  

3500 B.C. 

Never thought we would be kicking it off in B.C.? Well, here we are, where it all started! Ancient Egyptians were the first known to use brushes and ointments to make their lashes more voluminous. Both men and women wanted darker lashes, so they would use malachite, a green copper carbonate mineral. It is believed they wanted longer lashes to protect their eyes from the sun. 


Unlike Ancient Egyptians, those living during the Middle Ages wanted nothing to do with eyelashes. They would pluck all their lashes out to enhance their forehead. I know – painful! 

Eyelashes are used to protect the eye from harmful particles like dust and debris. Having all their lashes plucked put them in significant risk of obstructed vision, infection or injury. Thankfully this trend did not last long and we can believe this is a major reason why. 


Welcome in – the first ever mascara! Eugene Rimmel, Queen Victoria’s perfumer, created the first mascara, which was comprised of coal dust and Vaseline Jelly. It quickly became a staple and is a direct line to lash extensions being invented.  

Get ready for this one too. In the 1880’s, women would also sew hair on their eyelids to create more volume. It was common for them to take hair from their own heads to create fuller eyelashes. Beauty is pain! 


Once the 20th century rolled in a lot happened that helped create the lash extensions we know today. 


Anna Taylor, a Canadian inventor, patented artificial lashes in 1911. Glue on lashes or strip lashes were a part of her invention and they were made from human hair.  


Karl Nessler, a German hairdresser and inventor, worked at a salon in New York City where he provided services that used false lashes he created. These strip lashes were similar to the ones Anna Taylor made. He advertised them as: 

 “A guard against the glare of electric lights” Karl Nessler

Image from Cosmetics and Skin


After the 1916 film, Intolerance, an upward trend in the use of artificial eyelashes began. The director of the film noticed that one of the actors' eyes were not standing out enough. A wigmaker sewed human hair to gauze and then glued the gauze onto the actor’s eyelids. VOILA– lash strips hit the big screen! 


Vogue Magazine played a large role in the evolution of false lashes. In the 1920s and 30s it was quite common to see women pictured with huge lashes.  


In the 1950s, we started seeing more celebrities wear lash strips, like Marilyn Monroe. Similar to today, celebrities often set fashion trends and consumers strive to adapt what celebrities are wearing from outfits to hair and makeup. With a fabulous star like Marilyn displaying lash strips, more women around the world began wearing false lashes.  

1950s - 1980s 

Due to the high demand for eyelash strips, companies started swapping hair with plastic in the 1950s. Materials were becoming more advanced, and the trend continued to grow.  

In the 60s, the makeup trend was to have bold, dramatic eyes. Women amplified this look by adding intense, thick lashes. 

In the 70s and 80s, eyelash extensions began to fade but the drop in demand didn’t last long. 

MODERN DAY LASHES 1960s dramatic lashes

Semi-permanent lash extensions were officially created in the 1990s. These were different than lash strips in that lashes were now applied in small clusters and glued to already existing eyelashes. Application methods for lash extensions became safer and more meticulous. 

Like the 50s, many celebrities, like Jennifer Lopez and Paris Hilton, showcased their semi-permanent lash extensions. 


Materials used in eyelashes today, such as animal hairs, synthetic fibers, and silk, give a more lightweight feel and are much more comfortable. 


The lashes that Anna Taylor created in 1911 are of course still used today and loved, despite being made from different materials. These lash strips are a more feasible option for those who may now want long where eyelashes and look to switch out their style each day. 


Magnetic lashes were invented in 2014 and are abundantly used. They are placed around the natural lashes and the magnetic strips hold them together the same way glue normally would. They serve as an excellent choice to make your lashes pop, as they are reusable and glue-free. 

*Check out our versatile magnetic lashes we sell 


We have seen the use of semi-permanent lash extensions skyrocket over the years. These lashes are a great option if you are not interested in having to adhere lash strips to your lashes or mess with DIY lash clusters every day. 

This lash option is widely popular today because each set lasts 6 to 8 weeks, which is the same grow out time as a real lash. Semi-permanent lash extensions should only be applied by a certified lash technician to ensure safe application. semi-permanent lash extensions 


We have come a long way in eyelash extensions. With more knowledge, materials, and experience, lash extensions have become much safer and regularly worn. We can’t wait to see how eyelash extensions will keep evolving as trends change and we are excited to be an innovator in this incredible industry.

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