The Evolution of Eyelashes: From Ancient Needling to Eyelash Extension Domination

Skimming through your favorite style magazine or even walking about through the streets, you will most likely catch it out of the corner of your eye: almost too good to be true lashes.  Did this passerby just happen to hit the genetic lottery or have a little help from humankind?  Regardless of one’s own routine, fake eyelashes have claimed their stay in millions of womens’ beauty rituals globally.  Despite the glamorous facade, falsies have not always had a stylish history.  Follow along LashBee’s timeline to learn of the fascinating history of eyelash enhancements.

Ancient Beginnings


Greater society’s eyelash fascination dates back to Ancient Egypt where androgyny was all the rage as both men and women coveted tinting treatments, ointments, and brushes to achieve fluttery, fanned out lashes.  As time progressed, thousands of early Roman women endeavored to have the longest lashes as humanly possible after famed philosopher Pliny the Elder’s assertion that long lashes were a direct result of being chaste and of maintaining upright morals.  In the 19th century, women took the famous quip that “beauty is pain” to the extreme as needling lashes to one’s own eyelid became a popular practice throughout European cities.  Interestingly enough, nearing the end of the 1800’s, there were recorded historical accounts of eyelash extension experimentation with failed attempts of gluing lashes to the upper lashline.  


1900’s: From the Silent Screen to the Masses


Hollywood film giant D.W. Griffith became an eyelash pioneer while shooting scenes for his directorial work, Intolerance, back in 1916.  Upon watching outtakes of silent film actress Seena Owen, Griffith decided something visually lacked.  The director's solution to said problem included transforming Owen’s eyelashes into a more “supernatural” form.  The crew’s resident wigmaker was commissioned to gluing human hair lashes onto Owen’s lash line with spirit gum as the lash glue.  As expected, Owen suffered a mild reaction as a result of using wonky lash glue.  Luckily, they got the right shots before the eyelid progressed in the reaction. 


1920’s & 1930’s: Roaring Reactions & Growing Acceptance

Fake eyelashes finally got the greenlight from the public after Vogue published numerous advertisements with models adorning the eye enhancements in a variety of bright colors and materials.  Male journalists and other critics alike initially took to publicly bashing the beauty innovation. Angered columnists claimed that eyelash wearers were “temptresses”.  


1940’s & 1950’s: Stunning Starlets & Remodeled Materials


Golden Age film icons including Rita Hayworth, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, and Gene Tierney proudly sported falsies during Hollywood outings and for major photoshoots.  Fake eyelashes became a staple in makeup artists’ kits as falsies elongated and opened client’s eyes.  More innovation came about during the 1950’s when eyelash warehouses swapped human hair for plastic materials to mold fake eyelashes (which is still a widely used practice today).  


1960’s, 1970’s, & 1980’s: Young & Fun Lashes


Departing from a more classic Hollywood glamour look, the 1960’s paved the way for bold, experimental, and daring makeup styles.  Among the makeup trends included dramatically lengthened upper lashes with an added emphasis on the lower lash line (sometimes additionally painted on via the use of liquid eyeliner).  Iconic supermodel Twiggy was known nationwide for her doll-like eye look and penchant for wearing stacked fake eyelashes.  Like most trends, falsies faded for a brief period during the 1970’s and 1980’s (although “Goddess of Pop” Cher continued to don her favorite lash styles during her onstage performances).  


1990’s & 2000’s: Bombshell Beauty & Mainstream Monopolization


The era of the 1990’s experienced a resurgence of public interest in falsies after popular models such as Cindy Crawford, Anna Nicole Smith, and Pamela Anderson achieved an elegant bombshell look in the bat of an eyelash.  In the 2000’s, falsies became a multimillion dollar industry as they started being manufactured internationally and sold in the likes of drugstores, high-end department stores, and by online retailers.  


Modern Era: #InstagramGlam


In the early 2000's, semi-permanent lash extensions were innovated in South Korea & Japan, as strip lash wearers looked for a safe solution to have their lashes last longer.  Extensions did not come to the U.S. until a few years ago.  Kim Kardashian, reality star and contour queen, has popularized the more everyday glam aesthetic embraced by millions of young women worldwide.  Lashes now have become a must-have for the current Instagram generation. 

Semi-permanent lash extensions finally provide a way to give natural looking lashes that would not just peel off.  Lash addicts love the ease of lash extensions - you wake up with your lashes looking perfect!  Additionally, lash lifts + tints have significantly progressed with innovation, giving even more options for those who want perfect curl with low maintenance. 

For lash novices, eyelash extensions and lash lifts are now the best, most innovative method in the beauty industry for long lashes. Interested in having your own eye makeover? Visit to browse our selection of signature lash options.

Eyelash Extensions Before & After (LashBee set)

Eyelash Extensions Before & After (LashBee set)

Lash Lift Before & After

Lash Lift Before & After