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Long before eyelash extensions became available women used all manner of tricks to create long luscious lashes. Even to this day, false eyelashes are used extensively around the world. Thankfully they are a lot safer than they used to be.
The history of false eyelashes goes all the way back to Ancient Rome. The Romans believed that eyelashes grew shorter with age. They also linked long lashes to being chaste believing excessive sex made them fall out. It wouldn't surprise you to learn that Roman women probably had the longest lashes ever!
The trend died out for a while but was well and truly back by the 1800s - and that's when things got really interesting. One solution was to glue human hair to your eyelids; another was to implant lashes into your eyelids using needles. How gross is that?
False eyelashes as we know them today started life in the early 1900s. They were pretty basic at that time and various people claimed to have invented them. By all accounts, the true inventor was probably Canadian Anna Taylor. She patented a technique that used a crescent-shaped piece of fabric implanted with tiny hairs.
Falsies in the Spotlight
One of the most entertaining 'inventors' was New York hairdresser Karl Nessler. He sold false eyelashes in his salon, describing them as 'a guard against the glare of electric lights'.
By 1916 falsies had moved from the electric light to the spotlight, thanks to Hollywood director DW Griffith. Filming the movie 'Intolerance' he had a wigmaker glue lashes made of human hair onto actress Seena Owen's eyelids. The result was somewhat dire, with Ms Owen's eyes swelling to the point that she couldn't open them.
False eyelashes remained quite unpopular until Vogue magazine gave them the stamp of approval in the 1930s. Amazing adverts appeared for this beauty must, featuring the most flamboyant fake lashes, some adorned with gold and platinum beads.
Hollywood leading ladies such as Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe couldn't wait to get their hands on them in the 1940s and 50s and that was the only encouragement ordinary women needed to give them a go. By this stage, manufacturers had stopped using fabric and human hair. They used very thin plastic instead.
One of best-known wearers of false eyelashes in the 1960s was supermodel Twiggy. We're talking big, over-the-top lashes that really made an impact. Despite the amount of publicity that attracted, the wearing of false eyelashes died a bit of a death during the 70s and 80s.
By the 1990s, however, they were back with a vengeance, thanks to celebs such as Pamela Anderson and Cindy Crawford. The question is what would you pay for a set of false eyelashes? Would you pay $10,000? That's what Madonna paid for a pair of mink and diamond lashes in 2004.
False eyelashes had become mainstream and you could buy them everywhere. You still can and many women apply their own at home. However, for really professional results using safe products, it's best to find a salon that offers makeup services. Whatever you do, don't be tempted to buy cheap imports online as many of the glues can cause irritation.
Despite the top quality eyelash extensions available today false eyelashes remain very popular. They not only look great but also offer some serious benefits.
Let's say you're going to a wedding or some other event where tears are likely to flow. False eyelashes ensure you'll look amazing without mascara running down your face. They're a great way of really highlighting your eyes without using loads of makeup.
There is one myth that needs to be busted. Wearing false eyelashes will not make your natural lashes longer or stronger. However, it saves you wearing mascara all the time and mascara can make your own lashes brittle. So perhaps there's just a grain of truth there.
Search the Bookwell directory to find false eyelashes in your locality.