There it will be, hidden under coats of mascara and camouflaged in an effort to make it look natural. There it will be, making the lashes look as though they naturally extend to the heavens: Why would anyone glue a string of fake eyelashes onto their real ones? Giphy It got us thinking, and as it turns out, fake eyelashes have a long and rather tortured history that goes all the way back to ancient Rome.
A weird and painful beginning for falsies A model with fake lashes in Getty Images Unfortunately, we must start this history with a bit of grossness. To understand why fake eyelashes were even created, we must first break down why long lashes were seen as an alluring feature in the first place.
At its core, this obsession with longer lashes stems from the idea that lashes get shorter with age. In ancient Rome, author Pliny the Elder helped make long lashes even more enviable when he posited they were linked to being chaste.
As a result, women strived to have the longest lashes possible. In the s, hundreds of years after Pliny made that assertion, lashes came into favor again — and this time, shit got real. In , for instance, there were accounts of women having lashes implanted into their eyelids via needles, according to Racked. And yes, it was a popular procedure, even in capitals like Paris. In , a Canadian woman named Anna Taylor first patented artificial lashes, using a crescent of fabric implanted with itty bitty hairs.
Of course, this kind of ended in disaster, with Intolerance costar Lillian Gish writing in her memoir: Griffith had already shot the important scenes. Plenty of people were still skeptical of false eyelashes in the s, but it was a different story among the fashionistas. Through the s, Vogue gave them their stamp of approval with ads featuring more artful fake lashes, some laden with gold and platinum beads, Racked reported.
What made them a generally better product in the s was the introduction of plastic materials fit for fake eyelashes. One person at the center of this movement, of course, was the model Twiggy , whose signature look included large lashes that accentuated her already prominent eyes.
Though the most iconic images of Twiggy showed her with lashes painted directly onto her face, she wore plenty of fake eyelashes, too. Makeup of the s was much more muted and natural, and in the s, things like blush and dark lipstick were more popular than massive lashes. Some women, like Cher, did continue to wear them, as she would. Fake eyelashes are now sold anywhere makeup is, from Walmart to Nordstrom and everything in between.
But here we are.