The History of False Lashes
American actress Marilyn Monroe on the set of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, directed by Howard Hawks. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

False lashes are commonly used in day-to-day life in 2022. Whether it be lash extensions or strip lashes, false lashes are a commonly used to enhance the appearance of our natural eyelashes and accentuate the eyes. As normal as it seems now, false lashes were often a bizarre and exclusive concept not so long ago. 

Where did the desire to have false lashes come from?

The supposed desirability to have long and lustrous lashes came from an Author in Ancient Rome. This fixation with longer lashes is fundamentally based on the notion that lashes get shorter as we age. Pliny the Elder, the Author from Ancient Rome suggested that this was related to chastity. Pliny asserted, obviously wrongly, “Eyelashes fell off from excessive sex, thus it was especially vital for women to keep their eyelashes long to establish their chastity.” 

As a result, this crazy assumption led to women trying all kinds of things to lengthen their natural eyelashes. The wildest rumour is that women had human hair surgically implanted into their eyelids using a needle and thread technique. This must have been not only immensely painful, but an extremely high-risk treatment most likely carried out by unqualified professionals. 

How did strip lashes move on?

Thankfully, we have moved on drastically from this approach to lengthening eyelashes. Lash technology delightedly moved on quite substantially in the 1900’s. That being said, In the 1910’s it still wasn’t all glitz and glamour in the eyelash world. It was reported that wig-makers were instructed by film directors to make false lashes for actors. Spirt gum was used to glue lashes onto the eyelids, this must have been quite horrific for the actors! Reports suggest allergic reactions, and even eyelids being glued shut! Not quite the glamour the film directors had in mind, I’m sure.  

Finally by the 1950’s, we saw plastic being introduced to the false lash world. This meant a huge reduction in human and animal hair being used for false lashes, and the introduction of a plastic strip that can be easily applied to the lid, paired with plastic lashes. Plastic lashes are the favoured material to make false lashes currently, mostly due to the durability and the use of plastic  lashes being cruelty free. 

The 1950’s saw lashes being hugely popularised due to the increased use by celebrities. Celebrities such a Marilyn Monroe used lashes to accentuate and elongate the eyes, often giving a siren, cat eye effect. This style of makeup and lashes is being seen frequently this year. We highly recommend using Snap 04 and Snap 05’s to recreate a Marilyn Monroe inspired look. 

Let’s just say we’re immensely glad that the use of false lashes has moved on leaps and bounds since the days of Ancient Rome! To shop our lash range, click here.