What was the purpose of false eyelashes?

Eyelash extensions are cosmetic applications that improve the length, curl, fullness and thickness of natural eyelashes. The extensions can be made of various materials, including mink, silk, synthetic, human hair, or horse hair. In 1911, a Canadian woman named Anna Taylor first patented artificial eyelashes, using a cloth half moon implanted with small hairs. In 1915, Karl Nessler, a hairdresser known for his permanent waves, opened a hairdresser in New York and sold eyelash services, promoting false eyelashes in his salon as, according to the New York Times, “protection against the glare of electric lights”.

He also hired showgirls to sell them and beat customers. In 1911, a Canadian inventor named Anna Taylor patented artificial eyelashes. His invention included glued eyelashes, or lashes in strips, which were thought to be made of human hair. A few years later, German hairdresser Karl Nessler provided false eyelash services at his salon in New York.

According to the New York Times, Nessler announced his services as “a guard against the glare of electric lights. Ironically, false eyelashes were created as a way to show power and independence. False eyelashes were also made to represent the attractiveness of a woman in ancient times. Today, eyelashes represent women's sense of independence and are used to enhance the eyes and show their beauty.

At the beginning of the 20th century, false eyelashes were marketed as protection against the glare of electric lights and gradually came back into fashion. A lot of people were still skeptical of false eyelashes in the 1920s, but it was a different story among fashionistas. Within a decade, false eyelashes became standard equipment for actresses and flappers who imitated the “baby doll eyes” they saw on screen. A German named Charles Nestle (née Karl Nessler) made false eyelashes in the early 20th century and used the profits from sales to finance his next invention, the Permanent Wave.

Nowadays, people who wear false eyelashes are not trying to put on a great show, but rather to enhance their own beauty. As the Middle Ages progressed, false eyelashes were used in competitive contests, where each woman tried to outperform the next with her makeup and eyelashes. The trend eventually went out of style, but in 1899 there are records that women had false eyelashes implanted in their eyelids with needles, according to Racked. False eyelashes were marketed in the article as a means for women to improve their appearance and enhance their beauty.

In the 1950s, false eyelashes reappeared in the public eye when Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe began using false eyelashes on a daily basis. In addition, modern false eyelashes are made of different materials and are lighter than ever. CEO & and founder of Sugarlash PRO, Courtney Buhler, told Bustle that it's important to invest in false eyelashes to ensure they're done right. One would think, just by reading that, that false eyelashes were a kind of fly trap or Venus torture device.

At the same time, German stylist Karl Nessler, whose real name was Charles Nestle, created his own version of false eyelashes, which financed his beauty salon on W 49 Street in New York. In any case, in the 1930s, false eyelashes were everywhere, and Vogue promised that they could give women eyelashes of disconcerting length. The first false eyelashes were nothing like those that are so popular today among celebrities and avant-garde people. Women in the Middle Ages used false eyelashes to complement their outfits and show their own beauty.


Penelope Tropp
Penelope Tropp

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