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The Evolution of Eyelashes

Have you ever wondered when the first strip lash was worn and how they blew up to be such a big beauty trend? It seems that we are used to all of the hype surrounding the strip lash and haven’t had much thought about it’s earlier history. 



There is still quite a bit of debate surrounding who really did invent the strip lash, but its earliest debut started in the 1900’s

In 1911 Anna Taylor, a Canadian woman, first patented artificial lashes. Her eyelashes used a section of fabric that was implanted with the tiniest hairs. Flash forward to 1915 a hairdresser named Karl Nessler sold eyelash services that were similar to Anna Taylor’s in his salon. 

It wasn’t until 1916 when the strip lash made waves in society. A famous hollywood director D.W.Griffith was filming Intolerance and had a look at the main actress in the film Seena Owen and decided that something about her look was missing.  Griffith wanted Owen’s eyelashes to look “supernatural” in order to match the style of the film. The set’s wigmaker was told to glue human hair lashes onto Owen’s lash line with glue. As you might expect, Owen did suffer a reaction from the glue that was used on her lash line.


1920’s - 1930’s:

Men started to suspect that women were taking measures to enhance their eyelashes, and there were many comments made that stated men should not trust women, because they are purchasing enhancements. These men disliked the look of these lashes and began bashing the new look. 

Many people were still skeptical of fake eyelashes during this decade, and mainly women in the fashion/film industry were purchasing them. It wasn’t until 1930 when Vogue gave their approval of the new look by featuring ads in the magazine for artsy lash strips that had gold and platinum beads throughout. 


1940’s - 1950’s:

During this decade we saw more Hollywood starlets flaunting their fake eyelashes. These were women like Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth and they would wear them during photoshoots in order to create the look of a larger, more dramatic eye.  

In the 1950’s they decided to introduce a plastic version of the strip lash and moved away from human hair and fabric.



Glamour was the big focus of the 1940s and ‘50s but in the 1960s makeup took a turn into adventure and innovation. The model Twiggy was at the center of this movement and her signature look was scouting large eyelashes that accentuated her already naturally big eyes. She wore fake eyelashes during her normal day to day life but also was known for having her lashes painted directly onto her face as well. 

After Twiggy made the trend even bigger we saw other models who followed in her footsteps like Jean Shrimpton and Penelope Tree who both were frequently seen in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar who gave women inspiration to put more dare into their beauty looks. 


1970's - 1980's:

While the 1960’s saw quite a lot of buzz around fake eyelashes the 1970s and ‘80s saw the opposite. As fads came and went, strip lashes were phasing out. In this decade we see more of a natural and muted makeup look where most of the focus was on blush and dark lipstick. One famous singer who did continue to showcase false lashes was Cher, but are we even surprised? 



Even though fake eyelashes faded out in the 70s/80s they came back full force in the 90s. We saw Anna Nicole Smith, Pamela Anderson and Cindy Crawford using strip lashes to achieve a retro 1950s glamour. Most celebrities would wear strip lashes to events, photoshoots, and even when out and about during the day.



This is the decade where fake eyelashes became a big beauty trend that wasn’t just for celebrities. They came out with fancier versions, and more expensive kinds. Two iconic moments for the strip lash was when J.Lo wore a strip lash made of red fox fur to the 2001 Academy Awards followed by Madonna in 2004 when she wore a $10,000 pair of mink and diamond lashes. Now we see these fake lashes being sold all over the world in retail stores and online! 


With strip lashes being huge we then saw the trend of eyelash extensions popping up 

Unlike the artificial strip lashes women moved toward getting a more precise, distinct look of eyelash extensions. Eyelash extensions were said to be developed in either Korea or Japan in the early 2000s which then took wind and became widespread by 2004. There has been an insane amount of growth in the eyelash extension industry with the different materials, adhesives, styles and colours that can be used. The technology has also advanced and modern eyelash extensions now are lightweight, comfortable and greater than those that we have seen in the past

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2014: Magnetic Lashes

As time went by, beauty lovers have become increasingly obsessed with getting fuller, longer eyelashes which brings us to the next newest trend - the magnetic lash. This is another great alternative since many people are becoming increasingly allergic to eyelash extensions but want added drama to their lashes. 

As trends evolve this is one that has many people wowed by the technology behind it. The first magnetic eyelashes we have seen are made by sticking one strip to the top of the lash line and to the other lash with tiny magnets which sandwiches your natural lash between two strips. 

From this another form of magnetic strip lashes were born, one that uses a magnetic eyeliner in order for the eyelashes to stick directly to the lash line. This new development fared better than the first version of magnetic lashes, since it was easier to use and only required you to know how to apply eyeliner.

Though this look worked for many users, the adhesion of the magnets weren’t strong enough for many women with mono-lidded eyes. While blinking, the folds of the mono-lids would break the attachment between the two magnets and, depending on the quality of the magnetics, they were also not completely wind resistant-- making this note-worthy invention still not a perfect product for every user.


2019: Return to Glue-on Lashes-- But with a Twist

As the popularity of magnetic lashes rose, avante garde beauty connoisseurs went back into the vault and created an eyeliner out of the very glue that was banned from the strip lashes in the first place. These liner glues replaced the need of using eyeliner and then gluing lash glue onto the strips. Once placed on, the lashes held on tight and were wind and oil-resistant. The only downside to this is that eyeliner glue remained sticky during its entire wear--which means yes! Your beautiful liner wings are sticky the whole time. 

Additionally, the liner glue, beneficial as it is strong, unfortunately is not so easy to remove with simple soap and water. You need oil makeup remover or your lash line will remain sticky until your next full-face scrub-- making this unfortunately not eyelash extension friendly in the least.


2020: The world’s first Glueless, Stick-on Lashes 

For people who find it nearly impossible to properly glue a strip lash to their lash line this is one of the greatest technologies to hit the beauty market. Lashocracy has made the first Pre-glued strip lashes that have been designed for people who need an easier application, the only work required is for you to measure them, trim them if needed and pop them on to the lash line! 

You don’t need to fuss over magnets, eyeliner, glue, or even the sticky mess of eyeliner glue. Our lashes are designed to be put on and taken off without the need or a professional, or even makeup remover! Since they’re removed with the same ease as they are applied with no glue residue, these lashes are also eyelash extension friendly.



Tristen Sthamann |

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