The History of Eyelash Extensions—Why Were They Invented?

  • Published
  • Last Updated
  • February 8th, 2024
Woman receiving a lash extension application

A History of Eyelash Extensions: Ancient Egypt to Present Day

Beauty isn’t a fad. Women have been experimenting with different ways to express their own beauty through body enhancements and modifications for ages!

From ancient Egypt to present day, join us as we take a trip down lash extension lane and learn how the desire and demand for lash enhancements has evolved over the centuries, culminating in the introduction of today’s lash extensions in the 2000s.

Beauty isn’t a fad. Women have been experimenting with different ways to express their beauty through body enhancements and modifications for ages!

From ancient Egypt to the present day, join us as we take a trip down lash extension history lane. You’ll learn how lash enhancements have evolved over the centuries, leading to today’s state-of-the-art lash extensions, which you can find at The Lash Lounge nearest you.

Let’s dive into the history of eyelash extensions! ⬇️

The Beginning

The origin of long lashes dates to 2500 BCE when the Egyptians first used ointments and brushes to achieve a fluttery fanned-out lash look. Tinting treatments were also quite popular—for both men and women.

Why Were Eyelash Enhancements Popular?

Eyelash enhancements and other beauty treatments were prized for beauty and functionality in ancient Egypt. Not only were they in style (just as they are today), but there’s evidence that their eye makeup possessed antibacterial properties and enhanced the protection that lashes gave to the user’s eyes.

Centuries later, in ancient Rome, Roman women aspired to have ultra-long lashes as well, and used ash to emphasize their lashes after Pliny the Elder preached that lengthy eyelashes were a sign of moral character.

But ash and ointments could only enhance lashes so much …

Black and white image of 1900s American actress

When and Why Were Fake Eyelashes Invented?

False eyelashes were invented in the 1800s because people wanted fuller and longer-looking lashes —a look they could not achieve by brushing their natural eyelashes.

But what was invented looks quite different than the extensions we know and love! The first lash extensions were made of human hair, and they were glued directly to the eyelids overtop the natural lashes.

Who Invented Eyelash Extensions?

In 1902, Karl Nessler, a hairdresser and inventor, created a patented process for making and weaving artificial eyelashes. Just a few years later in 1911, Anna Taylor, an inventor from Canada, created the first patented artificial lashes by developing a crescent of fabric material with tiny hairs attached to it.

A variation on these methods was then used by D.W. Griffith, a Hollywood film producer, in 1916. It was while watching outtakes he noticed something was missing on a silent film actress. You guessed it—beautifully full and long eyelashes! He commissioned the film’s wigmaker to create lash extensions. The wigmaker glued a mix of human hair and gauze onto the actresses’ lash line for the film.

The Surge of Eyelash Extensions in Hollywood and Beyond

With the help of Hollywood, lash extensions gained more popularity in the 1940s and 1950s. The beauty industry quickly noticed and began experimenting with various lash application techniques.

In 1947, the Aylott brothers, British makeup artists in the film industry, formed a company called Eyelure. This was one of the first known companies to manufacture false lashes. Their lashes were used in iconic films like Cleopatra and on famous fashion models. This made striking lashes all the rage! By 1968, false eyelashes were a booming business. Popular brands included Max Factor, Revlon and Elizabeth Arden.✨

Exterior salon photo of The Lash Lounge

Modern Lashes: The Next Chapter in the History of Lash Extensions

Fast-forward to the early 2000s and the modern-day eyelash extensions and services we know and love. With the growth of lash beauty and the focus on celebrity makeup, people everywhere wanted to emulate the professional lash look.

Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of The Lash Lounge, Anna Phillips, recognized the desire people had to capitalize on their natural beauty with lash enhancements. She appreciated how a well-done service could completely transform the self-esteem of a person. Phillips became a certified esthetician and permanent makeup artist. As the popularity of semi-permanent eyelash extensions grew overseas, Anna took the initiative to learn and master the art and craft here in the United States and began offering this service to her guests.

In 2006, her schedule became so jam-packed, that she had to hire another stylist to keep up! It quickly became clear she would either need to stop taking new lash guests or open a salon. Guess which path she took? 😉

And The Lash Lounge was born.

Choose Lash Extensions, the Beauty Treatment Backed by Time

Beauty trends come and go, but lash extensions stand the test of time. Today, there are over 120 Lash Lounge salons across the United States serving people of all ages, genders and cultures who, like people thousands of years ago, continue to seek out ways to make themselves feel beautiful.

See for yourself why so many women love lash extensions with your professional extension service. Work with one of our trained lash stylists to create a custom lash look! 💗