The desire to have long, fanned out lashes comes from ancient Egypt. During the Roman era, women desired the longest lashes humanly possible after the famed philosopher, Pliny, asserted that long lashes were a direct result of being chaste and of maintaining upright morals.
But what about women rubbing their eyes with cocaine, you ask? I know that’s why you started reading this in the first place. I don’t blame you.
It’s the 19th century. You know that saying “pain is beauty”? It very well may have come to fruition in the 19th century as women of the era took that saying to the extreme.
In 1899, the Independent Journal in Ottawa, Kansas wrote, “If your eyes are unattractive you may make them irresistible by transplanting the hair.
Transplanted eyelashes and eyebrows are the latest things in the way of personal adornment," the newspaper reported. "An ordinary fine needle is threaded with a long hair, generally taken from the head of the person to be operated upon."
In order to numb the eyelid, the doctor rubbed cocaine on it and then proceeded to thread the hairs through the edge of the lid with a needle. OUCH!
"The needle passes in and out along the edge of the lid leaving its hair thread in loops of carefully graduated length," The Independent Journal shared. The doctor would then take scissors, snip all the hair strands to the same length, and voila, the woman was left with lush lashes...or so she thought.
But wait, there’s more.
"When they are first cut, the freshly sewn on lashes stick out in a most singular fashion, giving the person operated upon the most uncanny look," The Independent Journal reported. "The operator’s next step is to take curling tongs, made of silver, and no larger than knitting needles, and give the “lashes” a curve, which is essential to perfect beauty. Then the eyes are carefully bandaged, and kept so until the following day."
In 1901, a beauty manual written by a Countess entitled Beauty's Aids, how to be beautiful, shared, "Recently, it appears, a successful experiment has been made by which a fallen eyelash can be replaced by grafting a hair of the same person, cut to the required length, into an incision previously made in the borders of the lids.”
But, as the Anaconda Standard wrote in 1899, only the "brave and rich" could patronize the new method, seeing how painful and costly it was.
While eyelash extensions may still have a stigma of maintenance, I think we can all agree they have come a long way and I’m sure you now will look at them in a whole different light.
So if you find yourself yearning for a fuller lash, book your next lash set today with me today. I promise there will be no needles threaded with a strand of your own hair or cocaine as numbing cream.
pssst... here is a sneak peak at Februarys Special