Le Visage Wellness

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The History of Mascara – LeVisage Makeup Shop

June 21, 2011  

untitledAs you are applying the finishing touches to your makeup, do you ever consider how much easier we have it today than when eye makeup — especially mascara — was first introduced? Admittedly, mascara can still be about the most annoying part of any makeup routine; with Jane Iredale products, available online from LeVisage Wellness Center and Spa, however, the inconsistencies you may have experienced are a thing of the past! Did you know that crocodile stool was a staple ingredient in the earliest mascaras? Thankfully, we need not worry about putting poo on our eyes today! But then, the early Egyptians used mascara to hide their eyes in an effort to ward off evil spirits — we modern women wear mascara as an adornment to attract evil of a completely different nature…

Messy, Messy Mascara

The Victorian Era ushered in acceptance of makeup as something more than uncouth and unsightly — after which women were said to have spent the greater part of each day to extensive beauty regimens. The very first “modern” mascara was a mixture of lampblack or ash, heated with elderberry juice and applied (still warm) to the eyelashes.

Using a new petroleum jelly, chemist Eugene Rimmel invented the predecessor to today’s mascara in the early 1900’s. In fact, ‘Rimmel’ translates as mascara in several languages: Persian, Spanish, Dutch, Turkish, Romanian, Italian and Portuguese. In 1913, T.L. Williams created a very similar product in America for his sister, Maybel — and so the birth of the mega-cosmetic company Maybelline! Both horribly messy products were a combination of coal and petroleum jelly. It wasn’t too long before the cake form of mascara was developed, made of equal parts of soap and black dye; a dampened brush rubbed on the cake, then applied to the lashes was slightly less messy than Rimmel and William’s creations. No significant advances were made until 1957.

Advancements in Mascara

Closely following the fashion industry in Paris through the 1900’s led both Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden to eventually develop the first modern form of mascara after World War I. Through years of development and competition, American women finally accepted mascara as a staple in their makeup trousseaus.

Beyond the fashion industry, motion pictures further increased the popularity of mascara as women desired to emulate the glamorous appearance of cinema beauties such as; Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Theda Bara, Clara Bow, Greta Garbo and Pola Negri.

Finally, in 1957, Rubinstein developed mascara in a lotion form; packaged in a tube and sold with a brush for application, the lotion was still a bit messy. The lotion was squeezed from the tube onto the brush and applied to lashes — this product was the forerunner to mascara today.

The ingenious invention of a grooved rod that picked up the mascara from its tube, soon led to the brush that helped mascara reach its current popularity. Generally, all mascara uses the same ingredients:

  • Pigmentation
  • Oils
  • Waxes

While the exact ingredients vary according to desired affects, rest assured that Mukilteo Makeup‘s Jane Iredale’s PureLash Lengthening Mascara is manufactured with all natural ingredients.