The legend says that David W. Griffith, the American cinema director, invented them. Maybe the idea was flying around, maybe someone else was working with the same purpose, maybe some people were making in some way artificial eyelashes at home, but the truth is that in 1916, Griffith gave the first step trying to display his actresses in his silent movie "Intolerance, Love's Struggle Through the Ages" with "fluttering" eyes, creating the special effect with false lashes. He said that he was looking for an effect of "eyelashes brushing the actresses cheeks". The actress Seena Owen was the most popular using those artificial eyelashes, and soon the same effect was adopted in other Hollywood productions, and it became popular between the people in general. Even though, false eyelashes were not popular until 1930; at that time, Maybelline launched a 10 cents mascara package, and more innovations were introduced in the market.

By 1930s, women were enjoying make up as never before in history of beauty. Artificial eyelashes became very popular again in 1960s, when big made-up eyes were the fashion.


The new name for the trademark was: "Maybelline". Since 1917 Maybell Labs. had another product which was n earlier version of what later would be the "cake mascara". The product was not made with vaseline, but a mixture of sodium stearate soap and pigments, extruded into strips, stamped and dried. The product was applied with a small brush, which must be wet before rubbed into the cake. The origin of the name was attributed to a combination of his sister's name, Mabel, and "vaseline", but, as the product didn't contain vaseline, it's preferable to assume that it was only an extension of the word "Maybell", the laboratories' name.

Both products, Lash-Brow-Ine, and Maybelline, coexisted from 1917 until 1921; since that year, Maybelline was the only name for all the products, and in 1923 Maybell Laboratories were also renamed "Maybelline".

In 1933, they started to use the word "mascara" instead of "eyelash darkener". At that time, Maybelline started to be a leader industry in eye cosmetics.

In the next years, the company was expanded to Canada and Europe, and in 1966 they were selling more than $25 million a year, with more products in catalogue, like a self sharpening eyebrow and eyeliner pencil, and a "magic mascara" with a spiral brush.

In 1967, Tom Lyle Williams sold the company to Plough; in 1990 was acquired by Wasserstein-Perella & Co., and in 1996 by L'Oreal USA, who actually owns the company, renaming it "Maybelline New York" in 2001.

Sources: http://www.cosmeticsandskin.com, by James Bennett; (2010) Encyclopedia of Hair, a Cultural History, by Victoria Sherrow; Maybelline, About Us: History: http://maybelline.co.uk; Riordan, Teresa, Inventing Beauty (2004); Williams, Sharrie & Youngs, B.: The Maybelline story and the spirited family dynasty behind it.


1701 Sunset Harbor Drive, Suite 206 - Miami Beach, Florida 33139 - Ph: 305 535 6887 - info@sultryeyeslashstudio.com