Medieval Period-The History of Eyelashes

During  the Medieval period, and even in the Renaissance and until the 18th  century, eyelashes were not  styled. Women, in general, removed  eyelashes and eyebrows in order to give more importance to the forehead, which was the most important feature in females’ faces at that time. Women were not supposed to  exhibit their hair in public, and by several ecclesiastical edicts, the  Catholic Church condemned that practice as an offense to God and the  church, and a sin. It obviously included eyebrows and eyelashes. In  general, the use of make up in women’s face was left only for   prostitutes.

Hair, in women, was regarded  as an erotic feature. During the Middle Ages, more prohibitions were  issued and less hair was revealed.  However, the  Elizabethan era (1533-1603) brought another fashion: as the queen  Elizabeth had a reddish-gold hair color, many women dyed their hair with  the same shade, or wore hairpieces or full wigs in red shade. So, it  was popular to dye eyelashes and eyebrows in reddish tones.

To do it, they used some  dangerous dyes; one of them was a mixture of rhubarb juice and oil of  vitriol;  vitriol is pure sulfuric acid. These kind of caustic and  corrosive tinctures frequently caused the hair loss or damages in the  scalp and hair. Although to enhance eyelashes  was not a proper practice for a respectable woman at the Middle Ages and  at the Renaissance, they found the ways to darken their eyelashes (or  the few they had) secretely, with crushed berries or soot obtained from  fireplaces.

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