8 beauty products that aren't as old as you might think
Many products that we can't imagine living without have only existed within the last century
Whether you love buying new beauty products, ignore the industry entirely, or consider it a necessary evil in your getting-ready routine, you've probably used some sort of beauty product that dates back to the early years of civilization.
However, many products that we can't imagine living without have only existed within the last century — in some cases only a few decades! Here are some of our favorite beauty products that have only existed as we know them for a short while.
Fake eyelashes (1911)
According to Business Insider, the allure of long eyelashes came from the idea that your eyelashes thinned out and became shorter as you aged. This, long, luscious lashes were considered a sign of a youth.
Though there were plenty of makeshift ways to enhance your lashes, from gluing human hair on to your eyelids or attempting to implant it, the first set of false lashes were patented by Canadian Anna Taylor in 1911, and they haven't changed much. They were cresent-shaped pieces of fabric with small faux hairs attached, meant to be glued just above your natural lashes.
Elastic bra (1913)
There have been iterations of the brassiere that date back to ancient Greece, most notably, corsets and extensions of the garment. However, the elastic bra as we know it today, meant to enhance a woman's bustline instead of flatten it like a corset, wasn't invented until 1913. Mary Phelps Jacobs created a new garment, made with the newly created stretchy string, ribbon and two handkerchiefs.
"The result was delicious. I could move more freely, a nearly naked feeling," she said, according to Neatorama. "And in the glass I saw that I was flat and proper."
Not everyone wanted the hassle of fixing fake eyelashes to their eyelids, and that's where mascara came in. Maybelline created the first mascara, but it looked nothing like the neon pink and green tube of Great Lash we all have in our makeup bag!
Maybelline's mascara came with a toothbrush-like brush that you had to moisten before applying the black powder you'd put on your lashes. Other brands made a liquid and wax form of mascara, but Maybelline's stood the test of time!
Nail polish (1917)
Women have been coloring their nails for centuries, using products like beeswax and vegetable dyes, but the bottled product as we know it wasn't invented until 1917. According to Mental Floss, Cutex was the first brand to manufacture nail polish, and used nitrocellulose as the main ingredient. It was probably pretty toxic — as it was also used to make car paint and film celluloid.
In the '30s, Revlon starting using pigments instead of dyes in their polish, allowing women to create their own colors.
Eyebrow pencil (1920)
The 1920s was one of the first eras in which women took inspiration from movie stars when it came to their own looks, and thin brows were all the rage. Though women would pluck their brows as thin as can be, many of them still needed enhancement, especially if their eyebrows were light. Some women went all out and shaved their whole eyebrow off, opting just for a penciled-in look.
Eyelash curler (1931)
Of course, you can't apply mascara without running your lashes through a curler. However, the first patent for an eyelash curler wasn't filed until 1931, by William McDonell and Charles Stickel.
With the exception of battery-operated ones that heat up on their own, the design hasn't changed all that much!
False nails (1954)
Did you ever put pistachio shells on your nails as a kid? Well, that's what women in 19th century China did to enhance their nail length.
However, the first set of acrylic nails wasn't created out of vanity, but practicality. A dentist named Frederick Slack broke his nail at work, and fixed it with dental acrylic. Then he and his brother filed a patent for the first acrylic nail extentions. The original style was meant to look real, but modern manicures embrace the acrylics, opting for wild colors, shapes and styles.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Panty hose (1959)
The creation of pantyhose was groundbreaking — and it was so recent that you might actually remember it! Though it's considered sexy now to allow your garters to be exposed, it was a major faux pas when garters were the only way to hold your stockings up. When miniskirts began trending, there had to be an alternative (after all, women couldn't have their legs bare.)
According to the Smithsonian, the first pair of hose was invented by Allen Gant Sr., head of a textile company, for his wife. The real motivation behind them were the fact that his wife complained about having to wear underwear, a garter and stockings. His goal was to create one garment that could repalce all three — hence the name "pantyhose."