Long, curved, deep black eyelashes have always been in. But how were they achieved before mascaras? The Toilette Of Health, Beauty, And Fashion, published in 1834, explains:
It is unnecessary to dwell on the beauty of long, silken, glossy eye-lashes, which have so often been the theme both of lovers and poets.
It is no less strange than true, however, that European beauties are quite inattentive to the growth of their eye-lashes; though in Circassia, Georgia, Persia, and Hindustan, it is one of the first objects of a mother’s care to promote the growth of her children’s eye-lashes.
If hair be left to itself, it seldom grows long; but either splits at the top into two or more forks, or becomes smaller and smaller till it end in a fine gossamer point. When it does so, it never grows any longer, but remains stationary.
The Circassian method of treating the eye-lashes is founded on this principle. The careful mother removes, with a pair of scissors, the forked and gossamer-like points (not more) of the eye-lashes, and every time this is done their growth is renewed, and they become long, close, finely curved, and of a silky gloss.
This operation of tipping may be repeated every month or six weeks. The eye-lashes of infants and children are best tipped when they are asleep. Ladies may, with a little care, do the office for themselves. — This secret must be invaluable to those whose eye-lashes have been thinned and dwarfed, as often happens from inflammation of the eyes.
The growth of the eye-lashes has been promoted, where they have been lost from sore eyes, by the following simple ointment:
Take ointment of nitric oxyde of mercury, 2 drachms
Hogs’ lard …. 1 drachm,
Incorporate the ointment well with the lard, and anoint the edges of the eye-lids night and morning; washing after each time with milk and water, warm.
To Blacken The Eye-Lashes And Eye-Brows
The simplest preparations for this purpose are the juice of elder-berries; burnt cork, or cloves burnt at the candle. Some employ the black of frankincense, resin, and mastic: this black, it is said, will not come off with perspiration.
Are you glad we have mascaras now? But back then, would you have used these concoctions?