Since the beginning of human history, the eyes have always held a special place in our concept of beauty. Charlotte Bronte famously said that eyes are the ‘faithful interpreter’ of the soul - and the concept of eyes as the truest version of ourselves is one that has stuck around. It’s little wonder then, that for millennia, women and men have been trying every trick in the book to make their eyes as attractive and beguiling as possible. From the early application of toxic chemicals to the wide-eyed fashion of the 60s, the story of this human obsession with beauty is a fascinating one. Take a trip with us through the ages to discover the history of all things eyes.
The earliest recorded cosmetics have been found in the tombs of Ancient Egypt where women and men used kohl and malachite to create exotic green and black-rimmed eyes. These daring face paints were not only used for aesthetic reasons, they also protected from the desert sun and warded off insects. Unfortunately, the kohl products in use were incredibly toxic and the Egyptian fashionistas may have been slowly poisoning themselves.
The mid-18th century saw a trend in porcelain skin that involved men and women using poisonous lead-based makeup all over their faces. This had the unfortunate side effect of hair loss, affecting the eyebrows in particular. When - in the latter part of the decade - defined eyebrows became fashionable, false eyebrows were often fashioned from mouse skin and stuck on with glue!
It took the wider world a long time to really latch on to the virtues of makeup which prior to the 20th century weaved in and out of fashion, often seen as something vulgar and reserved for prostitutes and actresses. But with the advent of early mascaras (thank you Maybelline) and the iconic flapper style characterised by early film stars, it truly took off. Dark-ringed sultry eyes were the order of the day paired with ruby red lips and heaps of attitude.
The period around the Second World War saw a more muted eye palate to match the sombre times. Eyebrows were arched but full and low-key colours were worn on the socket only. The 50s, however, brought with it optimism in the form of shimmering pastel shades and bold, heavily dressed lashes. Popularised by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, pale pretty eyeshadow was teamed with winged eyeliner to create a classic look we hanker for still.
The 60s was a time of liberation, freedom and wide-eyed sex appeal. A new generation of teenagers sought a look that was a world away from the classic femininity of their parents’ generation. Mascara was used in a new way to create spiky, larger-than-life lashes and a Twiggy-esque stare. Eyeliner was used both on the lash line and in the crease of the eye socket for double impact and paired with muted lips so that the eyes truly did the talking.
The 80s still holds the crown as the most fun decade of makeup, with eyes displaying a myriad of clashing hues and an anything-goes attitude. This is also a breakthrough era with makeup for men moving into the mainstream and major pop stars revelling in an androgynous look. Electric-blue eyeliner was a standout look and shadows were big and bold often worn up to a more natural, full eyebrow.
The 90s kicked against the exuberant bright shades of the 80s, with smoky eyes in shades of taupe and grey and delicately lined under eyes that chimed with a burgeoning indie and grunge scene. The brows were sleeker, slimmer and heavily lined. This was a matte look that spoke of natural beauty, and has seen a huge fashion comeback in recent years.
The early noughties saw a return to shimmering eye shades and neatly arched brows but fast forward to right now and it is the return of the full, heavy brow that defines our modern makeup look.
The leaps in makeup technology, modern gel liners and contouring products also mean that we have the flexibility to create almost any look we choose. What’s more, we can cherry-pick the best of decades gone by with the result that vintage looks come and go with the passing of the seasons.
The rise of male makeup is also a trend that can’t be underestimated. The popularity of male YouTube makeup stars mean that this may truly be the decade of a gender-equal approach to how we dress our eyes.
Whatever the future holds for our eyes, it’s a lot of fun looking back over what has gone before and imagining just what wild eye makeup trends the next few decades might bring.
Great experience and great after care. Had 2020 vision within 24 hours with very minimal pain.
Amazing experience , amazing staff, amazing eye sight . I had lens replacement 3 months ago and would highly recommend.
I got my laser eye surgery done on April 20th and couldn’t be happier. I had one hard day of recovery, followed by dry eyes for a small while. Sleeping with the protective goggles is the hardest part, but you’re helped throughout the process by experts. I couldn’t recommend this enough and Optilase were a dream to deal with. Even if you can’t afford the treatment now, you can always talk about a payment plan and get the vision you’ve always wanted.
I could not rate high enough, consultation was extremely informative and the staff were amazing, very friendly and answered all my questions with ease.
I had a wonderful experience in Optilase in Ely Place, the staff were so kind and helpful and made me feel really comfortable. Would absolutely recommend
Couldn't rate Optilase high enough. I had Lens Replacement Surgery. My experience from the first phone call to the procedure itself and the aftercare was fantastic. All of the staff from the call centre to the staff in Carrickmines and the theatre were so helpful and friendly. Would definitely recommend .
I had my PRK done on both eyes , and im happy with the result. The post operation pain was extreme but it settled down after 4 days. Now i feel great after 2 weeks post operation no complications what so ever , other than blurry vision now and then, but its improving every day
Got LASIK in Ely Place only yesterday and officially had 20/20 vision just 24 hours later! Cannot recommend Optilase enough from my initial consultation with Aisling in Athlone to my trips to Carrickmines and Ely Place. The staff really look after you from the moment you walk in the door and make you feel so at ease from start to finish - 10 out of 10 experience!
I highly recommend this place, reliable information and care, full professionalism.
LASIK was so easy and pain free. It’s one week post surgery and my eye sight is wonderful. I couldn’t recommend enough.
I no longer need glasses,absolutely life changing.Great aftercare,lovely staff.
I have been wearing glasses for over 20 years. I always hated wearing contact lenses and I got to a time in my life that I needed a change. A friend recommended optilase, I went for the free consultation and the person that did all the exams was really nice and I felt safe and confident enough to go ahead, I was recommended the PRK. I Put on a piece of paper how much I spent and would still spend on glasses for the next 10 years, and the surgery was for sure cheaper than that. My prescription was very high, both eyes, myopia and astigmatism Optilase provided all the information I needed, in clear manner. And they always made clear that there was nothing wrong with my eyes, it was my own choice to go for the surgery. The day of the surgery I was a bit nervous, who wouldn't? But then, from the reception to the surgeon, they were all so nice and welcoming. Hernandez performed the procedure, lovely surgeon, again all information was provided the way it should. I was instructed in what I should and should not do. The actual procedure took less than 15min, I felt nothing, no discomfort or anything. The whole process is very well done by the team, if I remember well around 3 people supporting the surgery plus one other girl providing pos surgery instructions. Right after the procedure I could already see much better than before without glasses! I couldn't believe it, I cried, thanked everyone and left the clinic knowing that I made the best choice. The recovery for PRK is a bit longer, I stayed for 2 full days no phones, or any screens. In the dark. If you have a little one, I would recommend to have someone minding them, as you are very limited in what you can do for the day of and day after surgery. It is hard to open the eyes, the second day after surgery was the toughest, I thought all went wrong as the vision got worst, but again I was advised it could happen. Note that this was my experience and could be different for other people. The 3rd day I felt nothing and could see much better already. Light sensitivity was very high, and still, 6 days after surgery, but nothing that a sun glasses would not help. My vision still blurred, but I need no glasses to see, my eyes feel dry sometimes, but the eye drops provided helps with it and and am very happy with the results already, even knowing it takes a bit longer to fully recover the vision. I'm back to work (screen at 200% to make sure I dont force my eyes too much) and I have had no headaches or anything, which I would have all the time looking at screens for most of my day. I cannot recommend Optilase enough, they are amazing! If you want to do something for your self and want a place you can trust, go for it, choose Optilase. Thanks to the whole team for one of the best things I did for my self!