Whether you have worn mascara once in your life or have been an avid fan of eyelash extensions for years, there are always questions surrounding eyelashes and how to really take care of them that you may want answered. So, what better way to put these questions together once and for all and have the answers in one place ready for you to refer to when you need it.
You have the questions, and we have the answers. Hopefully, these will solve some of the eyelash mysteries and myths that you have been dying to know.
Why do we have Eyelashes?
Often signified as an emphasis of beauty, it can be hard to think about eyelashes having an actual function. But they are particularly important, even if they don’t seem to have much purpose other than decorating our eyes.
Eyelash hairs actually have two functions. The first, to protect our eyes from debris and dust that may try to fall into them. We have all experienced windy days where it is a natural reaction to purse our eyes to stop dirt, sand or particles from getting to them and our eyelashes act as that addition barrier to catch those particles, leaving our eyes clean and clear.
The second is to act as a warning sign that danger is close. Think about the whiskers on a cat, they are extremely sensitive and alert the body that there is something too close. Eyelashes have the same function and cause an instant reaction of closing the eye so that they are protected from anything coming toward them in a close proximity.
They may be small and great to make up with mascara, but they are essential, so it is important to look after them.
What is the Eyelash Growth Cycle?
The eyelash growth cycle may not be something you think about, but it can be important to know a little bit about it so that if you are having a bad lash day, you can rest assured that it may just be part of your eyelash growth cycle. It can also help you to recognise when it might be time to do something about it.
There are three stages to the eyelash growth cycle and overall, the whole cycle lasts around 5-6 months. The first stage is the ANAGEN phase or growth phase. This lasts anywhere between 30 and 45 days and is where the individual eyelashes are growing into full length within its follicle.
The second stage is the CATAGEN phase or the transition phase and this can last somewhere between 2-3 weeks. The hair has reached its maximum length and the follicle begins to shrink ready to push the hair out. Eyelashes that fall out in this phase will not regrow straight away as this and the next stage of the cycle need to complete their part.
What is a Normal Number of Eyelashes to Lose per Day?
When it comes to learning about the eyelash growth cycle, it is important not to worry too much about losing eyelashes or not losing any at all. Individual eyelashes go through the cycle at different times so there will never be a time where all of your eyelashes are in the telogen phase at the same time.
In fact, losing eyelashes is quite normal and we can lose between 1 and 4 eyelashes per day on average. Of course this isn’t an exact science as it is hard to track from person to person, but it gives a good indication of whether your lashes are in the right zone for loss or whether you may have an underlying problem causing them to fall out more than they should.
What is the Proper Way to Cleanse Your Eyelashes?
Harsh cleansing can be the cause of premature eyelash loss and not cleansing enough can be the reason for infections or unhealthy eyelashes that may not reach their full potential, so it is important to find the balance.
To start with, always clean makeup like mascara and eyeliner daily with a specific makeup remover for the eyes. It is important you aren’t using harsh products near your eyes anyway to prevent irritation but also because the skin around them including your eyelash follicles, are all very delicate and sensitive to a lot of products.
When taking mascara off always use a wet cotton pad or gentle sponge and makeup remover and try not to rub too hard. Rub in the direction of the eyelash growth and away from the eyes to prevent unwanted eyelash loss and so that you don’t end up rubbing makeup residue back into your eyes.
It is also important to clean your whole face with a gentle cleanser after using a makeup remover as that is only designed to get rid of mascara and foundation, but not the dust or dirt particles that may still be clinging on, which is what a cleanser grabs hold of.
Do you need to Moisturise Your Eyelashes?
Quite simply, yes! Every part of your face will need a little hydration from a light moisturiser each day and your eyelashes are no different. Hydration is a massive factor in healthy skin and hair, so in eyelashes it prevents dryness, extra breakage or brittleness and promotes longer lasting health.
The best time to do it is after cleansing and before bed so that your eyelashes get the full benefit of hydration. What better time to look after our eyelashes while you sleep with no extra effort involved. So yes, keeping lashes moisturised is essential.
Is Petroleum Jelly Good for Eyelashes?
This has long been a debate but as the saying goes, “everything in moderation”. Petroleum jelly has hydrating and moisturising properties but it is also very thick and oily so it may not be good for long-term use or for people with already oily skin as petroleum jellies such as Vaseline is hard to apply to eyelashes alone.
Vaseline has so many different uses so it should be no surprise that acting as an eyelash moisturiser is one of those things. As it has hydrating properties and retaining power it can help make eyelashes smoother, stronger and more likely to stick around during the eyelash growth cycle rather than break off. Overall, it can’t really help with eyelash growth, but it can help with eyelash health and strength when used properly.
Should you Use Homemade Solutions for Eyelash Growth?
Again, the jury is still out on this one. While it can’t hurt to use certain homemade remedies for eyelash health, it may not have much benefit, especially in the growth department. There are many old wives’ tales as well as recipes for moisturisers and they can all easily be found at the touch of a button on the internet. But it can be difficult to know which ones work and which don’t as we are all different and what works for someone may not work for others.
Take green tea for example, it has great antioxidant properties to rid the eye area and eyelashes of bad things, germs and potential infections but it can be dehydrating if used too much. But then some people will sewar by using green teabags as a remedy for their eyelash growth. It has a lot to do with keeping eyelashes healthy until they are ready to fall out and if a certain homemade remedy does this for you then you will get the full benefit from that method.
Other remedies include concoctions of olive oil and lemon juice, or castor oil with vitamin E. While they all have properties that can assist with eyelash strength, the fact that there is a daily routine with regards to eyelash health will have more to do with the success rate than the actual product.
What do Eyelash Serums Do?
Eyelash serums are relatively new products that have arisen out of need to look after eyelashes seeing as we put them through their paces daily with makeup, mascara, cleansing, false lash applications and eyelash extensions. Eyelashes were starting to become a neglected part of our faces and their health was starting to become a thing of question.
Second, they can help eyelashes to grow. Now, an eyelash growth serum may sound like it’s too good to be true, but the fact is they have been scientifically designed to get the most out of your eyelashes. Take the Eyelash Serum by Xlash as an example, formulated with natural ingredients, plant extracts and it is oil free so it can be used with eyelash extensions so that the natural lashes have a chance to grow longer and stronger even with the adhesives that are used.
Eyelash growth serums are also really easy and convenient to use. Instead of mixing up a daily concoction of oils and juices, it is as simple as gliding a small wand over the eyelashes each night after cleansing and letting the work happen while you sleep. For that reason alone, eyelash serums are going to be around for a long time, with the added bonuses of great eyelash health and beautifully long lashes.
Are Eyelash Extensions Damaging?
Over a long period of time and with multiple top up, yes, eyelash extensions can have an adverse effect on eyelashes, but in general these days they are applied with such care by professionals that in the short-term they are kept healthy and in a good condition.
What you have to remember is that applying anything foreign on a semi-permanent level to the body will have a negative effect. Think about hair extensions and how they have to be upkept while they are in place. The proud owner has to make sure they are prepared for that dedication and are also prepared for the additional weight being applied to their natural hair. The same goes for eyelashes, although already quite light, the extra weight of adhesive and extensions can start to weigh down natural lashes over time or cause short-term breakage.
Eyelash extensions are a pretty price though and not one that people would be willing to pay if they knew they had to then pay to repair their eyelashes afterward, so they are indeed a good thing for those who have had enough of mascara, want to go on holiday and look fantastic without any fuss or for the people that just love a good long eyelash without having to wait for an eyelash serum to get to work.
Does Mascara Ruin Eyelashes?
As above, any foreign object applied to our eyelashes is going to eventually have a negative effect. But overall, mascara shouldn’t be damaging to eyelashes as long as it is applied and cleansed with care.
Waterproof mascara however is designed to stay put for long periods of time come rain or shine, so it definitely is harder to remove. The act of cleansing the eyelashes alone is enough to damage the eyelashes through rigorous rubbing so it is especially important to save waterproof mascara for those special occasions where it is needed.
The other problem with mascara is when it isn’t removed. And I know we are all guilty of doing this from one time or another, but we never want to admit it. Removing makeup at the end of the day is so important as it will clog those all-important pores and lead to break outs. When mascara is left on overnight it can cause more damage in the long term than you want to even think about. First, it cakes the lashes in a thick substance that prevents hydration and oxygen from getting in and second, when you sleep in mascara you may cause your lashes to bend in a certain way if you slum into your pillow after a hard day. The mascara will soften enough to contort and bend your eyelash in ways you can’t imagine, meaning they are more susceptible to falling out or breaking.
Use mascara wisely and carefully and cleanse each night before bed so that they don’t feel the unwanted damage going forward.