There are many things in this world that function so well we rarely stop to think about how they work. The truth of the matter is a lot of the time is best left to the experts to figure out the science behind it while we, the consumer, obliviously use products and praise their existence.
But if you actually take a peek behind the curtain you may find that the functionality of a product is worth knowing so you know how to get the best out of it. Take an eyelash serum for example. We buy, we apply and then we sit and wait for results. But to get the best out of an eyelash serum it is best to know what is in it, how it works, when to use it and how to apply it properly. This way, instead of sitting and waiting, we can build trust in the process and happily carry on with our days knowing that in just a few short weeks we will have the eyelashes we have only dreamed of having naturally.
What are Eyelashes made up of?
Those tiny little things lining your eyes actually have a lot packed into them. Aside from being made up of water, they contain keratin which is a naturally occurring protein that materialises in the human body along with other proteins that help give them colour and strength. They get their nourishment from deep in the follicle which is essentially the feeding ground for eyelashes to grow.
Eyelashes can grow in all different lengths and sizes but usually averaging around 8mm. They come in all different colours and vary in shape, some more curved whereas others tend to grow a little straighter. Once and eyelash falls out it can take anywhere from 7-8 weeks on average to grow back and they follow their own growth cycle that can be affected by weather and season, diet and hydration and eyelashes can fall out due to harsh cleansing, makeup use, overuse of false lashes or extensions amongst other reasons.
Eyelashes don’t grow in one straight line, in fact they usually grow in 3-5 layers on the upper eyelid, which is why when some fall out, you don’t really notice as you aren’t left with huge gaps where those fallen eyelashes once stood.
They are sensitive to the touch and are basically there to protect our eyes from dust and other particles that may try to find their way in. Similar to whiskers on cats, when something touches them it triggers a reflex. When something comes into contact with your eyelashes your eyes usually close because of this reflex, thus protecting those sparkly irises. Fantastic, really aren’t they!
There are usually between 74 and 100 eyelashes on your upper lid and between 60 and 80 on the bottom row and they tend to curve outward which acts as another protective function by allowing sweat or other moisture to slide downward and away from the eye.
The Eyelash Growth Cycle
So, I mentioned that eyelashes have their own growth cycle and this can be important to know before you start your journey with an eyelash growth serum so you can tell for yourself why they might not be growing in at the same time or as fast as your thought.
There are three stages to the eyelash growth cycle:
- The Anagen (Growth) Phase – This stage is the most important. It is where the eyelashes are growing in to become the best they will look and the healthiest they will feel. This stage lasts between 30-45 days and is where the lash grows from deep in the follicle, gathering nourishment so they keep their strength throughout their cycle. This is important to know for when you are using an eyelash growth serum as this is where your lashes will really feel the benefit of the nourishment they are getting from it.
- The Catagen (Transition) Phase – This transitional period is where the eyelash actually stays the same and the follicle is changing. It prepares to close up, starts to dry out and essentially get ready to kick the eyelash out. This phase can last between 2 and 3 weeks and while the eyelash remains exactly in place, it can become looser as it isn’t getting the same nourishment as it was in its growth phase. Even if an eyelash falls out during this stage of the growth cycle, the Catagen phase still needs to complete its part in the cycle before it can move onto the next stage, so they won’t start growing back in until the cycle is complete. This is why you may see there are more gaps than usual for longer if your eyelashes tend to come out during the catagen phase.
- The Telogen (Resting) Phase – This is the longest phase of the eyelash growth cycle and begins with the follicle completely shrinking to make way for a new eyelash to take its place. Eyelashes usually fall out during this stage and new ones are beginning to grow underneath the surface. So, although it may look like not much is happening on top, there is a lot of work going on below. This stage can last up to 100 days and returns to the anagen phase where the new eyelash is in need of nourishment in its follicle to help it to grow long and strong.
Interesting, isn’t it! But don’t worry, when it comes to the eyelash growth cycle, not all of your eyelashes are going through the same stage at the same time so that’s why you wouldn’t have too many bare spots at any one time.
This does mean though, that in order to keep your existing eyelashes in place for as long as possible you should think about the health of your lashes which is where an eyelash serum comes in…
How Eyelash Serums Work
Each eyelash serum on the market is obviously slightly different in ingredient, but they all have the same objective: Strengthen and lengthen your eyelashes. The difference usually lies in tried and tested methods and where some contain ingredients that have potential to cause irritation, one particular brand, Xlash focus their attention on formulas that work well and are not harmful to your lashes, follicles or eyes.
To use this example then, Xlash Eyelash Serum has healthy lashes in mind while strongly promoting its ability to lengthen your eyelashes in just a few weeks. Its active ingredients combine with the existing keratin in your lashes to fill in gaps and strengthen the hold of each follicle. When I mentioned earlier that the anagen phase in the eyelash growth cycles is the most important when it comes to an eyelash serum, I wasn’t lying! This is where the magic happens and is the exact time in the cycle where the serum has the most important role to play.
One of the key ingredients is hyaluronic acid which helps to nourish and hydrate your eyelashes and extend activity in the follicle area. This is essential for them to hold them off from drying out and becoming brittle which with unhealthy lashes is the first stepping-stone toward them breaking off or falling out more often.
Xlash Eyelash Serum also proudly contains B Vitamins and natural botanical extracts that help to repair already damaged lashes from overuse of mascara or from little nourishment or care in the past and is paraben and oil free so it can also be used with eyelash extensions safely and without risk of their adhesive coming loose.
Eyelash Serums have long promoted their ability to help you get longer lashes and while it isn’t just a magic trick that helps your eyelashes grow millimetres overnight, it does really push the need to keep your follicles strong with daily use so that when your new lashes grow in and are at the catagen phase in their growth cycle, you will be able to see how capable they are of growing longer than before. Which brings me onto another point…
How to Care for your Eyelashes
It is easy to go out and buy an eyelash growth serum and apply it every now and then, only to get frustrated when you don’t see the results you expected. The trick is to make it part of your routine and this includes makeup use, cleansing, diet and plenty of good sleep! We wouldn’t use a moisturiser on our face just once and wonder why we don’t have smooth and silky skin in a month’s time, so the same goes for eyelashes, we have to be consistent to get great results.
So, how should you apply this to your eyelashes? Well, the first step is to think about what damage you may already be doing to your existing eyelashes and see if there is a way to reduce this. For example, your mascara use.
Now, who doesn’t love mascara! I know I can’t live without it sometimes, but in the interest of having longer and stronger eyelashes and putting your eyelash serum to good use, it might be time to think about dropping it from your daily routine, maybe not entirely but at least to give your lovely lashes some time to breathe. It can become so normal to apply mascara with the rest of your makeup first thing in the morning, but maybe a few days a week, you could let them have the day off.
If you can’t do this, then the next step is to check which mascara you’re using and see if it has potential to cause more damage than is worth. Waterproof and water-resistant mascaras tend to be quite dehydrating, sticky and acts as a barrier to keep hydration out and the bad stuff in. Aside from this, waterproof mascara can be really tricky to remove and puts immense pressure on your individual eyelashes when they have to be pulled or twisted to get the mascara completely off. Save waterproof mascara for special occasions only!
The next thing you need to think about is your cleansing routine. Now, how many of us can honestly say that we’ve never slept in our mascara? Probably not very many. But this has to change, especially if you are guilty of doing this more often than not. Mascara provides a coating that is luscious at the time of application but after a few hours can start to look dry and clumpy, especially if you sleep in it. Again, it stops the good from getting in and the bad from getting out if it is worn constantly, eyelashes need a break from heavy oil-based products, or they won’t be able to withstand heavy makeup use in future.
Start your nightly cleansing routine with a gentle face wash and then use a soft cotton pad with a specific cleanser for eye makeup checking its ingredients are free of irritants and contain a lot of water. Once you have a clean and clear face at night, you may choose to moisturise, but try not to put anything on those eyelashes or close to them on your eyelid as these type of heavy lotions may clog those pores and leave your eyelashes unable to breathe.
This is where your eyelash serum comes in! Being super soft and gently on the skin around the eye and strong on the follicle, all you need to do is apply a thin strip of the serum using the specially shaped wand across the top row of lashes, close to the root. Let the serum sink in, with Xlash Eyelash Serum there won’t be any sticky residue or fragrance that may cause redness, then you simply go to bed.
I can’t promise you that you will get good night sleep, but I can say that with this routine after 3-4 weeks you will start noticing a big difference with your eyelashes. They will be healthy and shiny looking in appearance, they will be more vibrant in colour and you should even notice extra length on the ones that have been growing in as you’ve been applying the serum.
You don’t need to worry about overloading your eyelashes with serum, it only needs to be applied once a day and as you can use it with your extensions, if you have them, you may even notice that by the time your next appointment rolls around you are happy with your new, longer, stronger natural lashes. What a result!
So, there’s your guide to eyelash serum, hopefully now you have a bit more insight into the workings of your lashes and the serums that help them become the best they have ever been! Good luck on your own eyelash serum adventure and have lashings of fun!