Eyelashes are really having their day at the moment and isn’t it about time! When we see someone with naturally blessed long and full eyelashes, it’s easy for the green-eyed monster to show itself and stop at nothing until we have what they have. But what are the options? These days there are plenty of ways to enhance our eyelashes, and even if it means a temporary fix, we can fake our way through the day as one of the lucky ones with those beautiful long eyelashes.
It doesn’t always need to be so temporary though; with new and improved formulas for eyelash growth serums appearing on the market, we should all be able to find our inner lash goddess and enjoy the eyelashes we deserve on a more permanent basis. So, lets go through some of the questions about eyelash serums, like how they work to what they can achieve, and see if a serum can get you the lashes of your dreams.
What is an Eyelash Growth Serum?
We’ve all heard of serums for the skin, like face and hand serums and even serums for the hair to make it feel shinier and to control frizz, but an eyelash serum may be a new concept to a lot of people.
Eyelash serums are essentially formulated serums that boost and stimulate growth and enhance the appearance of eyelashes all in one. There are many ingredients that different companies use in their growth serums, but most will contain collagen, which is known for repairing and boosting cells in the skin and hair, and peptides which help to nourish and strengthen hair and eyelashes.
The formula itself can pack quite a punch in conjunction with well known natural ingredients and plant extracts that also promote healthy and fast growth to help eyelashes grow to their full potential without prematurely falling out, and even delay the next phase in the eyelash growth cycle to help eyelashes grow longer than they would normally.
What is the Eyelash Growth Cycle?
The eyelash growth cycle is as with all the different hairs on our bodies, a cycle that has different phases that last a certain amount of time before replenishing and growing in new hairs. All hair has to fall out at some point and the same goes for eyelashes, otherwise we would either have too many if they didn’t, or none at all if the cycle didn’t begin again.
There are three stages to the eyelash growth cycle, the anagen phase, the catagen phase and the telogen phase.
- Anagen – This is where the active growth of the individual lashes is taking place. The eyelash is still attached to the blood supply and is growing from the follicle to achieve its full length. This phase normally lasts anywhere from 30-90 days and the longer an eyelash stays in this phase, the longer it can grow.
- Catagen – This is also known as the transition phase and is where the eyelash has reached its maximum length and is detaching from the blood supply. The follicle shrinks and so the eyelash just waits for the next stage of the growth cycle. This phase normally lasts from 2-3 weeks.
- Telogen – This is also known as the resting or shedding phase of the cycle. The eyelash lays dormant until while the new hair starts to grow into the follicle below. Nothing really happens to the old eyelash here as it just sits and waits to fall out. This stage lasts a few months, but this also means that if an eyelash falls out during Catagen phase, the space will stay empty until the full cycle is completed and the new lash begins to grow in again.
What does the Eyelash Growth Cycle Mean for Your Eyelashes?
So, from the eyelash growth cycle, you can hopefully see why you may have a less full set of eyelashes at different times than you would at others. Approximately 40% of eyelashes are in the anagen or active growth phase at any one time, this means that there are always eyelashes growing in and always some that are ready to fall out, what you are left with is around 150-200 eyelashes on your upper lid in one go.
You can’t change the phases, but you can strengthen the individual hairs and follicles so that you get the most out of the growth and transition phases to avoid early lash loss. And this is where the eyelash growth serums come in.
How Does an Eyelash Serum Work?
Eyelashes are obviously a lot smaller than normal strands of hair on your head so that’s why you would usually get an eyelash serum in a smaller tube and use tiny applications to achieve the conditioning treatment side of it. Your lashes and skin surrounding it need to breath so a small amount of eyelash serum should be enough to pack a punch and keep yours in great shape.
When it comes to the growth side of things, boosting your eyelashes and follicles with vitamins and natural extracts that promote growth is the best way a serum helps. The growth serum’s active ingredients stimulate blood flow and encourage each little eyelash to grow throughout the first stage of the cycle.
How Often Should an Eyelash Growth Serum be Used?
To get the best out of an eyelash growth serum it has to be used regularly and not sporadically. Think about a course of vitamins or antibiotics, they only do their job fully when you complete the course and take them when you need to take them. An eyelash growth serum needs regularity to ensure that its ingredients work and build up on its own progress.
The Eyelash Conditioning Serum by Xlash is a great example of how often it should be used. This particular serum needs daily applications for at least 3 months. The best time to apply the growth serum is at night once the face has been cleansed of all makeup and is clean and clear, ready for bed.
Only a small amount of the serum would be needed, in a sweep over the upper eyelashes and left without rubbing in, to absorb into the skin and eyelashes and get to work while you rest. It is really important to do this without tonnes of mascara or eyeliner in the way as it just won’t be able to penetrate and do its job.
What are the Results from Doing This?
After about a three to four weeks of daily applications as described above, the serum should be well on its way to giving you visible results. The best way to see this would be to take some before pictures and compare them to what you see now. Added shine, stronger and longer eyelashes is the aim, but obviously everyone is different, and you may see results a little earlier or later than others.
For instantaneous results, an eyelash lift or eyelash extensions would be the way to go, so if you have a little less patience and need to boost your eyelashes for an event, wedding or holiday and want to go down the serum route, then it would be best to start your applications four to six weeks in advance so that when the day comes, your eyelashes not only look great but feel great too. Especially when going on holiday and exposing your eyelashes to the heat of the sun and the usual lashings of mascara, getting them into a great healthy state first is a good idea.
Can you Use an Eyelash Serum with Extensions?
So, you want the instant boost of eyelashes but also want to grow your natural lashes a bit longer and stronger too? It’s a great idea to use an eyelash serum with your extensions as the benefits of a prolonged growth phase and transition phase should mean that the natural lashes your extensions are attached to don’t fall out early.
As eyelash extensions only last as long as your natural one do, it makes sense to keep them in the best condition possible at all times. But not all eyelash serums are compatible with eyelash extensions so there are a few things you need to look out for before you buy or one. The glue for lash extensions is very strong but durable and can cope with most makeup and cleansing routines but there are some ingredients in a serum that may dissolve or loosen the glue.
In the interest of making your lash extensions last a long time and not wasting money due to them falling out early, check that the eyelash serum you want to use doesn’t contain certain oils like coconut oil or mineral oil. Most oils can cause the adhesive used for eyelash extensions to weaken easily and thus rendering your new extensions useless, and this is the last thing you want. Just give the ingredients a check over before you apply your serum and even ask you lash technician if you aren’t sure.
Aside from these oils and other ingredients like glycols that appear in some cosmetics, you should be good to go with your eyelash serum while you have lash extensions in and get the most out of the situation and for your money. After all, when your extensions stat to wear thin, it would be amazing to know that your natural eyelashes look and feel healthy, and hopefully with the added bonus of length too.
Can You Still Use Mascara with an Eyelash Serum?
There is no reason that you can’t wear your normal makeup with an eyelash serum unless you don’t want to in order to keep them in a really clear and healthy state. Mascara is a lifesaver for many of us out there, and when you get that temporary boost in colour and length it can be hard to stay away from it.
The only thing you really want to make sure is that you are cleansing properly each day and removing every last speck of mascara before applying your eyelash serum and going to bed. We are all guilty of forgetting to take our makeup off every now and then but routinely this should be something we put into practice every day and give our eyelashes the best chance at growth as possible.
When removing makeup, be wary of harsh cleansers and makeup removers that can harm your eyelashes or irritate the skin around them and be sure to use a soft cotton pad and work the remover in the direction of your eyelashes, outward or downward. Vigorous rubbing and too much pressure in the wrong direction can cause some eyelashes to come loose and fall out before they are meant to and as you know from the eyelash growth cycle, you could be waiting a long time for those particular eyelashes to grow back in fully.
Be particularly careful with waterproof mascara as this stuff really does cling on to each eyelash. There are cleansers like micellar water that really help to break down the makeup particles without treating your lashes too harshly but leave them clean and clear for your eyelash serum application.
So overall, eyelash serums are there to keep your eyelashes long, strong and vibrant and with regular applications to boost the growth process and maintain each lash for longer in their transition phase. There are many different homemade options that have been tried and tested over the years and ingredients that people swear by for their own eyelash growth, but really it is down to you and what work for your eyelashes. So, if you’re still wondering what eyelash serums do and if they are worth the venture… There’s only one way to find out!