They frame our eyes, they can finish off any look and they can add drama to any face, but did you know that eyelashes are not just accessories that we can flutter to get our way? Eyelashes are massively important and have a big job to do before they can even be considered a fantastic feature.
Eyelashes come in all shades, shapes and sizes and although we can change them, add to them, colour them, we should first consider the health benefits, how to look after them and how to get the best out of them. If you have ever wondered what makes eyelashes grow and how to make them grow longer, then read on and discover a whole new world to those lovely lashes that you didn’t know existed.
The Secret Behind Eyelashes
Our lashes are very sensitive little objects and they don’t just sit and look pretty, their purpose is to protect our eyes from any dust and debris that gets nearby and their own sensitivity is the ultimate warning to our eyes that something is approaching which is why we end up blinking. Very clever, hey?
They are also seen as a sign of beauty in many cultures and have been for centuries, with women as far back as Ancient Egypt wearing the earliest forms of mascara to enhance them and thus their beauty and stature of wealth within communities. In modern culture with such advancements in cosmetics, mascara, false lashes and extensions are the most common forms of enhancement, with extensions quickly taking the lead in the convenience stakes.
The Eyelash Growth Cycle
Something interesting about eyelashes is their growth cycle and how it works to make sure that you always have hundreds of eyelashes surrounding your eyes at any one point. The top row tends to have around 200 lashes while the bottom has approximately 100 and they vary in length, colour and shape.
Eyelashes go through a four to five month life span of three stages before they fall out, making way for brand new lashes in their place. The first stage is the anagen phase or the growth phase which is where the active life of the eyelash starts. The follicle begins to strengthen, and the lash begins to grow to start forming those beauties above your eyes. About 40% of your upper lashes are in the anagen phase at once which is a good thing as it means you always have eyelashes growing and resting at different periods and never have to go without and this stage lasts between 30 and 45 days so you are never too far away from a full set of lashes.
The next phase is the catagen phase which is also known as the transition phase. This one lasts around two to three weeks and is where the follicle starts to shrink. Each eyelash will have reached the end of its growth spurt and at this point they will be as strong as they can get. Sometimes eyelashes can fall out during this phase, especially due to unwanted pressure such as rubbing or excess stress like extensions or heavy makeup, and if they do this phase of the cycle has to complete before the next phase can start. This means that there can be longer gaps between individual eyelashes growing back if they are prone to falling out early.
The final phase of the growth cycles is the telogen phase also called the resting phase. This is where the follicle has finished shrinking and has weakened which means the eyelash in it is just resting until it is time to fall out. The good news is this phase can typically last around 100 days and it takes maybe four to six weeks for a new one to grow back into the new follicle. So, if you lose on average 5 lashes a day, you are never without too many for too long!
How to Get the Most Out of Your Eyelashes
Now seeing as our eyelashes seem to never rest, as much as the catagen and telogen phase tells us, we don’t really see the how fast they can actually grow and change over time. They can appear to always look like the same lashes we always had, and it can be hard to believe that the cycle is ever-changing as much as it is. But they are definitely always moving about, maybe not all of them at once but there is a lot happening there that gives us our full set of lashes and keeps them that way.
We have all probably had periods of time where our eyelashes are looking less than full and lack-lustre and this could simply be because more of our lashes have shed at one time than usual. This tends to happen either in spring or autumn where our bodies are preparing for the heat of summer or getting ready for new hairs and lashes in time for winter. But this isn’t always the case, and there may be other causes of our eyelashes not reaching their full potential and once you know the triggers it can be easier to manage and help your eyelashes grow stronger, longer and look healthier in the process.
Diet and Hydration
As with the rest of our bodies, what we put into our system can either negatively or positively affect our eyelashes. This means food, drink, vitamins and minerals and they all account for a lot of what goes right and wrong from time to time. You may have had unsettling bouts of dry skin, hair loss or even just noticed the sparkle has disappeared from where it was a few weeks ago. This can simply be due to lack of hydration, which is key to hair growth and healthy skin, so for your eyelashes this can mean shorter and sparser lashes for longer.
The truth is, if you want eyelashes that shine and last longer you are going to have to embrace some new habits and get rid of the old ones and if drinking enough water each day was never on the list of your priorities in the past then it definitely should be now so you can see results. The thing with drinking water is everybody expects to see those results instantly like it’s a quick fix, but actually it will just become one of those things where once day you just notice things are better. You may realise that your eyelashes are falling out less and that you don’t always need mascara anymore, but either way it’s a good thing in our book and if it helps eyelashes grow and stay strong then get with the new habit.
As far as diet is concerned, our body always needs nutrients to keep us strong so certain foods can be detrimental to our health or can rid our systems of the hydration we need. Salty foods for example, can dry out the hair and skin and eyelashes if we aren’t careful so it is best to have a balanced diet so that we get all the nutrients we need to feel and look healthy.
Diet alone cannot solely be responsible for the health of our eyelashes, but it certainly does help! There are a few foods that are rich in the vitamins we need to maintain healthy eyelashes and to promote growth and strength, so it is always worth doing your homework if you want lustrous liking lashes.
Salmon is one of the most highly recommended foods as far as nutrients go. Rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids, salmon is great for brain function, bone strength and because it is packed with vitamin D and B vitamins, it is also a great enhancer of hair growth. Eyelashes love a serving of salmon so think about getting this into your diet for all round good health and a set of lashes that won’t leave you upstream!
Eggs have always been high up the list in healthy foods and contain so much protein that they really pack a punch and let our bodies use the stored energy to full effect. They are packed with biotin which is great for promoting growth and strength and egg white mixtures are also known to be used as a homemade treatment for eyelashes when applied directly as they soak up all the goodness and can leave them looking really shiny.
Nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts are not only great for your own diet and personal health but also eyelash health as they contain the good fatty acids that are good for hair. Omega 3 and vitamin E are also the business when it comes to blood flow and strengthening the follicles so keep your lashes in place for longer and encourage growth quicker.
Anything that contains Vitamin A or Vitamin C is perfect for hair growth, cell and collagen production so this is where fruits such as berries and green vegetables come in handy as they are rich in these vitamins. Blueberries have high antioxidant properties too to ward off infections and keep the body healthy so getting a handful of these into your daily diet will reap benefits that go beyond eyelashes but overall, if you want them to grow long and strong, these are the miracle workers you never knew you needed.
Natural Remedies for Eyelash Growth
Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with long eyelashes to start with and sometimes illness or chronic conditions can have a less than positive effect on how fast they fall out and grow again. For the many, the only way to get those long luscious lashes that are so desirable is to rush to the salon for eyelash extensions or to pile on the mascara like it will never run out. But there are other ways to get the lashes you want and deserve without going to the extremes first and it is always worth considering before rushing into anything you may not be fully on board with yet.
There are plenty of natural remedies that people swear by to help skin look clearer and smoother, so it shouldn’t be a shock to find out that there are tricks that you can do for your eyelashes too. Tricks that can make them look healthier and shinier, make them stronger and above all enhance their growth and make them longer without the need for the entire back catalogue of your favourite mascara to try and fake it.
Castor oil is an all-round beauty secret and is used by people all over the world to treat various problematic areas such as sunburn or dry skin. So, for eyelashes it helps keep them smooth and clear all while promoting growth. With a cotton bud, apply a couple of drops of castor oil to the eyelashes at night before going to bed and leave it to go to work without the daily pressures of grime and dirt or makeup. It is said to enhance eyelash growth and within a few weeks you may start to notice a positive change in your lashes.
Petroleum jelly is out for discussion as to whether it help the growth of eyelashes, but what it definitely does is makes them smooth and soft and less brittle which in turn means they are healthier which in cycle would encourage healthy growth. It also acts as a protective barrier against dust and dirt particles and that alone can stop any cause for infection or need for rubbing. Healthier eyelashes are always the path to longer and stronger eyelashes, so it is definitely one to consider.
The gel from an Aloe Vera plant is packed with nutrients and antioxidants too which is real food for your eyelashes, so a good tip is to break off an Aloe Vera leaf and use a cotton tip to apply the gel to your eyelashes a couple of times a week. The gel stimulates growth and its healthy properties are the protection your lashes need to keep them strong, this way they will grow stronger and you will notice the benefits quite quickly.
Eyelash Serums for Eyelash Growth
When thinking about what makes eyelashes grow, we can either sit and hope for a miracle to happen, fight our way through the food cupboard in hope for something that acts as a homemade remedy or we can do something about it that has proven results and we know we can count on.
Eyelashes have a genetic makeup and the shape and size cannot be altered too much on a permanent basis but with the stress we put on our lashes on the regular, how can anyone expect their lashes to be at their full potential without trying. This is why serums work so well as it brings out the potential in our lashes and we can get the strength and the length that we have always lusted after.
The benefit of eyelash serums is that they are devised and formulated to target the areas that cause problems in eyelashes specifically so you can feel confident in knowing you are trying something that has your eyelashes in mind. By targeting the follicle, a serum’s main aim is to promote growth in a healthy way and keep you with a fuller looking set of lashes the whole time.
Xlash Eyelash Serum packs a mighty punch in just a small drop so it does everything from keeping the follicles clear and healthy, extend growth periods and enhance the colour and thickness of each individual lash. This particular serum comes with its own small brush and in a nifty little tube that you can take anywhere with you. It is best applied at night once makeup has been removed so your eyelashes are essentially a blank slate for the serum to work with. Each application does something within the follicle to stimulate blood flow and ward off any signs of infection keeping the skin and eyes brighter.
A serum designed purely for eyelashes may just be the miracle cure you have been looking for if you have a little patience. The health of your eyelashes will start to show almost immediately, but the growth will take a few weeks as it has to work with the cycle to get your eyelashes to their best self. Then one day, as long as you keep up with applications regularly you may just notice that you don’t need to reach straight for the mascara as your lashes suddenly have a bit more to them that you want to show off naturally. An eyelash serum for eyelash growth may just be what you needed to begin with, so it is worth a shot if you are in need of that little bit extra.
Makeup and Eye Makeup Removal
Ok, so makeup and makeup removal aren’t exactly growth stimulators, but it is important to know just what it is doing to your eyelashes so you can use it properly to prevent breakage and brittle eyelashes.
When you think about making your eyelashes look longer instantly, you go straight for the eyelash curler and mascara to enhance your looks and get the most out of them for the day. But the amount of stress you put on your lashes could be the reason they aren’t growing back as fast or as strong as they did before.
Waterproof mascara is a godsend especially when it comes to weddings as it stops you from looking like a weeping mess at the back of the event and instead can transform your tears into glistening tears of joy with a perfect face of makeup still intact! It can also be just what you need for rainy winter days as your lashes will stay looking as they did when you freshly applied your face that day. But waterproof mascara is notoriously hard to remove and provides little elasticity for your eyelashes so once its on, its most definitely on and the attempts to remove it alone can cause you to lose a few more than you would rather.
Eyelash curlers were designed with longer, curvier eyelashes in mind so they shouldn’t really be a compromise in using them. You should be able to use an eyelash curler with the confidence that your lashes will look their ultimate best once you have applied a lick of mascara afterward, not that they will cause your eyelashes to break off or become weak. But the truth is, continuous use could just do that, and an old set of curlers may not work the way they used to. If this is the case with yours, get rid and invest in a new pair that match the shape of your lashes to keep them long and strong when you use them.
Cleansing can be another inhibitor of growth, not so much that it stops them growing but your lashes may fall out sooner than you would like with vigorous rubbing and if this means that individual lashes fall out before they have entered the telogen phase than you have to wait for the follicle underneath it to finish its growth cycle before it will produce a new lash. This will result in sparser lashes and a set that look less full until the missing ones start to grow back.
So be sure to use a cleanser that is kind on your eyes and your eyelashes as well as making sure you remove your makeup each night. This is so important for eyelash growth as the build up of makeup and mascara can stunt growth, collect dirt and dust particles and lead to less than luscious looking lashes in the long run.
The main aim when considering eyelash grown is to act preventatively and not reactively. If you can do the diet thing, keep some natural remedies to hand, get to grips with an eyelash serum and embrace its healthy properties then you are already half-way to longer and stronger eyelashes. Then you just need to be careful to treat your lashes as delicately as they are when you apply makeup and then remove it again, your eyelashes will start paying you back by looking shiny and strong.