When you meet a person for the first time, you tend to notice their appearance first, since it is right in front of you, unlike other personality traits which may take more time to discern. If online forums are anything to go by, most people agree that the first feature of a person’s appearance that they notice is a person’s eyes.
It is no wonder then, that people spend time and money into their appearance and personal grooming, of which eyes are a top contender. Of these, the two prominent aspects that can be groomed are eyelashes and eyebrows.
Eyelashes are the tiny hairs present on the lining of one’s eyelids, varying in length, thickness and curvature. Eyelashes are trimmed and groomed, but besides appearance, they also have functional values. They serve to protect the eyes against excessive moisture, dirt, germs, drying out too quickly, etc.
Just like the hair on one’s head, eyelashes are also prone to falling (remember when you’d grab a stray lash and make a wish?). And like hair, it is normal for eyelashes to fall. It is of concern only if the lashes are falling at an irregular rate.
This could happen for a number of reasons, which are listed in the sections below. But once they fall or are plucked out, how long does it take eyelashes to grow back? To understand this better, it is important to know the phases of its growth cycle.
Table of Contents
- Phases in Eyelash Growth
- Can Your Eyelashes Grow Back?
- Why Do Eyelashes Fall Out?
- Prevention of Eyelash Loss
- Accelerating Eyelash Growth
- Products in the Market
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about eyelashes
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Phases in Eyelash Growth
There are typically three phases in the life cycle of the eyelash follicle. These are known as the growth, degradation and resting phases. Let’s study what each phase consists of:
1. Growth Phase (Anagen)
This is the phase during which one’s eyelashes actually grow in length. It typically lasts anywhere between 4-10 weeks, at which time the daily rate of lash growth is expected to be around 0.12-0.14mm.
2. Degradation Phase (Catagen)
This is the shortest phase in the growth cycle of eyelashes, lasting around 2 weeks. During this time, the lashes stop growing and shrinkage of hair follicles occurs, which stunts growth entirely. It may also be referred to as the transition phase.
3. Resting Phase (Telogen)
The longest and final phase of the eyelashes’ growth cycle is marked by the natural falling out of one’s lashes in a regular amount. It happens over the span of 4-9 months and the lashes fall in intervals, rather than in clumps or all at once.
During the growth phase, the rate of growth (which is in millimeters) and the time span (around 2 months) is very less as compared to hair growth, which is the reason why eyelashes do not grow past a certain length (estimated to be around 12mm or 1.2cm). The length of one’s eyelashes can be dependent on a variety of factors, including genetics, grooming practices, product application, etc.
Research on eyelash follicle shows that the curvature of lashes, like hair, may be dependent on follicles. However, everyone’s lashes are curved to a certain extent.
Eyelashes are also some of the most pigmented in one’s body and their pigmentation lasts a very long time, as can be seen from the minimal greying of people’s lashes over time.
Can Your Eyelashes Grow Back?
Yes, it is possible for your eyelashes to grow back, especially if no lasting trauma has occurred to the follicles of hair. Consistent stress to the eyelid can cause such irreversible trauma which is why one is advised against rubbing their eyes too much.
Without this, lashes can grow back either naturally in their cycle, or with the help of protective measures, lash serums that are meant to enhance and improve growth and persistent efforts without giving up. It is important to understand the reasons why our lashes may fall or break which can help us decide what our next course of action must be. Read on to find out what these reasons are.
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Why Do Eyelashes Fall Out?
As aforementioned, eyelashes may fall naturally in their life cycle, but if not, the loss may be caused by a variety of factors. These reasons may range from styling mistakes, physical or mental health conditions, beauty or health procedures.
Singed eyelashes may be caused by lit cigarettes, heated eyelash curlers, getting too close to flames, etc.
2. Excessive Friction:
Due to rubbing either by one’s own hands or by external objects like eye masks, the friction caused may cause eyelashes to fall.
3. Cosmetic Products:
Makeup left on for too long, expired makeup or makeup unsuitable to one’s body can cause adverse effects.
4. Cosmetic Procedures:
Lash extensions are very popular and common in the present day and age. Since the extensions are placed at the natural lash line and glued on, they can harm the natural lashes especially when pulled out after the suggested time period. Furthermore, allergic reactions to the glue used can also affect the lashes negatively.
5. Physical Disorders Relating to the Eye:
These lesser-known disorders that affect one’s eyelashes can cause the loss of lashes in significant amounts. Some of them include: blepharitis, dermatitis, madarosis, trichiasis, stye, etc. It is important to consult a doctor so as to detect such conditions at the earliest and get appropriate treatment options for the same.
It is a mental disorder that causes people to pull out hair from various parts of one’s body, including eyelashes, scalp, eyebrows, etc.
Extreme stress is often associated with hair loss, and in a similar manner, it may also affect the rate of loss of eyelashes as well.
8. Health Conditions:
Fluctuations in one’s health can also impact one’s lashes, like thyroid conditions. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss all over the body. Chemotherapy, which is used to treat health conditions like cancer, may also cause lash loss.
There are measures listed below that one can take to prevent the excessive falling of lashes, by maintaining and improving the health of one’s lashes and allowing them to breathe once in a while.
If you are suffering from any health conditions and are on medications for the same, some of them may cause hair fall, including those of your lashes. They typically grow back again after the course of medication has ended.
Keep all of these pointers in mind before fearfully buying products to regrow your lashes. Remember, in anything, patience is key!
Prevention of Eyelash Loss
Firstly, it must be noted that if you are unable to determine whether the number of eyelashes that you are losing is normal, schedule an appointment with a consultant.
You may be suffering from one of the aforementioned conditions and timely help will lead to healing at the earliest.
Besides consultations, it is also recommended to follow some protective measures to ensure that you are taking good care of your eyelashes. These include:
1. Removal of Makeup:
Tempted to go to sleep right after coming home from a night out? This could be a terrible idea for your lashes and your skin in general! Thus, it is important to thoroughly cleanse your face and ensure that there is no residual makeup on your skin. However, this does not require excessive rubbing and instead, one should use gentle soap cleansers with cotton pads or cotton cloths.
2. Cleaning Lash Extensions:
If you are someone who wears lash extensions, ensure you take good care of them so as to protect your natural lashes as well as the extensions. This can be done by using micellar makeup remover or gentle soap cleansers. Without this, you could run the risk of built-up bacteria, dirt, excess sweat, etc.
3. Pay Attention to Ingredients:
Whether it be your eye makeup or the glue in lash extensions, carefully spend some time going through or discussing the ingredient list so as to prevent avoidable allergic reactions. Always make sure that you are extra careful with products used on your eyes as they can also affect vision.
4. Healthy Diet:
As is the case with most tips about one’s body and health, the maintenance of a healthy diet with appropriate amounts of water can aid in overall health and lash health as well.
5. Avoid Rubbing and Pulling Eyelashes:
Be gentle as and when you apply makeup, remove it, or are experiencing itchy eyes. Use a soft cotton cloth and wipe down your eyes gently, making them wet if necessary. (This does not apply to people with trichotillomania, as it is important to get to the root of one’s compulsions for the prevention of excessive pulling of hairs).
6. Professional Procedures:
Ensure that you visit a trained professional while getting eyelash extensions and also while removing them, as this could determine the health of your natural lashes. If you are adding the extensions on your own, make sure that you research and learn the procedure well, either from a professional directly or from verified reviewed videos.
7. Avoid Eyelash Lotions:
There are a number of products in the market these days advertising things you may not necessarily require. Eyelids naturally lubricate lashes and maintain its inherent health. Unless recommended by a doctor, avoid the usage of lotions and moisturizers.
8. Careful Usage of Makeup Tools:
Avoid the usage of eyelash curlers, especially heated ones, as much as possible as they strain the lashes causing them to break or fall. However, if you wish to use them, be very careful and gentle while doing so.
Remember that it is okay to lose a few eyelash hairs, despite following all or as many protective measures as possible. Over time, due to aging, this number may increase which is also very normal.
Accelerating Eyelash Growth
Whether you’ve just accidentally singed off your eyelashes, plucked them out, or noticed them fall out, you may be wondering how to grow them back as soon as possible. You may also just want them to grow out longer and thicker as a personal preference.
Whatever the case may be, this isn’t impossible although one would have to be very patient. The methods listed below would take time to manifest in one’s appearance, should it do so at all. Most of the methods are natural remedies, which are not scientifically backed and thus, results may be minimal or may take a very long time to manifest.
Here are some methods that are typically suggested for eyelash (or even hair) growth:
1. Lash Growth Serums:
Investing in an FDA-approved serum is a good choice to lengthen, grow or regrow one’s lashes. While doing so, it is important to follow all precautionary measures and follow application instructions as carefully as possible.
Popular eyelash growth serums are listed in the following section; however, it is important to note that only one FDA-approved serum called Latisse exists.
2. Diet and Supplements:
You can accelerate the growth of your eyelashes by remembering that they, like the hairs on your head, are little hairs lining your eyelid. Therefore, maintaining one’s own health can aid in the process of lash growth, since a healthy body is more likely to have healthy hair.
Hair on one’s scalp and eyelash hair are both structurally similar and thus, keratin is the primary component. According to research, different types of amino acids are helpful in the formation of keratin in the body. Related supplements could aid in eyelash growth.
3. Gentle Eyelash Care:
Caring for your eyelashes allows them to live their full lifecycle without hindrance, enabling them to fall out in healthy numbers. This could mean a number of different things:
- Brushing eyelashes with brushes designed specifically for your lash
- Washing your face and eyes gently, without excessive rubbing
- Maintaining extra caution while choosing products for your lashes and eyebrows
4. Usage of Oils for Eyelash Growth:
Two of the most popular oils that are suggested for eyelash growth are:
A) Vitamin E:
Vitamin E for eyelash growth has been recommended for a very long time and research has shown that it has aided in overcoming hair loss in alopecia patients.
For the research, patients had orally ingested mixed tocotrienols, which is a member of the vitamin E family. Thus, the vitamin is either administered orally or applied as an oil on one’s head. However, in this case, it can be applied to the eyelashes. Dilution of vitamin E prior to application is recommended. Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties are likely to be the reason behind its hair growth properties.
B) Castor Oil:
Castor oil for hair, eyelash and eyebrow growth is one of the internet’s most commonly suggested natural remedies. Although there is no scientific evidence to back any hair-growing properties of the oil, it still remains ever-popular.
One possible reason for this ever-present remedy of castor oil could be that it contains high amounts of vitamin E, which as aforementioned, has been seen to possibly aid in the process of hair growth. Furthermore, castor oil by virtue of its moisturizing and nourishing properties could help you retain the health of your existing lashes. Thus, it could help prevent the breakage or drying of hair.
Note: While using oils, ensure that they do not enter into your eyes as it can be uncomfortable and cause irritation. Also, make sure that it is suitable for you to use (keeping in mind allergies, pregnancy, etc.)
5. Other Oils and Gels:
Many oils are suggested for hair growth, which is similarly suggested for eyelashes as well. These include coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, argon oil, etc. and may possibly help by moisturizing, preventing the lashes from breaking and maintaining their health.
Aloe Vera gel is another natural remedy that is often suggested for hair protection and growth, but extra caution must be maintained while applying it since its gel consistency makes it easier to slip into one’s eyes and cause irritation.
Products in the Market
A number of serums present in the market claim to be lash growth enhancers often touted as revolutionary and marketed with ‘guaranteed efficiency.’ However, one must always be wary of such claims and only obtain products after consultation with medical experts.
If you wish to purchase an eyelash enhancer, it is important to thoroughly research it and its ingredients, and ensure that it does not react negatively with any medications that you may be taking.
1. Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution)
Latisse, a product of Allergan,is FDA-approved. It is a prescription drug whose ingredients are actually used to treat eye pressure, like glaucoma.
Lumigan is another version of the same, however with a slightly different composition but meant to show the same results. It increases the length of lashes by affecting the anagen (growth) phase of the lashes and increasing it, thereby allowing it to grow further.
However, the product Latisse comes with a special applicator for the eyelashes, that are single-use so as to ensure that bacterial build-up is avoided as much as possible.
Another factor to note is that eyelash length is said to return to its previous length and appearance should the product usage be discontinued.
How to Use:
Step 1: Remove all products, contact lenses, and makeup from one’s face and ensure a clean base. Other facial care products should not be applied after the application of Latisse serum.
Step 2: Pick any sterile, fresh product applicator and place a drop of the serum solution on it.
Step 3: Apply at the base (where the lashes meet the eye) of the upper eyelid only and do not apply on the lower eyelid.
Step 4: From the corners of eyes, blot out excess product so as to avoid entry into the eyes or onto other parts of the face and cause undue hair growth.
Step 5: Throw the used applicator after every use, including after usage on one eye. A fresh applicator must be used for the other eye.
Side effects: Usage of any prescription drugs must be considered for side effects prior to beginning the course. Some of the possible side effects of Latisse are:
a) Itchy sensation in or around the eyes
b) Redness of eyes
c) Irritation, redness and darkening of the skin around where the product is applied (which may be reversible).
Thus, it is always recommended to only obtain the product after a prescription from a doctor and a thorough evaluation of personal medical history and conditions.
2. Viebeauti Eyelash Growth Serum:
Another popular eyelash serum advertises the growth of lashes in two weeks. It is not a prescription drug, and hence can be bought directly from the website. The method of application is like that of eyeliner and differs from Latisse in that it can be used on both eyelids and even twice a day.
Although not FDA-approved, if the reviews are anything to go by, their popularity appears to make a positive statement on their effectiveness. This serum’s usage also makes people susceptible to similar side effects as that of Latisse, so use it with caution.
3. Augustinus Bader’s ‘The Eyebrow and Lash Enhancing Serum’:
The brand has been advocated by the Kardashians especially Kim, amongst many others. Since then, this product has grown in popularity and has been touted as effective by many reviewers online. However, it is slightly on the higher end of the price spectrum.
Multiple serums are recommended by people across the globe, however, what should be noted is that besides Latisse, most serums only appear to improve the condition of existing lashes rather than make it grow in length.
Eyelashes can be accessorizing to one’s features and face and thus, it is a primary area of focus in beauty and facial care. In a world where beauty is prioritized and glamourized, it is no surprise that increased attention is being paid to eyelashes and other facial hair.
Notwithstanding the aesthetic characteristics of eyelashes, their functional roles are also pivotal to a person’s optic health. Hence, it is recommended to follow the protective measures listed and use any and every product only after careful consideration.
Always remember: beauty is subjective, and trends change over time, so fret not if you have a stray lash every now and then. Aging, eh?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about eyelashes
Does crying make eyelashes longer?
Crying does not make one’s eyelashes longer. It is merely a myth that has been debunked. Although crying does provide an emotional release, it cannot make your eyelashes grow any longer.
At best, it can help a person de-stress and may also moisturize their lashes. As mentioned above, Latisse is the only product that promotes an increase in lash length.
How long do eyelashes take to grow?
Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer since everybody’s bodies react differently and are genetically varied if no lasting damage has occurred to the lash follicle and base of the eyelid, it should take around 6-7 weeks to grow back.
It is also dependent on the stage of growth during which the eyelash falls. However, if the hair is plucked or pulled due to the removal of eyelash extensions, it may take a few weeks longer to grow back. It is also dependent on medication or other procedures that an individual may be undergoing (ex: chemotherapy).
Does Vaseline help lashes grow?
Vaseline, like water, can only moisturize eyelashes. It cannot promote lash growth or enhance the length of lashes. Since it has a thicker consistency, it may also make the lashes appear slightly thicker when applied. It may be possible that Vaseline makes your existing lashes healthier if applied consistently for a long period of time.
How can I stimulate my eyelashes to grow?
Besides the FDA-approved prescription drug Latisse, no product, natural or not, has scientific backing for its claims of growth. A variety of different techniques and products, if applied consistently over a period of time may cause a significant difference in the health and appearance of one’s lashes.
These include careful application of natural oils, lash enhancing serums (expert verified), the gentle overall care of one’s lashes, purchasing safe eye products, etc.
Do lash extensions ruin your natural lashes?
Lash extensions do not ruin your lashes if and only if they are done correctly, with precision and utmost care by a professional. Additionally, the removal of one’s lash extensions must be done by a professional, or if you are removing them yourself, by strictly following the guidelines mentioned by them.
Lastly, caring for your lashes by following the given instructions and ensuring that you are not allergic to the glue used for the extensions may ensure that your natural lashes are not affected by them.
Do eyelashes grow back if pulled out from the root?
Eyelashes may grow back if pulled out from the root, but only after several weeks have passed. This is because there are chances of slight damage to the hair follicle and eyelid base when the hair is forcefully plucked out.
It is also dependent on the stage of its life cycle during which the hair has been pulled out since the hair regrowth follows the cycle. It is not recommended to pull out lashes from the root (intentionally or unintentionally by rubbing), in case of permanent damage to the roots or follicle.