There’s just something about naturally long eyelashes that adds a certain gravitas, even though a coat or three of mascara can make your lashes look fluttery and Bambi-like. It goes beyond mere aesthetics: As you age, your lashes get brittle and crack, which goes hand in hand with dryness and breakage. Meaning that promoting length keeps your lashes healthy and strong at the same time. Who wouldn’t want that, too?
However, promoting length can be difficult unless you were born with the longest, most doe-eyed lashes. Here are six dermatologist-recommended, science-backed methods to put in the effort:
Use a serum for lash growth.
Board-certified dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D. claims that they do produce results: “It makes my lashes grow out longer, thicker, and fuller.”
To protect and encourage the growth of those fine hairs, you can choose between an FDA-approved lash growth serum (they work by actually extending the hair’s growth phase) and a natural product containing castor oil, honey, and vitamin E. (more in a hot minute). Before applying a new serum, talk to your dermatologist about all your alternatives in case you experience sensitivity.
Use castor oil.
Technically, none of the castor oil claims are supported by actual science (for both lash and general hair growth, it turns out). There is no doubting the anecdotal abilities and prowess of castor oil for lashes, a board-certified dermatologist has told us. Even though it doesn’t necessarily encourage development, it helps maintain the lashes you already have nourished and healthy. Its moisturising and antioxidant properties have made it a valued staple in both Ayurvedic and Black families for years. It is extremely moisturising, which prevents lashes from breaking or becoming brittle and dry as we age.
Castor oil specifically contains ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Vitamin E, which is also abundant in the oil, can help shield those hairs from the damaging effects of the environment. Finally, castor oil functions as both an occlusive and an emollient. Why does this matter? Well, it can get inside the strands and stop moisture from dripping out all at once.
Take supportive supplements.
Did you know that the hairs on your eyelashes are actually very small and delicate? Yes, those tiny flutters are composed structurally of the same proteins as your hair, with keratin possibly being the most notable. Additionally, while lashes do naturally come in (if the small follicles aren’t scarred), giving your body the correct nutrients helps speed up the process.
Your body specifically needs a variety of amino acids, many of which are present in collagen peptides, to form keratin. Research on hair development suggests collagen and biotin supplements because doing so can enhance your body’s natural amounts of these vital nutrients.
In fact, a tiny study found that women with thinning hair who supplemented with biotin experienced significantly more hair growth than those who received a placebo. Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that supplementing with collagen and biotin helped women’s hair grow more quickly.
Use mascara with serum in it.
A substance that promotes healthy development and gives the appearance of thicker lashes? Count us in. There are an increasing variety of serum-infused mascaras on the market (this one, for example, contains peptides and red clover flower), all of which coat your lashes in pigment and healthy, extending actives. It has never been simpler to maintain your lashes during the day (while also learning how to get a polished appearance).
Bonus: Because the formula is often less drying, mascaras containing hydrating elements tend to clump less.
Clean them regularly.
The same way that buildup on your scalp can collect on your lashes as well. If you like wearing eyelash extensions, eyelash glue can also cling in those lashes. If there is too much accumulation, it can inhibit lash growth and even cause a few flutters to fall out. Remember that the lashes grow from small follicles? The key to good hair development is to keep them free of debris and clean.
Even yet, it requires far less upkeep than maintaining a buildup- and flake-free scalp. There’s no need to use a clarifying agent (yuck): Just remember to massage a little cleanser into your eyelids as well when cleaning your face. Avoid dragging or tugging; maintain a feathery-light pressure.
Keep your eyelashes in good condition.
The last ticket reads: Maintaining the strength of your existing hairs will promote growth. Is it just me, or do thriving, healthy hairs appear fuller? Naturally, all of the aforementioned techniques are vital to maintain those hairs, but you should also try to minimise undue stress.
Because of how delicate and tiny lashes are, even the smallest mistake can easily pull off those hairs: When you use irritating eye makeup, pull at your eyes with your hands or a harsh makeup remover, curl your eyelashes with a death-grip force, and rub your eyes, those lashes can become weaker (and perhaps fall out). If you frequently wake up with lashes all over your pillow, they certainly need some special attention.
What is the rate of eyelash growth?
In general, healthy eyelashes normally measure seven millimetres in length and grow 0.15 millimetres every day (beyond the skin). Therefore, based on the math, it takes one to two months to produce an eyelash of a regular length from scratch!
Consider your eyelashes to be little hairs—which they are! It needs a combination of internally promoting growth and hydrating the hair you already have to help promote length.