While popping on a sheet mask is as every day as popping on the kettle, ask someone if they're taking time out to give their eyelashes some TLC and you'll probably fall victim to uncontrolled laughter. Without a doubt, you're aware of the basics, gently remove eye make and never ever attempt to remove eyelash extensions at home, but did you realise that conditioning your eyelashes should be as every day as moisturising your skin? All too easy to damage; we put our lashes in peril, daily, with lash lifts, extensions, curling and mascara all contributing to lash loss. If you've dreamed of long fluttering eyelashes for your wedding day, then it is time to make a change and start giving those lashes the love they deserve.
Avoiding acts that may cause lash breakage may seem like an obvious step when trying to keep eyelashes healthy, and yet, so many of our lash rituals suggest otherwise. If reaching for a lash curler is part of your daily routine, and I guarantee you that my coveted Japonesque version is one of my favourite ever beauty tools, then do you know there are rules to follow? Most notably, you should never curl your lashes after you use mascara! Whoops! Hands up if you've done this. Mascara dries lashes out and makes them dry, brittle and prone to breakage. If you want to avoid a Miley Cyrus style lash-lemma, then only ever curl eyelashes as the first step in your beauty routine, before you apply makeup. When curling lashes, avoid crimping, that is, only curling the base of the lashes. Instead, place curler along the lash line and squeeze, holding for 17 seconds, then walk root to tip gently squeezing and letting go as you go. This way, you will achieve a gentle sweep rather than an L-shaped bend.
If you've had a lash lift, heralded to last up eight weeks, then you should only reach for a curler once you see the eyelashes start to droop, this will occur at weeks seven to eight, and not before. A lash lift is basically a perm for your lashes and will make the hair brittle from processing. Obviously, in such a state, they will be more susceptible to breakage, and extra care should be taken to ensure lash health.
Taking care when removing your eye makeup is as important as when you are putting it on. At the end of a day, choose a suitable eye makeup remover (oil-based if wearing waterproof makeup) and take your time to remove all traces of mascara carefully. Avoid any scrubbing action as this may inadvertently pull eyelashes out. Use a cotton pad and work in a gentle upward sweeping motion. To entirely remove all residue, use a cotton bud and go lash by lash.
Ok, so while we all know that curling can lead to breakage, this next one came as a complete surprise to me. While pondering the downfall of my own lashes, it occurred to me that my beloved sleep mask may be causing damage. The ends of my eyelashes had become frizzy, and I was aware of some crisscrossed growth and a general side sweeping on the side I sleep. After some quick research, I realised that my sleep mask was exerting pressure on my lids and lashes, causing them to grow in this pattern and be prone to breakage. If you really find it hard to rest without a mask, and I do, then either choosing one with dome-shaped lids or only using intermittently (every second or third night), is a good alternative. Apart from that, try to retrain yourself to sleep only on your back. Doing this will help relieve pressure on your eyes and keep lashes looking their best but may be challenging. Regardless, avoid smashing your face into the pillow, and try to let your lashes breathe.
I can't say that there are too many ways I've treated my lashes to make sure they're healthy. Add to that my constant makeup application and removal, overprocessing and general mistreatment; then it is easy to see how the damage has been done. I now boast a lash fringe plagued with sparse patches and uneven growth. It is flabbergasting to think that the thought of conditioning never even crossed my mind until it was too late. The fact is, only after the damage was visible did I think of how I might have prevented it, and simple conditioning is the first and most natural step to take.
There are plenty of lash serums on the market, with moisturising formulae that typically contain emollient ingredients, which work to make your existing lashes look and feel healthier. Much like a conditioner works to prevent split ends for the hair on your head, a lash conditioner encourages growth by preventing breakages. While they won't speed growth, using them consistently will help improve the health of your lashes and to avoid damage. A good all-rounder that won't break the bank is the L'Oréal Paris Conditioning Lash Serum Solution. Applied to lashes nightly, it will work to strengthen and repair what's there. Especially useful if you're an extension addict or like to indulge in a lash lift.
The internet is swamped with adverts for growth serums designed to give mega results. What many people don't realise is that the active ingredient in these serums is either Bimatoprost or a close relative. Bimatoprost is a prescription-only ingredient used for the treatment of glaucoma with one of its side effects prolonging the growing stage in the life cycle of an eyelash, thus giving the user a Bambi like flutter. Give these some time, and they will provide showstopping results. Be warned though; use may come at a price. If you've heard the rumours that these serums can cause colour changes in the Iris, then know they are correct. If the serum gets inside the eye, those with lighter eyes could notice a difference in the colour of their irises after repeat exposure. In other words, your baby blues could end up brown! Despite the warnings, LiLash would be a firm favourite, and with consistent use, eyelashes have grown to showstopping lengths!
The takeaway; if you go easy on the lash curler, remove your eye makeup gently, strengthen your current lashes with a conditioning serum, and add in a growth serum with an active ingredient, it's possible to repair damage and grow longer natural lashes. Consistency is vital, and you must be patient: these steps sometimes take months to work but stick with it, and you'll be celebrating long, naturally thicker lashes.