Woman curling eyelashesWoman curling eyelashes

How to Grow (or Regrow) Your Eyelashes

If you've lost more lashes than you'd like, you can breathe a sigh of relief. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eyelashes grow back within about six weeksif your follicles are healthy and intact.

But maybe six weeks is longer than you want to wait to get your lashes back. Here's the good news: A few smart choices, a little patience and the right products can help you get thicker, fuller, longer-looking lashes. 

9 Steps to Longer Eyelashes

A few good daily habits and extra steps in your self-care routine can help you get the long lashes you want. Follow these steps to grow your eyelashes:

1. Hydrate and Moisturize

You can prep for longer eyelashes with some marula oil. Just apply a few drops in your palm, then use your fingertips to massage all over your face (marula oil also works great for nails and hair). With high oleic acid content, this super-oil penetrates deeper than any other, sealing in moisture and repairing past damage. And drink up. Keeping your body hydrated can help your hair keep growing. Aim for 64 ounces of water per day to hydrate from inside-out.

2. Give Your Lashes a Little Boost

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Enter GRO Lash Serum. There’s a reason that this star among lash serums put VEGAMOUR on the map. And it's easy to adopt a quick lash routine: Just swipe the fine brush along your lash line once in the morning and once in the evening, and you may see visible growth in as little as 30 days. As an added bonus, you can feel good using this serum every day because it's plant-based, hormone-free and toxin-free. 

3. Think Very Carefully About Lash Extensions

Rebecca J. Taylor, M.D., an ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, cautions that there are risks associated with lash extensions, starting with the obvious: "Remember that a sharp object is being used very close to your eyes," she said.

Choose your salon carefully, not based on price or Groupon. Superb hygiene, current licensing and consistent customer raves are all musts.

Be aware that the adhesives used to create longer and thicker lashes may also cause an allergic reaction. When planning an application, visit the salon 10 days before your appointment and ask the tech to apply a spot of the eyelash adhesive on the underside of your wrist. Don't wash it off. Wait a few days and see if irritation develops.

Oops, you did it again? The lashes are already one? Fingers crossed. At the first sign of irritation, get to the salon and have your professional remove them. Do NOT remove false lashes yourself.

Learn: Why Are My Eyelashes Falling Out? A Celebrity Lash Expert Explains

4. Remove Makeup Gently but Faithfully

Sleeping in your mascara and eye makeup is inevitable sometimes, especially when flying or partying down until the sun comes up. But carefully removing your makeup is an important step to keeping your lashes healthy and long.

But do yourself a favor and find a pre-moistened towelette or a cotton square and some baby oil before you hit the sheets. Yes, opinions abound as to what you should be using to remove your makeup. But what's most critical is that you get mascara, in particular, off your face to avoid raccoon-eyes and potential irritation.

Baby oil, mineral oil and Vaseline have a bad rep in some circles because they are occlusive. This means that they form a seal over your skin, making it impossible for the skin to expel its natural wastes. So while petroleum products aren't a good, breathable choice for your whole face, a swipe on a piece of Kleenex is just fine to dissolve that long-wearing kohl, liner and mascara. Just press gently, and follow with warm water.

Also: Are Magnetic Lashes Safe?

5. Itchy Eyes Lead To Lost Lashes ... and So Much More

Allergies of all kinds can make your eyes itch, and it's a mammalian reflex to rub. This scratching tendency can do more than dislodge a few lashes. Rubbing your eyes a lot can rip the conjunctiva, the thin, clear, slippery-soft mucus lining that protects the eye from hostile bacteria. When you tear this membrane with friction, pathogens can enter — and next thing you know, you're in the pinkeye zone. Conjunctivitis can be painful, and it isn't pretty: Your struggling conjunctiva may produce a substance bearing an alarming resemblance to cottage cheese with pineapple bits.

We can't say don't rub, but try not to. Better yet, find out what's making your eyes itch. Toddlers frequently experience pinkeye, and it's highly contagious. So if you're around lots of kiddos, wash your hands constantly and avoid touching your face after handling their sticky little toys.

If you wear contact lenses, and they make your eyes itch, consider switching to eyeglasses for a while. Sometimes, eyes can become sensitized to the point of inflammation, without any real damage, and simply need to rest.

Pollen, dust, pet dander and other airborne irritants are common year-round culprits. So keep sterile eye drops at the ready. You can also some proactively when settling in for a long screen sesh or preparing to groom the family Palomino.

Shop: GRO Dry Shampoo 3-Pack

6. Don’t Just Use Any Mascara

Mascara means "to mask." But actually, a great mascara can reveal instead of disguise. By darkening blonde lashes with mascara, you can define the eye line and make the colored iris more dramatic. Curled lashes combined with black mascara can make your eyes look bigger and more awake — a lifesaver after a long night or an early flight. But not all mascaras are created equal. The best ones out there have short, comb-like bristles, body-building fibers and highly pigmented formulas that add lash-lengthening nutrients.

Pro tip: Don't share your mascara. Your mascara tube and wand are like a glam incubator for bad bugs. And to be on the safe side, toss your mascara approximately six months after opening it.

Shop: Ultimate Lash & Brow Kit

7. Curl With Caution

There is no question that a heated or nonheated eyelash curler can make your eyes look perkier. In the old days, meaning around 1960 or so, Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton wannabes heated the bowl of a spoon over the open flame of a gas stove and used it to flip their lashes up. Yikes. Today's heated lash curlers are a bit tamer, but still, take care. Also, never curl lashes after mascara application, and use a gentle, squeezing pressure.

Also: 3 Eyelash Curler Mistakes to Avoid

8. Still Losing Lashes?

If you're looking out for your lashes and still experiencing lots of casualties, the trouble may not be in your makeup bag. Schedule a thyroid checkup with your M.D., since either an underactive or overactive thyroid may make your hair fall out, including lashes.

Actually, all sorts of hormonal changes can affect your hair growth cycle, so have yourself checked out. If you've recently brought a bundle of joy into the world, postpartum changes may contribute to hair loss. This is normal, and it will pass.

It's also possible you may be experiencing an immune disorder called alopecia areata, where your own cells attack and reject the hair follicles.

Are you vegan? If so, make sure that you're eating enough essential fatty acids. Chow down on almonds, cashews and soybeans to discourage hair loss.

Also: How Long Does It Take for Eyelashes to Grow Back?

9. What About Castor Oil?

There's no scientific evidence that castor oil results in longer lashes. If you use it, be careful not to get it in your eyes — just use a cotton swab to trace the oil along the roots of your lashes. Some people even leave this treatment on overnight.

Ditto for vitamin E oil. Fans of this treatment slice open a capsule and use a cotton swab to glide it along the lash roots. Ditto when it comes to coconut oil users.

Instead, stick to something that actually works, like atop-rated lash serum

How Trichotillomania Can Affect Lashes

An obsessive-compulsive disorder called trichotillomania can cause a person to compulsively pull out their hair, including lashes. Trichotillomania usually manifests with the person repetitively pulling hairs from the body, beard, scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes when depression or anxiety are just too much to bear. In this respect, the disorder resembles cutting (self-harm). Only about 1%-3% of adults in the U.S. have the disorder — 80%-90% of them are female — and it can last for years if not treated.

Celebrities including Justin Timberlake, Charlize Theron, Megan Fox and Samantha Faiers have revealed that they've experienced TTM — Samantha specifically pulls out her eyelashes. She describes deliberately plucking out lash after lash, even in her sleep, so that she could make a wish to help her troubled stepdad.

People with this disorder often try wearing gloves or coating their fingertips with the nasty-tasting solution used to stop nail biting, but these techniques only address the symptom and not the root cause. Plus, they don't usually work in the long term. If you're struggling with TTM, seek professional help to address the emotional source of this habit.

Find What Works for You

Gentle, safe home remedies and folksy growth serums can't hurt if applied hygienically. Ditto for shea butter and olive oil. Here's a bright idea: Try a biotin supplement to encourage thicker, fuller lashes from the inside out. GRO Biotin Gummiesare a thing of beauty: heart-shaped, gelatin-free, all-vegan and brimming with vitamins of the B family, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, along with zinc. Pair these habits with an eyelash enhancing serum and you'll be on your way to supporting follicle health.


Photo credit: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.