Did you know it’s totally normal to lose between one and five eyelashes every day? Much like the hair on your head, eyelashes will grow, shed and grow again every few weeks. However, if you’re losing more than approximately five eyelashes a day, your lash line could start looking patchy and you may want to find a way to boost your eyelashes for a fuller look.
So why are your eyelashes falling out? And what are safe, smart ways to keep lashes? Let's find out.
6 Reasons Why Your Eyelashes May Be Falling Out
If you've been making more wishes on fallen eyelashes than usual, there may be something in your life behind the increased lash loss. Here are six common reasons you may be experiencing eyelash loss:
1. Severe Dieting
In the new year, especially in the midst of quarantine, you may notice that your sweatpants are a little snug now, so you're reducing your caloric intake.
But remember that your exterior reflects your interior. Your body needs:
- Vitamins A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin E
Strenuous dieting including the popular practice of mini-fasting may deprive you of essential nutrients needed for lush lashes (not to mention your hair and brows, too). If you're eating well and still losing lashes, a simple blood test at your doctor's office can shed light on any glaring deficiencies.
Adjusting your daily food intake is key, but it also takes time to find the right balance. In the meantime, you can supplement with a daily biotin gummy as a way to ensure you got your daily requirement of vitamins and nutrients even if you didn't eat perfectly that day. If worrying about lash growth has got you stressed out, you can also try a biotin gummy with full-spectrum CBD, an ingredient that has been proven in clinical studies to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Related: 16 Best Foods to Eat for Hair Growth
2. Wavering Hormones
Hormones affect eyelash growth just as they can affect your hair growth cycles and an imbalance may cause your eyelashes to fall out, along with other hair. A thyroid condition could also be the reason why your eyelashes are falling out, because all human hair follicles — which your lashes grow from — are directly influenced by thyroid hormones.
3. Eyelash Curler Misuse
Eyelash curlers bend the lash at the root line to make the eye appear larger and more open. That's been the desired effect for centuries — remember that during the Renaissance, fashionable ladies dilated their pupils with the extract of deadly nightshade, called "belladonna" meaning "beautiful woman." It's a fact that our pupils naturally dilate when we see something we like, and lifting the lashes away from the eye enhances the alluring, doe-like effect.
But, as with deadly nightshade, the eyelash curler has a dark side. Over-crimping, especially with a heated tool, can weaken lashes to the point that they snap off.
When using an eyelash curler, always be sure your lashes and the curler are clean and dry. The actual rubber part of your curler should be soft — if it’s stiff or shows cracks, it’s time for a new one.
4. Sleeping in Mascara or Eye Makeup
Sleeping with your eye makeup on — particularly mascara — is bad news for your eyelash health. But you know what’s just as bad? Aggressively scrubbing off your makeup, causing even more trauma to your lashes.
Here’s the deal: leaving mascara on while sleeping can clog hair follicles at the base of your eyelashes. This can lead to inflammation, and even an unsightly eyelid infection called blepharitis.
You should always remove your makeup before bed, but be gentle. That old stand-by, baby oil, has fallen out of favor because it's an occlusive, meaning that it blocks the follicle, making it impossible for natural exfoliation to occur. Because the follicle can't release its natural wastes, you're asking for trouble. Make sure to use an oil-free eye makeup remover that's gentle on both your lashes and the thin skin around your eyes.
5. Dangerous DIY
Michelle Bouse has been a professional makeup artist since 2000, and a lash specialist since 2005. Prior to COVID-19, Hollywood A-listers kept standing lash appointments at "the House of Bouse" garden studio, walking distance from the Burbank Warner Brothers lot. But she warns that attempting professional lash treatments at home are a no-go.
"Lash lifts are the bomb right now, for everyone from teens to women 60+," she said. "It's like a lash perm. My clients love them, but people are trying them at home now. Yikes. This is an effect that must be done by a professional."
Bouse notes, "People are working from home now, and understandably want nice, noticeable eyes for all those Zoom calls, not to mention wanting to make the most of their eyes while masked in public. This is why a lot of people are seeing lash breakage, loss and damage."
Especially risky: popular magnetic lashes. "The top and bottom that adhere to each other can rub across the lash line and cause breakage and loss." Bouse also notes that she herself had an allergic reaction to the magnetic liner, and many of her clients have reported the same.
If you do opt for false lashes in strip or cluster form, heed Bouse's reminder to remove and clean the lashes thoroughly every night to prevent damage. She also recommends letting your lashes rest until salons reopen.
"Salon lashes are customized for every client's own lash needs. We can see close-up the individual's lash line and growth pattern," she said. "Those teeny, tiny lashes just beginning to grow that can only handle a short, light weight on them, so they don't break, make cowlick corrections (yes, lashes get cowlicks!), and safely treat 'holes' or lighter growth areas while filling in thickness. We comb through each lash individually, which is the biggest difference between salon-placed lashes as doing them yourself."
Bouse explains that "a lot of home DIY lashes put too much weight on the natural lashes, causing weakness, follicle damage and breakage. Sleeping in any type of DIY lash is not a good idea. Ditto for wearing them for days or weeks on end."
The mere fact of aging will thin your lashes, just as more candles on the birthday cake will mean fewer follicles on your head. Menopause is classically the marker for declining lushness of hair, but as we noted earlier, any hormonal shift can cause hair loss.
In addition to your lashes thinning (often while the rest of you thickens, since menopause signals the fat cells to migrate off the thighs to the belly after the childbearing years have ended), your brows may start to look a bit sparse. This is especially true if you've been tweezer-happy, and regrowth may be slower than you may remember. Adding a lash and brow serum to your daily regimen can help nourish thinning hair to get a natural, fuller look so you can use less mascara and brow gel.
Bouse recommends nurturing lashes (she uses castor oil) and not attempting anything dramatic on your own. Of falsies, she said, "The DIY , one-size-fits-all never look as naturally beautiful as a pro salon application."
How Can You Help Your Eyelash Growth?
Eyelashes are essential for protecting your eyes and giving them that extra wow factor. But if your eyelashes are falling out, how can you help them grow back?
First, follow up with your doctor to get checked out for any potential health conditions that could be affecting the health of your lashes. In medical terms, eyelash loss is called milphosis. A doctor may be able to tell you if the cause of your eyelash loss is due to a health problem like alopecia areata or even an autoimmune condition. It's important you find out if the amount and frequency of eyelash loss you're experiencing is normal or indicative of something more serious.
Always make sure hands are clean before touching your eyes (a must with COVID-19). And when using any type of beauty enhancer such as eyelash curlers, mascara, or falsies, always follow the directions.
Never share cosmetics, and don’t keep using products if they irritate your eyes or your lashes. If you end up getting an infection such as blepharitis, toss any eye makeup you used prior to the infection.
If your lashes have taken a beating due to falsies or need some extra TLC (along with some CBD), our GRO+ Advanced Lash Serum contains full-spectrum nourishing CBD, red clover and mung bean extracts to strengthen eyelashes for a thicker, fuller effect. Our formula is completely plant-based, vegan and cruelty-free with no toxins, so show your lashes some love!
More From VEGAMOUR
- How to Care for Eyelash Extensions
- What Is a Lash Lift?
- The Side Effects of Prostaglandin in Lash Serums
Additional members of Team VEGAMOUR contributed to the reporting for this article.