Take one scroll through Instagram and it’s easy to fall into a social media–fueled rabbit hole of comparison. How on earth are her eyelashes so long? While we’ve all faced these questions, few of us have actually come up with a solution to growing ultra-plush lashes. Instead, we find ourselves gluing on falsies and hoping the camera doesn’t pick up on our little secret. As gorgeous as these additions might look, at the end of the day they can take quite a toll. For that reason, we figured it was about time to find a lash solution once and for all.
To understand our lashes a little bit better, we reached out to Faith Kim, lash expert and founder of LashFOOD. Here, she talks about the top reasons our eyelashes fall out and shared some tips on how we can switch up our habits to help get longer and healthier eyelashes.
5 Reasons Your Eyelashes Are Falling Out
According to Kim, there are various factors for eyelash fallout. “There are many reasons why eyelashes can fall out—from environmental stress to consistent use of some mascaras to bad eyelash extensions,” she explains. “Eyelashes also fall out naturally depending on the lash growth cycle.” Let’s break those reasons down one by one.
1. It’s part of your lashes’ growth cycle.
Like the hair on your head, eyelashes naturally fall off and regrow with time. In our chat with Kim, she explained that, typically, the upper lid has 90–150 lashes and they’re all in different growth cycles at any given time. “Anagen is the growth phase, catagen is the transition phase and telogen is the resting phase before the lashes fall out,” says Kim. “While all lashes are at different phases, it typically takes four to eight weeks to fully replace an eyelash.” So, before you start panicking about the state of your lashes, take the time to give your lashes a chance to grow before jumping to the worst conclusion.
2. You’re getting older.
The same way your skin and hair deteriorates over time, so do your lashes. The older you get, the more your lashes fall out. While it’s not the best side effect of age, it’s certainly not the worst. And, with the right products and care, there are ways to grow longer eyelashes. It’s all a process but it’s totally doable.
3. Your mascara is to blame.
Did your mom ever warn you that if you don’t wash your face and mascara, your lashes will eventually fall out? Turns out moms are almost always right. “Mascaras, especially waterproof mascara, are incredibly drying which makes your lashes brittle and weak causing breakage,” says Kim. “What’s more, these particular mascaras can be especially difficult to remove, which can lead to even more eyelash loss.”
And it’s not just your mascara. Kim said that removing your strip lashes incorrectly, picking at the last remaining eyelash-extensions survivors or using lash curlers too aggressively can affect your lashes’ growth.
4. You don’t take care of your lash extensions.
So you’ve taken the lash extensions route. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing for your lashes, aftercare is crucial and often neglected. Kim suggests seeing a good eyelash-extensions professional and pairing extensions with a natural lash enhancer that will strengthen and condition them. “The LASHFOOD team consists of women who only wear mascara, a few who can’t leave the house without lash strips and many [who] are addicted to lash extensions. Everyone is diligent about their aftercare and uses our Phyto-Medic Eyelash Enhancer as a part of their nighttime routine. Our lash enhancer was formulated specifically for the lash-extension wearer in mind. It is designed to not only lengthen the natural lash but also strengthen them as well. Stronger lashes = longer lash-extension retention.”
5. Stress is taking a toll.
Whether environmental or personal, your body, your lashes in particular, can sense it. As a result, they fall out. Your body could become stressed due to hormonal imbalances that could lead to fallout, or perhaps you’re so stressed that you develop trichotillomania, an anxiety-induced condition similar to biting your nails, where you subconsciously pull at your lashes or brows, thus resulting in loss.
How to Get Longer Lashes
Now that you know the reasons your lashes might be falling out, let’s discuss some of the ways you can help grow your eyelashes.
1. Use a Non-Irritating Eyelash Enhancer
Kim explained that while there are many eyelash-growth serums out there, most are filled with chemicals. And, while these serums might make your lashes grow out faster and longer, some may make them weaker. Pair extensions on top of that poor base and you’re just looking for fallout.
To avoid this, Kim recommends that, just like the food you put in your body, you should look at the ingredients you put on your body, too. Also, avoid ingredients like prostaglandin, parabens, phthalates, sulfates and formaldehyde, which might cause side effects and irritation.
2. Stock Up on Conditioning Primers
Like you learned above, lashes often break due to drying out. To minimize that risk, it’s always a good idea to stock up on conditioning primers and mascaras to nourish your lashes.
3. If You Must Use Fake Eyelashes, Make Sure They’re High Quality
Let’s face it: Falsies are a godsend—especially if you’re looking to dramatically lengthen your lashes without the wait time. But not all falsies are created equal. Some lower-quality brands use heavier materials that can weigh your natural lashes down, while some use undesirable ingredients in the glue, like formaldehyde. For best results, look for a product that is lightweight and latex-free.
4. Use Waterproof Mascara Sparingly
As you can imagine, waterproof mascara isn’t exactly conditioning. Instead, it’s geared toward drying onto your lashes in such a way to adhere without any chance of slippage. While that might be great for a day at the beach, it’s not so ideal for everyday use. That’s why we love this volumizing mascara from BY TERRY. Enriched with protective ingredients like jojoba, olive and avocado oils, this product lengthens lashes and prevents breakage.
5. Remove Mascara Completely Before Bed
We get it, you’ve had a long day and the last thing you want to do is spend an extra ten minutes trying to unleash stubborn makeup from your lashes. As much as we all wish a quick swipe of a makeup-removing towelette would do the trick, the reality is that mascara often takes a bit more effort to fully wash away, and it’s an effort that’s totally necessary if you don’t want your lashes to fall out more than they naturally should. If you find yourself having trouble removing your mascara, consider using a gentle eye-makeup remover. These products are typically made of eye-friendly ingredients that will easily remove any buildup.
6. Eat More Hair-Healthy Foods
When you want your hair to grow, you seek out iron-rich foods and supplements to boost hair growth. Well, your lashes are technically hair, so you know what to do, right? Long story short, if you want your lashes to grow back at a faster rate, leafy greens, salmon, eggs and other foods rich in vitamins B7 (biotin), A and C can work wonders for your beauty goal.
7. Use a Heated Eyelash Curler
Curled lashes look like fuller lashes, right? So it’s no wonder, then, that you want to curl them each and every day. Here’s the thing, though: that extra pressure can actually cause tension and stress for your lashes, which can do more harm than good. That doesn’t mean you can’t curl your lashes, though! Instead, Kim suggests reaching for a heated eyelash curler (or you can heat up your traditional curler with the help of a hot blow-dryer) instead. The higher temperatures will make it easier to curl your lashes with less pressure. Same voluminous results with less damage? Yes, please.