For many women, we value eyelashes as more than just hair on our eyelids—they symbolize beauty and make us feel attractive, confident and feminine. We know mascara can make them look longer and fuller, and different supplements exist today that help them grow to become more voluminous. However, there may be a few things you didn’t know about those delicate little hairs and what you should do to care for them.
1. Just like the hair on your head, they love being conditioned.
For healthier, more flexible lashes, dip a cotton swab into a bit of coconut, almond or olive oil two to three times a week before you go to bed. Use the swab to apply a small amount of the oil to your lashes by brushing it across your eyelids right at the roots of the hairs. Then, use an eyelash brush to comb the oil out onto the rest of the lashes. Remove any excess oil with a cotton ball.
Another way to condition lashes is to dab a bit of hair conditioner on them while in the shower, then rinse them the same way you rinse your hair (being careful to keep the conditioner out of your eyes).
2. They need lots of tender love and care.
To keep eyelashes from drying out or getting damaged, be sure to gently and completely remove mascara before bed (avoid pulling or tugging on the lashes to keep them from falling out). The lashes need air to be able to grow, so it’s important they get plenty of mascara-free time to rejuvenate. Also, do not use fake eyelashes often because they can cause breakage to your real eyelashes, and many times they cause the lashes to fall out.
3. When it comes to mascara, they appreciate quality, not quantity.
Try using less than three coats of mascara on your lashes to keep them looking natural and avoid the “clumpy” appearance. Remember to replace mascara regularly because when it gets old, clumps form more easily.
Also, avoid the commonly used method of pumping the mascara wand in and out of its tube when trying to moisten the wand. Pumping the wand causes the mascara to dry out faster because it forces air into the tube.
4. They have pets…
Eyelash mites, tiny parasitic mites that infest the sebaceous gland and follicles of the hairs, live in everyone’s lashes (sounds gross, but it’s true). For most people, the parasites are present in normal amounts, but for some, the mites may over-reproduce due to overactive sebaceous glands. When this happens, eyelashes may start to fall out and corneal irritation or scarring can occur. To treat this problem, see your doctor first for diagnosis. A doctor may prescribe a soap or specialty ointment, or he or she may say it is okay to try a treatment with tea tree ointment or macademia nut oils on the lashes. Some symptoms of unhealthy infestations include itchy skin, loss of eyelashes, redness, swelling and eye irritation.
Remember to think of your eyelashes like the hair on your head and care for them to the same extent. They don’t require much work or time to care for, but it’s important to give them the attention they deserve to keep them long and strong.
Reviewed June 23, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton
Kate Kunkel is a journalism student looking to minor in nutrition at Arizona State University. She currently interns for EmpowHER and has a passion for healthy eating and fitness.
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