The allure of thick, long eyelashes tempts us all, but not everyone is blessed with luscious feather dusters. Your eyelashes have been with you since before you were born and thankfully they’re incredibly resilient. If you find your lashes to be looking lackluster, whether it’s from over-curling, products or health reasons, there’s good news. As long as the roots remain intact, it takes about three to four weeks to regrow lashes that have been plucked out by the root, but by bolstering your beauty routine, you can speed up the process and encourage healthier, fuller lashes, to boot.
Off-the-shelf eyelash enhancers—which, at first glance, look a lot like tubes of mascara—are your most affordable and accessible option for encouraging eyelash growth. These brush-on products, also known as eyelash serums, should be applied each night before bed to stimulate fuller, speedier lash growth. For best results, apply an eyelash enhancer to dry lashes after a thorough washing with your favorite facial cleanser. If your lashes are fully grown but you’d like to give them a visibility boost, opt for a semi-permanent mascara, which can provide up to six weeks of volumizing results.
Ingredients to Seek
Eyelash enhancers use a variety of specialized molecules—most specific to their respective brands—which actually lengthen the growth phase of your eyelashes; with a longer growth phase comes a longer and thicker lash. Additionally, keep an eye out for serums that include moisturizers such as vitamin B5, which condition the lashes and lend them a pleasing sheen. Though they won’t boost growth, some enhancers also pack pigments to make the eyelashes look more striking as they come in.
In addition to a well-balanced, vitamin-rich diet, de-stressing helps to encourage healthy lash growth, so remember to let off steam with regular exercise and relaxation. Don’t apply excessive makeup, such as regular use of thick mascara, which may damage the lashes. Once damaged lashes have returned to normal, keep them soft, lustrous and well-conditioned by applying a light coating of an olive-oil-based moisturizer from root to tip each night, rinsing the moisturizer off in the morning.
More to Consider
If your lashes don’t return in about a month’s time, consult your doctor or dermatologist; persistently sparse lashes or brows may be a sign of a thyroid condition or a disorder called alopecia areata. For those who have lost their lashes due to chemotherapy or women who don’t mind spending more money for an intensive solution, topical prescription-strength enhancers containing the lipid compound prostaglandin offer an extra-strength option. Like over-the-counter eyelash enhancers, the prescription version extends the growth phase of lashes—it simply does so more effectively, and at a significantly increased cost.
This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.