Not all eyelashes were created equal. Long and curled, short and spiky, fat and full, or fair and spindly—it’s no mean feat trying to make your lashes look half decent in the morning. False lashes can be a godsend, but if rustling up a round of tea and toast pre-9 a.m. is a struggle, faffing with glue, tweezers and strip lashes before work should not be attempted under any circumstances. Semi-permanent lash extensions omit the man-hours and are excellent if you’re going away or getting married but know this: They’re addictive and your natural lashes won’t thank you in the long run. Then there’s lash serums. Transparent tubes of vitamins and conditioning ingredients that give your lashes a growth spurt when applied regularly—these are the ones we rate.
But what you eat, what else you layer on and hell, what’s in your eye makeup remover can also play a part in how strong and long your lashes are. Scroll down to discover everything you can do to make your eyelashes grow longer.
YOUR LASHES HAVE A SHELF LIFE
We are all born with a set number of lash follicles and for once, they’re not something that decreases with age. However, the more we abuse them, the less likely they are to grow back thick and healthy. Plus they constantly shed—around two to five a day and then take up to two months to grow back so you need to make sure you’re caring for them if you want an Insta-friendly flutter.
It won’t make them grow per se, but taking off your makeup properly won’t disturb or damage those delicate lash follicles, so in essence, you end up with healthier and fuller-looking lashes. Drench a cotton pad in remover, then press it onto our lashes for a few seconds before sweeping downwards rather than using a side-to-side rubbing motion. Micellar waters are particularly good at this.
READ YOUR MAKE-UP REMOVER
Micellars and oils are the gentlest of options and ideally look for ingredients like pro-vitamin B5 that will moisturise your lashes and boost their thickness. Cellulose also helps fatten their natural form. Some makeup removers like Nouveau Lashes Eye Makeup Remover also contain added extras like Arnica Montana flower extract to reduce any inflammation or sensitivity around the skin.
BAD FOR LASHES
As well as overusing false lashes, constant curling will weaken and damage the lashes too. Every time you clamp down, it’s causing a mini trauma and eventually they’ll give up and fall out. Cheap adhesive gets another wrap on the knuckles, so pick one wisely and ideally look for one that's latex-free.
Richard Mears, founder of lash-boosting brand Instant Effects, also recommends avoiding prostaglandin, an ingredient often found in lash-growth products. While he does admit it makes lashes grow, side effects such as irritation, inflammation and pigmentation on the skin have been reported. Fibres are another one of his proceed-with-caution policies. “They can also cause irritation and have no real long-term benefit.” Add the extra rubbing action needed to remove them and you’re at double the risk of lash damage.
MUNCHIES AS GOOD AS MASCARA
Foods rich in iron and omegas should be your go-to if you’re in the market for longer lashes. “Salmon is full of fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties, which open the follicles and promote healthier lashes while foods like spinach help red blood cells carry oxygen to hair follicles and assist healthy hair growth,” continues Mears. A good vitamin intake is essential too. Vitamin B prevents lashes from becoming brittle (and shedding), vitamin C helps collagen production and repairs follicle damage, vitamin E protects your lashes from free radicals while vitamin H encourages growth and stimulation. A plate piled high with soybeans, mushrooms, peanuts, green veg and berries is the perfect multi-vitamin megamix.
Now you've got the lashes, see what mascaras you should be coating them in here.