Begging for an Rx of Latisse isn’t your only option. We reached out to two pros to find out how to make your eyelashes grow, and shockingly, there are several different things you can do to up your chances at growing longer, thicker, fuller lashes naturally. While simple, they definitely take dedication, so if you want results in a day or know your patience levels won’t vibe, it might be better to stick to those magnetic strips.
Visit Your Dermatologist
You'll need to make room in your schedule for a doc's appointment, suggests Dr. Heidi Waldorf of Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics. This is especially important if you feel that the growth isn't normal, or you're noticing loss.
"Anything that disrupts other hair growth can disrupt eyelash growth also, from malnutrition to chemotherapy to severe physical or emotional stress. A newer reason I've been seeing stunted eyelash growth is the regular use of eyelash extensions, which can cause a traction alopecia similar to that seen with tight braids," says Dr. Waldorf. If you don't have a specific medical issue that's causing eyelash loss, Dr. Waldorf notes you might just have a short hair cycle.
Clean Your Eyelids
"One of the first lines that we would recommend as eye doctors is good lid hygiene," says Dr. Mark Jacquot, O.D. and Vice President, Vision Care Operations, LensCrafters. Many different eyelid conditions can cause infection or build-up at the eyelashes, which could potentially lead to loss of hair. Yes, even a stye! So keeping your lids clean can help prevent this from happening. Dr. Jacquot suggests an over-the-counter lid scrub. "You can get them at any drugstore and some of them require that you rinse them off afterwards, however, there are products out there that you just rub the lashes," he says ."It’s a moistened pad in a sealed foil pouch, and you rub the lashes of both eyes once a day. A good time to do it is after a shower because the pores are nice and open."
VIDEO: 5 Ways to Enhance Your Eyelashes
The initial formulation of Latisse was originally intended for patients with glaucoma—not for growing your eyelashes—but unwanted eyelash growth happened to be an unexpected side effect. "Does it work? Heck yeah," says Dr. Jacquot. He says that over time, it was found that if it was applied directly to the lash line, the emphasis on lash growth is maximized. It functions thanks to an ingredient called prostaglandin analog, which grows the lashes longer, fuller, thicker, and darker. However, it does require a prescription, and there can be some side effects. "It actually does stimulate pigment in the eye and in the eyelids," notes Dr. Jacquot. This can include turning blue eyes brown. "Those defects are minimized if we're just applying to the lash."
Applying a Lash Serum
So you don't want to get an Rx of Latisse? Some of those lash serums on the market actually work, says our pro. He says products like RevitaLash and Lashfood stimulate the follicle to cause the lashes to grow—some work faster than others. The type to stay away from? There are formulas, Dr. Jacquot says, that just use a tar-like substance that builds up on the lash, making them appear thicker.
Taking Off Your Makeup
Another reason to take your makeup off before you to to bed? "If you think about it, you're applying product that can cause build-up, and over time, you're going to get debris that'll get into the eye itself," says Dr. Jacquot. Before you go to bed, gently remove your makeup with an eye makeup remover or a cleanser to keep your lashes strong and healthy.
Taking a Break from Extensions
There's a caveat to this. Dr. Jacquot says if they are done right, he has seen no issues with them. However, if they're done poorly and un-hygienically, they could potentially damage your natural eyelashes. If you're dealing with the latter, it's time to find a new studio and take a break.