Thick eyelashes frame the face and make the eyes appear wider and more awake. Although some use makeup and mascaras, there are other options available for voluminous lashes. From topical serums to home remedies, thin lashes are a worry of the past with a variety of treatments for every patient.
Published: January 27, 2021
Last updated: February 16, 2021
If eyes are the windows to the soul, lashes are the frame. They are a prominent feature of your face and deserve your attention, especially when you begin to notice how quickly they are changing. Unfortunately, not all of us know how to properly care for our lashes, and even fewer of us know what options are available once they begin needing that extra boost to stay healthy and worthy of framing your eyes. This article seeks to provide you with the information you need for understanding how to care for your eyelashes, including how to help them once they begin to thin and undergo changes.
Thin Lashes & Aging
As frustrating as it may be, eyelashes are far from immune to the aging process. Eyelashes, just like everything else, undergo changes as we grow older. Saying goodbye to your youthful, dark, thick lashes can be one of the hardest parts of aging because there is something so remarkably youthful about a striking set of lashes. “Faking it” is possible, to an extent, but there are ways to help fortify, rebuild, and thicken your lashes.
A good place to start in growing a healthy set of lashes is to understand what causes eyelashes to thin in the first place. There are many reasons this could happen. Age, of course, is the number one culprit because, as you age, there are changes taking place within your eyelash hair follicles. They no longer produce at the same rate or the same quality as they did when you were younger, meaning that eyelashes will begin to thin, grow at a slower rate, and even lose pigmentation because of the natural aging process. Sometimes changes in your eyelashes are related to menopause, a hormonal change that occurs in the body usually beginning during the 50s for most women. Some women experience menopause sooner, and some later, but regardless of when you experience it, menopause, and other hormonal changes in the body, can account for shifts in the appearance of your eyelashes.
Poor makeup habits, especially the misuse of mascara and eye makeup remover, can contribute to thinning, sparse eyelashes as well. Use a gentle makeup remover formula and a light hand when removing your eye makeup to protect delicate lashes. Any form of false eyelashes should be gently removed as well to prevent unnecessary breakage or damage to the hair follicle.
Sometimes medical conditions can account for changes in your lash line. Conditions such as eczema or thyroid complications, for instance, can cause damage to your lashes when left untreated. Similarly, medications can cause issues with your eyelashes, as well. For example, a side effect of chemotherapy is hair loss. This is most noticeable with an individual's scalp, but even your eyelashes can be affected by these drugs.
Stress can also cause a disappointing shift in your eyelashes and hair growth in general. Sometimes it is psychological, as when a person habitually pulls out their eyelashes. This is called trichotillomania. Seek the advice of a trained counselor or psychologist if this plays a part in your eyelash loss; however, the stress can take a toll on appearance. Take time to practice stress relievers. For some people, that means exercising, yoga, meditation practices, reading a book, or participating in a hobby. Carve out time each day to do whatever it is that allows you to reduce stress. Even a few minutes a day will do great things for your overall mental and physical health.
Since there are a number of common causes related to eyelash thinning, the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that you document your lash loss and hair loss, including any medical history or information that might be helpful in determining the cause of your lash concerns. These findings may lead to the root cause of your lash loss, which will expedite the process of tackling regrowth.
Making Thin Lashes Thicker: Serums, Extensions, Lifts, and Mascara
While losing your eyelashes, or watching them grow thin and sparse can be difficult, there are ways to help your lashes grow thicker and more youthful in appearance.
Eyelash Extensions Eyelash extensions are a great, albeit temporary, way to improve the volume, length, and youthfulness of your lashes. Extensions are applied just above the root of the individual lashes and can be synthetic or sourced from materials such as mink and horse hair. A bonus to choosing the option of eyelash extensions is an immediate improvement in your lashes. Whereas some options may take weeks or even months to see results, the results of eyelash extensions are noticeable right away.
Latisse Probably one of the most well-known eyelash enhancing serums on the market, Latisse, or bimatoprost, is FDA-approved to be applied nightly to enhance the look of your natural lashes. It can also be used for eyebrow hair: however, this is still considered off-label use. Applying the Latisse lash serum as part of your nightly regimen will deliver improvements in the length, volume, and fullness of your eyelashes.
Eyelash Implants Eyelash implants are a permanent solution to eyelash concerns. They add depth and fullness to the lashes by harvesting hair from other parts of the body and implanting them into the lash line. The hair used for this process comes from unnoticeable areas of the body, such as the back of the head or the legs. The only downside to this method is that transplanted hairs retain their natural properties and will need to be trained, trimmed, and curled to maintain a natural look.
Eyelash Lift Eyelash lifts create a custom curl for your natural eyelashes. This adds definition and volume to lashes you are pleased with otherwise. This is particularly helpful to those with straight eyelashes or for those who would like to see their lashes more distinctly frame their eyes. The curl is created chemically, much like a perm for your hair, and is performed by either a licensed cosmetologist or a trained esthetician.
Home Remedies and Makeup Products
The most common method of enhancing your eyelashes is the application of mascara. There are brands and types of mascara specifically formulated to target different eyelash needs. For instance, there are volumizing mascaras for thin lashes, lengthening mascaras for short lashes, and fortifying mascaras for weak lashes. With enough searching, you can find mascara to meet just about any eyelash needs. Once you are ready to remove your mascara, make sure that you do so gently.
You may also want to try false lashes to enhance your thinning lashes. These are slightly more difficult to apply and remove. Make sure that you don’t pull or tug on your lashes as this will cause more damage to your lash line, further impeding eyelash growth.
There are home remedies available, but keep in mind that there is no scientific evidence to back up DIY methods of eyelash regrowth and fortification. There is, however, plausibility in a few of the methods, and those are listed below. Keep in mind that home remedies should be used with caution as they are not necessarily safe or reliable.
Castor oil, olive oil and vitamin E oil – These oils are commonly used for their moisturizing properties and are preferred by those who like to use naturally-sourced ingredients. Applying one of these to lashes before bed may help strengthen your lashes.
Aquaphor® and Vaseline® (petroleum jelly) – These work in much the same way the oils above work – by adding moisture to brittle eyelashes and encourage new growth. As we age, we lose moisture retention and produce less fatty acids, both of which are necessary for healthy lashes. The idea is that coating the lashes with a thin layer of these products before bed will help them retain the moisture they would lose otherwise.
Green tea compresses – Some people believe they see improvement in their lashes by applying cooled, unsweetened green tea with a cotton ball each night to the lash line.
Diet – Probably the best home remedy you could do to improve your overall health is to take a good look at your diet to see whether or not it would indicate a vitamin deficiency. The healthier you are, the better you will look and feel. Stronger, thicker, fuller eyelashes will be a byproduct of that healthy lifestyle. If you need help understanding balance and nutrition, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has several helpful resources available.
For those who embrace their thin lashes and for those who wish to enhance their natural beauty, there are a number of temporary and permanent solutions to create thicker lashes. Cosmetic procedures, growth serums, home remedies, and makeup fixes can help individuals feel more beautiful and boost their self-esteem. Speak to a dermatologist or licensed cosmetologist or esthetician to see what options are available for your individual needs.
- American Academy of Dermatology Association Hair Loss: Tips for Managing aad.org
- Paul T Rose Advances in Hair Restoration PubMed.gov; 2018-01-01
- Bhupendra C. Patel; Michael J. Lopez; Zachary P. Joos. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Eyelash PubMed.gov; 2020-07-27
- MJ Elder Anatomy and Physiology of Eyelash Follicles: Relevance to Lash Ablation Procedures PubMed.gov; 1997-03-01