Hair growth from head to toe changes with age, and just as skin cells begin turning over at a slower rate over time, the hair follicles replenish at a slower rate as well. In addition, the growth phase of the individual hairs diminishes, which means the hairs grow for shorter periods, making them unable to grow as long. So if you’re noticing changes in your eyelashes as you age, it’s perfectly natural. You can have the lashes you want with one of these methods:
Lash Transplants: Permanent Surgical Solution
Eyelash transplant surgery is an option for women who are unable to grow their own lashes due to hair follicle injury caused by trauma, chemotherapy or burns. Eyelash transplants are a surgical procedure with risk involved but in the appropriate patient, lash transplants are a nice option. During this two-hour procedure, a small section of hair and skin is taken from a donor site on the back of the head before 30 to 50 individual hairs and roots are transplanted to the eyelid under local anesthesia with oral sedation. The transplanted hairs fall out over the first two to three weeks and then regrow. Because these implanted lashes act like the hair on your head, they need to be trimmed periodically, and since hairs are taken from the back of the head, women with very curly or coarse hair may not be candidates. Risks associated with the procedure include infection, abnormal growth patterns (hairs may curl the wrong way) and possible rejection of the transplanted hairs.
Lash Extensions: Instantly Longer Lashes
If you like the idea of instantly longer, thicker lashes, extensions may be the solution for you. But, there are some special considerations when it comes to extensions. First, look at photos of the lash professional’s work, since they’ll need to have an aesthetic eye to achieve beautiful results. Also, ask what kind of glue they’ll use (you want something formaldehyde-free) and make sure you get a single extension per lash as opposed to “bundles” to minimize breakage of your natural lashes caused by the weight of the extensions. There are some dos and don’ts to help them last. Do try not to sleep on your face, since the pulling can lead to loss of lashes. Don’t get your lashes wet for the first three days, and avoid thick eye creams and oil-based products like cleansers and makeup remover. Some women report feeling the extensions at first, but they get used to them quickly.
Lash Stimulators: Topical At-Home Beauty Products
Not to be confused with mascara, which colors the lashes, eyelash enhancing products aim to lengthen and strengthen, and are often applied with a brush-like tool at the base of the lashes. Topicals can really do the trick for increased growth and thickness of the eyelashes. The first lash stimulators that hit the market a few years back contained an active ingredient called prostaglandins, which, although originally used in glaucoma medication, had the unexpected side effect of enhancing lash growth. But concerns over safety—since the FDA does not regulate the use or concentration of active ingredients in over-the-counter products—along with a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Allergan (who uses the ingredient in their prescription glaucoma medication and their prescription lash stimulator, Latisse) led to the reformulation and introduction of new products containing blends of peptides and herbal extracts that work by stimulating the hair follicles, leading to lash growth. For maximum results, these products should be applied to the lash line nightly like liquid eyeliner.
Mascara Innovations: Temporary Solutions
The latest twist in lash-lengthening products, “tube” mascaras deposit product around the lashes in tubes, offering waterproof and smudge-proof volume and length. Instead of oils and waxes, these mascaras use flexible polymers that form a film that’s longer than the actual lash, giving the appearance of increased length. And with multiple coats, you can build up the lashes more and more. The upsides of these mascaras are that they are flake- and smudge-proof, and the tubes come off easily with a little warm water. The downsides (to some) are the tube residue that can be left in the sink after washing, and the mascaras’ inability to add significant thickness to the lashes—but a few cosmetic companies have come up with a solution. When paired with a plumping primer, people may start to ask if you’re wearing extensions.