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What's With the Lashes? How to Have Great Ones

It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Most of us are riveted by beautiful eyes -- the color or the impressive eyelashes. Have you ever been jealous of the gorgeous lashes that you've seen on other people? I have, especially when those lashes are on a guy. In this post, I'm going to take you down the eyelash memory lane and give you some tips for having healthy lashes.

Our obsession with great lashes has sent many women to great lengths to enhance their eyes. For millennia, we have outlined our eyes, a practice that continues today. We'll talk about that in a later blog post. Back in the day, women glued a strip of false eyelashes to the upper lids in order to add more density and/or length to their own. How comical it was for the casual observer to see a lash strip detach somewhat and dangle or (Heaven forbid) completely detach from the eyelid only to rest on the cheek! Over the past decade or so, women have flocked to salons for lash extensions. Some of the looks have become funny to see. Some are unhealthy because the length or the density of the current trend for volume leads some lash artists to see the dollar rather than to deny the client really unsuitable lashes. Many lash artists, because they have seen (sometimes caused) the damage that can be done as a result of lash extension application, have stopped offering that service and are now doing lash lifts (far better than the old lash perm) and lash botox (not like the injectable in your facial muscles).

If you aren't a candidate for lash extensions or simply don't want them, what can you do to help your natural eyelashes? Believe it or not, you can do a lot, all of it really simple. Let's look at 4 easy steps to better, healthier lashes:

1. Clean your eyes and your lashes every day, once in the morning no matter who you are and in the evening if you wear makeup, Why? First, you need to remove debris and dirt. Your pores need to breathe, and you want to avoid bacterial infection. Take a look at this illustration of a healthy eye vs. an unhealthy eye.

Healthy Eye vs Unhealthy Eye

When you cleanse your eyes, do so gently. You can use a wash cloth or a cotton woven 2x2 or 4x4 pad. Stay away from cotton balls because they can leave irritating fibers behind to scratch your eyes. If you have to remove makeup, use a gentle makeup remover. There are fantastic microfiber cloths that remove makeup with water only! I love them! Mine are from a company called H2O at Home, but you can find others.

How to Clean Your Eye

2. Condition your eyelashes with a commercial eyelash conditioner. I like Xtreme Lashes and Lash Food. If you want to create one at home, you can blend equal amounts of castor oil and coconut oil in a small dropper bottle. Place a drop onto a disposable mascara wand (spoolie), shake off the excess, and brush through the lashes.

3. If you want to stimulate lash growth, castor oil can help with that, but there are excellent commercial formulations called lash growth serums. I recommend choosing one without prostaglandin because that is a hormone, and if you decide to stop using it, your lashes will shed. Serums without prostaglandin don't alter the lash growth cycle by preventing the normal daily 1-5 lash fallout per eye. They just stimulate growth. You should use the serum day and night, making sure that you wash your eyes prior to application.

4. Avoid waterproof mascara. Really! It's a bear to remove, and most of them are quite drying so that you can have more lash breakage. A few companies whose mascaras I like are Kjaer Weis, 100% Pure, and Elleevate.

If you think that you need or want lash enhancements, you need to know that I use them. My preference is a lash lift to curl my straight lashes because it saves me time every day for about six weeks. Sometimes I have a semi-permanent mascara applied, saving me that step every morning for about a month. Now, you might not be able to do either of those processes due to ingredient sensitivities or some contraindications. If you want to go the lash extensions route, choose an excellent artist who pays attention to the length and strength of your natural lash an doesn't try to put extensions on you that are too long or too heavy! Also, give your lashes a break every couple of months. Believe it or not, strip lashes are popular again. Do you know that the most up-to-date trend is to use eyeliner and sometimes a bit of color on the lids and zero mascara? Try it. You might like it.

No-Mascara Look

Ladies, let's recap what to do for healthier, nicer looking lashes. Clean your eyes gently. Condition the lashes. Use products that are kinder to the lashes. Give your eyelashes a break every so often. Read more about the look by clicking the picture above this paragraph. Enjoy!

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