If there's one aesthetic ask that most of us have, it's how to grow your eyelashes.
Don't believe us? The data bears this one out – according to the Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists, lash treatments (think: extensions and the cult LVL lifting treatment, beloved by celebs like Michelle Keegan) are now the second most used service in salons, after nails.
Over nine million were carried out in 2017, and you can bet your bottom dollar it's more now.
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How long does it take to grow your eyelashes?
Okay. So say you do want to ditch the mascara, but you don't want to shell out for little bits of synthetic hair to sit atop your peepers. What can you do to work with your natural lashes?
'Our skin, nails and hair including eyelashes reflect our health and diet in general. Normally around 90% of our hair is growth, and 10% resting and falling,' says dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall, on behalf of Nouveau Lashes.
So, how long does this cycle take? 'Each individual eyelash is programmed to reach a certain length (approximately three eights of an inch, on average), fall out, and then re-grow,' explains trichologist Trisha Buller.
This process can take anywhere between one to six months.
It's important to note that the actual length of your lashes is mostly a DNA thing.
How can I stimulate my eyelashes to grow?
That's a tricky one. 'Length is largely down to your genetics,' explains Mr Vik Sharma, an eye doctor at the London Ophthalmology Centre – though he concedes that diet can play a role. ('Good nutrition is important, but can not change the genetics of our eyelashes,' he says. 'Malnourished people do have eyelash loss and shorter cycles of eyelash growth in some cases.')
So, if you can't cause them to truly get longer, what can you do, in the quest for a serious flutter? Well, you can: A) avoid breakage, which will shorten your lashes and b) help to dial up the thickness, so they have more drama.
Here's how it's done.
How to grow your eyelashes: your 6 step plan
1/ Hydrate and condition
'In order to stop breakage, it’s important to hydrate and condition lashes,' says Dr Hextall. 'Hyaluronic acid and Glycerine are humectants that hydrate skin and lashes by attracting and holding on to water .'
Try a lash product that contains these ingredients, to keep them strong.
2/ Eat your biotin
This is water-soluble vitamin B. 'Biotin is important for healthy keratin to strengthen lashes, and plays a role in the growth of thicker hair,' says Dr Hextall.
You can get this in foods like nuts and seeds, egg yolk, liver, avocados and sweet potato.
3/ And your vitamins B5 and B6
'These promote healthy hair because your body uses these nutrients to nourish your hair follicle,' says Dr Hextall.
You can find B5 in sunflower seeds, white and shiitake mushrooms, peanuts, chicken, pork, salmon and trout, and B6 in soya beans, eggs, wholegrains, pork and poultry.
4/ Plus B12
'B12 contributes to healthy lash growth,' says Buller. You can find this mostly in animal products (meat, fish, eggs.)
Vegan? Make sure that you don't deal with vitamin B12 deficiency if you're a vegan by taking a supplement.
5/ Be careful with your lash make-up
'Use a gentle make-up remover and avoid harsh mascaras and eyelash curlers,' says Buller.
'Always take care when using false lashes and ensure that the adhesive or glue is not going to exacerbate lash loss.'
6/ Use a conditioner, to protect your lashes
'Applying a lash conditioner or to keep the lashes hydrated is a good idea, too,' adds Buller. You can try a product like the below, or tap a little coconut oil onto them.
Now that you know how to grow your eyelashes, read up on how to grow your eyebrows.
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