By Taylor Arnold
The flicker and flutter of long lashes can accentuate the eyes, making them seem wider and more vibrant, drawing the focus into the iris and away from lines or wrinkles. Keeping that lashline healthy, however, is crucial for your eyes; lashes help keep out damaging particles in the air.
Makeup artist Nyssa Green reminds us: "Eyelashes aren't just for batting and winking, of course. They actually serve a real purpose. They are key in the protection and safety of our eyes. Think of how quickly you react when something gets near your eyes. Eyelashes cause that eye-saving reflex."
So how do you protect your eyes' first line of defense? "The lash root is delicate and lashes can break with aggressive handling," says Dr. Weston Waxweiler of North Atlanta Dermatology. "In terms of cleaning, be gentle. Remove all traces of eye makeup from the eye area, especially your lashes. Any good eye makeup remover, or even cold cream, will do the trick." Green warns, "Pulling, wiping and tugging can cause lashes to weaken and even fall out. Conditioning lashes is a must." Counteract any damage done with a natural conditioner, like castor oil, or a cosmetic serum. Green points out that there are products available in a variety of price points—from the all-natural, wheat-based, luxury brand Lashfood® Eyelash Enhancer to the drugstore bargain of Rimmel's Lash Accelerator.
For promoting growth in lashes, many people have great luck with prescription formulas. Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker of Atlanta Face & Body Center notes that Latisse® is one of the most popular products in her practice. "Did you know that our lashes decrease in length, fullness and darkness as we age? After only 16 weeks of applying Latisse to the base of your upper lashes, they can double in fullness. It is available by prescription, so you will need to discuss it with your cosmetic doctor." The team at Dermatology Consultants reports noticeable results using Alphaeon® Beauty Lash Serum. Applied once daily along the upper lids in a technique similar to liquid eyeliner, this product increases both the length and the volume of the lashes to a measurable degree.
Daily supplements like vitamins B, D and E are also good for promoting lash growth, and they keep the hair strong enough to withstand the wear and tear that comes with the daily use of mascara, lash curlers and makeup. It's important to be careful with certain makeup products, as they can harm your lashes. "Waterproof mascara has ingredients that dry out the lashes, making them brittle and prone to breaking," says esthetician Melody Kuck of the International SalonSpa Business Network. "Once in awhile isn't an issue, but daily use will cause damage." For a healthier option, Beautycounter™ Lengthening Mascara is free of toxins and hormone-disrupting preservatives and delivers amazing length and definition via a precision brush and conditioning formula of organic oils and shea butter.
If your lashes still need an extra boost—and are at least three millimeters long—you may be a good candidate for extensions by a skilled lash expert. Seek out a pro with the training required to master these techniques and protect the delicate eye area. According to Tamara Townsend, certified lash professsional at Steve Hightower Hair Salon & Day Spa, the cost ranges from approximately $150-$600 depending on the stylist and the type of set. "Classic eyelash extensions are applied one lash extension to one eyelash. Volume [sets] are microfine eyelash extensions applied two to eight per natural-growing eyelash," Townsend explains. "As natural eyelashes grow and shed (which is a cycle of about 30-90 days) the extension sheds with the natural lash." With extensions on, avoid any oil-based eye products or lash curlers and clean daily with a special lash shampoo.
When you want thicker, blacker lashes for a special evening or occasion, try the convenience of false lashes. Some sets sit perfectly on top of your own lashes, sticking with gentle adhesive. To make the most of them, pair them with a black kohl pencil and a smoky shade of eyeshadow. And if you love the look of falsies but don't want the hassle of a full set, try a set of partial false lashes that are applied with adhesive and a small applicator. And the best part? They can come off at the end of the night with a gentle eye-makeup remover.
Don't bat an eye at the chance to try one of these eye-catching options for defining and developing healthy, strong, beautiful lashes!
Atlanta Face & Body Center — atlantafaceandbody.com
Beautycounter — beautycounter.com
Dermatology Consultants — dermatologyconsultants.org
International SalonSpa Business Network — salonspanetwork.com
North Atlanta Dermatology — naderm.com
Steve Hightower Salon Hair Salon & Day Spa — stevehightower.com
The Green Room Agency — thegreenroomagency.com