How to Enhance Your Eyelashes

Worried that your eyelashes seem light, short, or too fine? You're not alone. The practice of eyelash enhancing dates back hundreds of years. Luckily there are many modern options.

Eyelash Anatomy

Eyelashes are designed to help protect your eyes. Most people have 100-150 lashes that are more coarse and pigmented than the hair on your scalp. Like scalp hair, eyelashes have growth, latency, and death phases. While the texture and number of lashes can vary from person to person, eyelashes don't increase in number throughout your life.

Mascara & Curling

For most of us, these tools are all we'll ever need. When applying, makeup artists recommend pressing gently from root to tip to encourage curling and wiggle the wand from side to side to disperse mascara all around each lash. If you have problems with clumping, use an eyelash comb to thin lumps. One of the most important things to know about mascara is when to throw it out. Bacteria starts growing once the bottle has been opened, so be sure to replace it every three months. If using a curler, you can use it before or after mascara application—just make sure that your lashes are dry.

False Lashes

Artificial lashes are another option—though one best saved for nighttime use, especially if you're using a full strip. Individual lashes are also available to fill in light spots. Look for ones made from natural hair. Simply apply these with the adhesive, and then apply mascara to the falsies along with your natural lashes to blend them together. Most at-home false eyelashes need to be removed after a day, since extended wear can lead to contact dermatitis.

Eyelash Extensions

Another kind of false lash, these are usually applied in a salon and can be worn for up to several weeks. This process—which usually runs a few hundred dollars—involves applying individual lashes to existing ones in order to thicken and extend natural lashes.

Vitamin B Supplement

The vitamin B supplement Biotin can help strengthen brittle lashes, as can other eyelash conditioners. Revitalash® is an over-the-counter conditioning formula. The original formula is very popular, and the company has also released several cosmetic products containing the original active ingredients.

Prescription Options

Bimtaprost, more commonly called Latisse®, is an FDA-approved solution that can help increase eyelash length and double the thickness. Originally developed to treat eye disorders, this compound was soon sold for enhancing eyelashes once scientists discovered it's positive effect on patients' eyelashes. Latisse® requires regular application in order to maintain its effects, and comes with a hefty price tag.

Eyelash Implants or Transplants

Usually used to reverse congenital defects or in reconstruction efforts, this surgery may be an option from a cosmetic surgeon. In most cases, a patch of scalp hair is removed from the head and then transplanted onto the eyelid. This hair will require regular trimming and curling since it is not eyelash hair.



Sources: "Eyelash Perk-Me-Ups" Good Housekeeping. Web. 2012 "Enhanced Eyelashes: Prescription and Over-the-Counter Options." National Institutes of Health. Web. August 21, 2010.