Does Crying Make Your Eyelashes Longer? Derms Weigh in on the Trending Myth

Close up of a woman's eye

 ohlamour studio / Stocksy

Nothing feels better than the sensation you get after a good cry. Whether they’re happy or sad tears, post-sob session you can’t help but feel like a load has been lifted from your shoulders. There’s an undeniable mental perk to letting it all out. Puffy red eyes aside, some argue that there’s an unexpected beauty boost, too: That crying makes your eyelashes grow longer.

To get to the bottom of that common question, we turned to two board-certified dermatologists: Marisa Garshick, MD, and Rebecca Marcus, MD. Together, they helped us explore the science around crying and eyelashes. Read on to find out if crying actually makes your eyelashes longer—and if not, what you can do to lengthen those lashes.

Meet the Expert

  • Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City.
  • Rebecca Marcus, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist with a special interest in skincare. She practices in Dallas, Texas, and is the founder of Maei MD.

The Science Around Crying and Eyelashes

There are plenty of beauty myths and rumors out there, and right now a trending one is that crying just might make your eyelashes grow longer. Before we dive into that directly, let’s get to the bottom of the science behind crying and eyelashes. It’s important to understand what tears consist of and what happens to your eyelashes when you cry.

“Tears are made of water, fatty lipids, electrolytes, proteins, and mucin, which together create the three layers in the tears: the mucous layer, the aqueous layer, and the oily layer,” explains Garshick. “Tears help to protect the eyes from irritants. With crying, the tears help to clear debris from the eyes, including particles and dust."

Benefits of Crying

It turns out that the main benefits of crying may be more psychological than physical, as anyone who has had to deal with red, puffy eyes after a crying fest is well aware. The main perk is the sigh of relief you may hopefully feel after crying.

“Crying can help to relieve stress, and it is thought that emotional tears contain stress hormones and other toxins, though more research is needed,” Garshick says. As for the physical perks, she adds that “crying helps to remove irritants that may be near the lashes.” Marcus confirms: “The tears can remove debris and makeup.”

Does Crying Help Your Eyelashes Grow?

We're sorry to break it to you, but crying doesn’t actually make your eyelashes longer. “This is a myth,” says Marcus. “There is no evidence that crying actually increases eyelash growth.” While it may appear that way when you're spilling tears, it’s just a temporary effect. “Crying does not make the eyelashes grow but the eyelashes may appear darker or straighter as tears lubricate the lashes,” Garshick says.

So how can you actually get longer lashes? “Lash growth serums have become popular as a way to achieve fuller lashes naturally, without relying on other cosmetics or extensions,” Garshick says. While there are plenty of lash growth serums available on beauty shelves, Latisse is the only FDA-approved product to enhance eyelash growth. “Latisse is an excellent solution for increasing lash length,” Marcus says. “Although it does not make eyelashes grow, it does extend their length by extending their growth phase, giving them more time to grow longer.”

Latisse is prescription-only and uses an ingredient known as bimatoprost, which is a prostaglandin analog. “Importantly, in a double-blinded study, Latisse was found to be both safe and effective at making lashes longer, darker, and thicker,” Garshick says. “The over-the-counter (OTC) products incorporate ingredients such as peptides, vitamins, natural extracts, and certain prostaglandin analogs. For someone who prefers to avoid a prescription product or is unable to get a prescription, some OTC options can be a good place to start. If you have tried an OTC option and are not seeing desired results, then it is a good time to consider the prescription and discuss with your dermatologist if you are a good candidate.”

The Final Takeaway

While a good sob can offer some stress relief, crying won’t make your eyelashes longer. As the only FDA-approved lash growth product, a Latisse prescription can help lashes reach new lengths. There are also plenty of lash growth-boosting serums on the market now, so getting longer lashes is nothing to cry about.  

Related Stories