How to Grow Longer and Healthier Eyelashes, According to a Dermatologist

close up of a woman's eye and eyebrow

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If you’ve tried just about everything to get longer lashes, know you’re not alone—because we have, too. And we know firsthand how frustrating it can be to not see the results you want—even after trying every trick in the book; namely, using lemon juice (ouch), coating your lashes in Vaseline, and “massaging” the lash line. The thing is, these methods aren’t proven to be effective—and could actually harm your eyes and lashes in the process.

Since we’ve already put our lashes through enough—let’s be honest—we turned to dermatologist Hadley King and beauty entrepreneur Andrea Starr to find out expert-approved ways to get longer eyelashes.

Meet the Expert

  • Hadley King, MD is an NYC-based, board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology.
  • Andrea Starr is a lash expert and the founder of Eyestarr Lash and Brow Boutique, as well as the corresponding Starr Beauty Products.

Keep scrolling for 8 proven methods for how to get eyelashes to grow, stat.

01 of 08

Take Preventative Measures

When you're trying to grow out your lashes, the best thing you can do is go easy on them. Pick a gentle makeup remover and choose a mascara that’s easy to rinse off. As nice as waterproof formulas are for some occasions, the removing process isn’t great for them.

Also: Step away from the lash curler. “I’d suggest avoid using a lash curler that could cause damage to your natural lashes while regrowing,” says Starr. Lash adhesives are another no-no. (The pain you feel when you take off your falsies after a night out is real, and the glue could actually be causing long-term damage to your lashes).Essentially, any of these "quick fixes" aren't good for the health of your natural lashes in the long run.

02 of 08

Use a Lash Growth Serum

There are tons of lash-growth serums on the market with proven effectiveness. “The active ingredient in [many serums like] Latisse is bimatoprost, which has been shown in clinical studies to make eyelashes grow longer, thicker, and darker,” says King. “It works by lengthening the time the follicle stays in the growth phase.”

Latisse is typically known as the “gold standard,” according to many pros, and as King mentions, it has been proven effective. “Find a natural, safe serum you love, and apply it twice a day with a clean brush.” (Latisse, for example, provides disposable single-use applicator brushes meant to minimize the risk of bacterial or fungal contamination or infection) Still, it’s important to talk to a dermatologist first and do your research before choosing the one for you.

For a 2-in-1 beauty and lash care solution, opt for a serum-infused mascara. It will work double-time to both lengthen and nourish eyelashes.

“A number of over-the-counter cosmetic products are advertised to increase the length, fullness, and/or darkness of eyelashes,” King says. “These products contain various ingredients such as ‘proprietary peptides,’ natural extracts, and vitamins, but since they’re technically ‘cosmetics,’ their efficacy has not been critically evaluated and their safety has not been fully studied.”

Starr agrees that it’s important to do your research into which lash serums are actually effective—and most importantly, safe for your eye area. “Lots of lash products on the market have harmful ingredients in them that could lead to permanent damage,” she says. “Although you can have amazing results when you use them, as soon as you stop, it can lead to your natural lashes falling out or becoming weaker, or other harmful, long-term side effects.”

03 of 08

Apply Natural Oils and Gels

If you’re wary of lash serums, want to avoid chemicals, or you’ve experienced irritation while using them, there are some natural DIY methods that might be worth trying. Moisturizing agents like castor oil (do not use if you are pregnant), coconut oil, and aloe vera gel may help to encourage hair growth by nourishing lashes and preventing breakage.

“There isn’t any real data to support the efficacy of castor oil or coconut oil for eyelash growth, but I do think the hydrating properties of these oils may be helpful if your lashes are becoming brittle and broken due to the use of mascara, eyelash adhesives, and curling devices,” King says.

And while there’s no direct scientific evidence that castor oil directly stimulates lash growth, specifically, it might have some benefits for your hair (and your lashes, by extension). “It won’t damage your hair at all, and can actually provide some conditioning that improves the flexibility of the hair fiber," King says.

04 of 08

Try a Lash Lift

Another treatment you can consider is a lash perm or lift, which uses a chemical solution to curl your lashes from base to tip. (So, yes, you can officially put down the lash curler). Rather than extensions, getting a lash perm utilizes your existing lashes for a 100 percent natural look and feel.

Note that the process usually begins with a tint, and your lash specialist might determine your lashes are already too short, damaged, or weak for a lash perm. (Like the hair on your head, you need enough to style). It’s generally a painless process, and extremely effective. 

05 of 08

Use Vitamin E Oil

It's no secret that vitamin E boasts a ton of benefits for hair, so why not lashes, too? A study found that participants with alopecia who took supplements of tocotrienol, part of the vitamin E family, noticed hair growth. Most likely, this resulted from the vitamin's antioxidant properties.

With vitamin E oil, you have the option of applying it topically as an oil or consuming foods that contain the vitamin (e.g. leafy greens, nuts, and avocado) or in the. form of supplements.

06 of 08

Brush Your Eyelashes Regularly

Starr suggests that brushing your lashes regularly may help to avoid breakage. Just as the hair on your head can become dry and damaged, so too can your lashes. Not only will brushing help to distribute natural, nourishing oils to lashes, but it will also keep them looking long and separated (read: no clumps here).

07 of 08

Opt for Green Tea

By this point, you must know that green tea is good for your health, right? However, did you also know that it can benefit eyelashes, as well? Given its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, plus its panthenol and caffeine content, it may help to soothe eyelids, hydrate lashes, and stimulate hair growth. To test it out for yourself, gently apply green tea (once cooled) to lashes using a cotton pad.

08 of 08

Take the Right Supplements

Starr says it doesn't hurt to take biotin supplements if you want a future with long lashes. Biotin strengthens and protects hair, and may even help to combat hair loss, too, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 fatty acids work in a similar way. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. salmon, nuts, and seeds) or taking a supplement can hydrate lashes and fight inflammation, thereby encouraging hair growth.

If you want instant gratification, try lash extensions, which are semi-permanent fibers attached to your natural lashes. “Do your research, make sure you’re seeing someone who’s highly trained and skilled in lashes,” Starr advises. They’re pain-free, virtually waterproof, and usually safe when applied properly; however, they may irritate eyes and lashes, especially when applied improperly.

  • Why are my eyelashes thinning?

    Thinning eyelashes, like thinning hair on your head, is part of the natural aging process (le sigh). It shouldn't be a concern unless you experience excessive shedding. In that case, it's best to see your doctor. Also, avoid rubbing eyes, using expired makeup, and regularly using falsies, since all of these can contribute to eyelash loss.

  • Can crying help eyelashes grow?

    While tears may help to hydrate dry, brittle lashes temporarily, there is no scientific evidence to support that crying helps eyelashes grow.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Eyelash extension facts and safety. Updated February 23, 2018.

  2. Bitton E, Courey C, Giancola P, Diaconu V, Wise J, Wittich W. Effects of LATISSE (bimatoprost 0.03 per cent topical solution) on the ocular surfaceClin Exp Optom. 2017;100(6):583-589. doi:10.1111/cxo.12507

  3. Beoy LA, Woei WJ, Hay YK. Effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in human volunteersTrop Life Sci Res. 2010;21(2):91-99.

  4. Le Floc’h C, Cheniti A, Connétable S, Piccardi N, Vincenzi C, Tosti A. Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in womenJ Cosmet Dermatol. 2015;14(1):76-82.

  5. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Eyelash extension facts and safety. Updated February 23, 2018.

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