Lashes Wilt As You Get Older, But Here Are 5 Ways To Help Them Stay Lifted
Firm, bouncy skin. Full, lush brows. A plump pout. What do all these beauty goals have in common? Well, they start to dwindle as we get older. The same goes for lifted, Bambi-like lashes: Unfortunately, eyelashes lose their luster with age.
Specifically, they thin. Ever notice how a baby's eyelashes are enviously thick? That's because their hair and skin are chock-full of collagen and other essential proteins, ones that eventually deplete with time. (It's also because babies' eyes are relatively bigger than their faces, which can make their lashes look longer and fuller. But anyway...) As you age, these levels deplete, meaning you lose hair and regrowth slows. Eventually, you'll start to see those once lush lashes starting to look, uh, lackluster.
Wilting lashes isn't only an aesthetic gripe: It also goes hand-in-hand with dryness and breakage. To save your flutters from their impending droop, here are five ways to help keep them young and spry:
Keep them hydrated.
The No. 1 tip to keep lashes lifted and perky? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Just as you tend to the hair on your head (à la a scalp mask or deep conditioner), those tiny, fine lash hairs deserve some love, too.
Many reach for fatty-acid-rich castor oil, due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. "It's super hydrating, so lashes don't become brittle and dry or break, which happens as we age," notes board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D., founder of SKINFIVE. (While broken lashes do typically grow back, assuming there's no scarring of the follicles, moisturizing them can effectively keep them full and lifted.)
Try a lash serum.
Apply a moisturizing oil to your eyelashes, and there you have it—an effective lash treatment. But for those looking for a market product, there are tons of serums available for your flutters. Some options promise length and strength (by actually extending the growth phase of hair), while others simply coat the tiny hairs with moisture. The former tends to come in synthetic, FDA-approved options, but you can find the latter in a number of natural formulas: Look for serums with aloe, vitamin E, glycerin, and fatty-acid-rich oils to encourage a doll-like lift.
Try supportive supplements.
If you're looking to go internal, consider a collagen or biotin supplement. That's because your eyelashes are structurally made of the same proteins as the hair on your head—namely, keratin. In other words, lash hairs are hairs—tiny, fine hairs but hairs all the same.
And for your body to build that keratin, it needs several types of amino acids, many of which are part of collagen peptides. The theory is that if you ingest these amino acids, they can help support your natural levels of these essential ingredients.* Biotin is also involved in keratin production, and it's believed to naturally promote healthy hair growth.* In fact, one small study showed that women with thinning hair had significant regrowth when supplementing with biotin as compared to those given a placebo.* Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that taking both biotin and collagen supplements supported increased hair growth in women.*
Sleep on your back.
Just as holding a lash curler (or a spoon, in a pinch) to your lid line can lift those lashes, sleeping with your face smashed into the pillow for eight-or-so hours can flatten them out. One night of stomach-sleeping likely won't do permanent harm, but sleeping on your back can help you avoid squashing those lashes flat over time (it'll also minimize any tugging and rubbing, which can keep them from falling out).
At the very least, you might want to invest in a silk or satin pillowcase—these don't cause as much friction as you toss and turn, so they're much gentler on your delicate lash hairs.
Fake it with mascara.
This targets more of the aesthetics, but if you need an immediate oomph, a little mascara now and then doesn't hurt. Just make sure you're doing it right: Sheena Yaitanes, the founder of Kosas, recommends swiping on an extra coat of mascara after your lashes are almost (note: not completely) dry. That finishing touch helps your lashes look full and fluffy, and it also keeps them from drooping throughout the day. Because nothing is more aggravating than smudged, raccoon-like mascara midday.
Lashes lose their curl as you get older, but there are ways to slow down the process before those hairs completely flatten out. The overarching theme is to follow standard lessons of lash care: Coat them in hydrating ingredients, avoid physical stress, and support fullness at the internal level—you know, all good things.*
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.