The length and thickness of your eyelashes is determined by your genes. There is nothing that you can do to alter that preset limit. But for a variety of reasons your eyelashes may not be reaching their full potential, and some simple home remedies can help to fix that.
Restoring your eyelashes to their optimum length will not only give you a little more flutter factor, it will also help to protect your eyes.
How Eyelashes Protect Your Eyes
While eyelashes are today treated as a cosmetic feature, they carry out a very important role. Eyelashes stop your eyes from drying out and they keep dust particles away from your eyes.
Eyelashes keep your eyes healthy and free from infection. Eyelashes that fall out too soon and lashes that break off leave your eyes in a vulnerable position.
In fact, some people have little to no eyelashes due to conditions like alopecia and madarosis, and those people suffer from frequent eye infections as a result.
Your eye’s first line of defence against infection is provided by your tear ducts, which coat the surface of your eye with a thin layer of water, oil and mucus. This fluid layer continually washes the eyes and removes foreign particles like bacteria and viruses.
The next line of defence is your eyelashes, which deflect larger particles like dust and allergens, and which channel air away from your eyes. Channelling air away only happens when your eyelashes are the right length for your eye.
When lashes are too short, air hits the eye and the protective fluid layer dries out, leaving eyes, sore, irritated and vulnerable to infection.
When lashes are too long for the eye, they actually channel air onto the eye’s surface, which leads to the more drying and the depositing of more particles.
Your optimum eyelash length, as already mentioned, is set by your genes, and it has a relationship to the width of your eye.
The golden ratio for protective eyelashes is when eyelashes are one third of the eyes width. When lashes get longer than that they channel air and particles into the eye.
How Mascara Damages Your Natural Lashes
All mascara is not created equal, and some mascaras even include dangerous ingredients that are known to cause skin damage, are known carcinogens, can cause nerve damage, reproductive problems and more.
An expensive brand is no insurance against these chemicals either. If you want to check out how your mascara brand (or any other cosmetic or skin care item) rates for safety, then take a look at the Skin Deep Database.
When mascara coats lashes it also works its way into the hair follicles where it can cause blockages and where the chemicals in the product can cause inflammation and damage.
Mascara also makes eyelashes more brittle, and brittle lashes are more likely to break off and to fall out.
Alternatives to mascara that actually protect lashes rather than damage them can be found in natural oils and in vaseline. Oils like coconut oil, olive oil and castor oil, coat lashes, clean and protect hair follicles, and add definition and shine.
Use a tiny amount of oil on your fingertip and swipe it gently over your lashes, then use a clean mascara wand to comb it through.
Curling Your Lashes Causes Damage
While curling your lashes makes for a nice wide eyed effect, your eyelash curler could be damaging your eyelashes. A curler that isn’t kept clean can harbour bacteria and fungus that infect hair follicles and slow down growth. And a curler that has mascara residue on it can have just enough stickiness to pull eyelashes out when you lift the curler away from your eyes.
The solution is to keep your eyelash curler (and other makeup tools) scrupulously clean.
Top Home Remedy For Longer Eyelashes – Eat Bone Broth
Adding bone broth to your diet can make up for a lot of the nutritional deficiencies that not only impact you eyelash growth but that have a huge effect on your overall health.
Hair is primarily made from a protein called keratin, and a major component of keratin is an amino acid called cysteine. The best natural source of cysteine is from bone broth which is an age old soup that has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Paleo foods movement.
Bone broth is really easy to make, tastes great and is super healthy.
In addition to being full of nutrients which are largely missing from the western diet, bone broth helps to heal your body and makes it better able to absorb the other nutrients in your diet.
Gut problems that lead to poor nutrient uptake and other disorders are a common problem for many people today. Factors like stress, gut bacteria imbalance, long term contraceptive use and poor diet all contribute to increased gut permeability.
While a degree of gut permeability is necessary for nutrients to pass through to the bloodstream, when the gut is too permeable, larger particles of undigested nutrients pass through and cause health problems including food sensitivities, inflammation and some autoimmune diseases.
Gut health expert, Dr Thomas O’Bryan suggests that autoimmune diseases will soon become the leading cause of death, and gut permeability is at the root of many autoimmune diseases.
When nutrients haven’t been fully processed by your gut, they aren’t available for use by your body, so even though you may be eating a nutrient rich diet, if your gut is too permeable, you could actually be low on critical nutrients.
When this happens your body will use the nutrients that it has available to it for the most important functions and your eyelashes will be low down on the list.
Bone broth can heal your gut and prevent the problem of hyper-permeability. Years ago many meals would have included the nutrients found in bones, and bone broth was the base for soups, gravies and stews. But as home cooking gave way to convenience and processed foods, and the artificial and dangerous flavoring MSG came onto the scene, bones fell out favor and our diets lost the super nutrition that they provide.
The magic component of bone broth that can heal your gut and allow your body to make use of nutrients properly is gelatin.
When you boil up bones the collagen that they contain hydrolyzes into gelatin and it’s this gelatin that heals your gut lining.
So by eating bone broth you can make sure that your gut is in good shape and able to absorb all of the nutrients that your body needs to be healthy and to make your hair, nails and eyelashes grow properly.
What else can you get from bone broth?
Bones are 50% protein and contain all of the essential amino acids that your body uses as the building blocks for the thousands of different proteins it needs to keep your body running smoothly.
Bone broth contains glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). People spend good money on supplements that contain GAGs, but you can get them from tasty bone broth for next to nothing. GAGs include hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. GAGs help to keep your joints healthy which is really important, and healthy joints allow you to exercise well. Exercise gets your blood pumping, which delivers nutrients to your hair follicles and helps your hair and your eyelashes to grow.
Another nutrient in bone broth is glycine. Glycine helps your body to detoxify all of those substances that cause problems by supporting the health of your liver, and it’s way more effective than juice cleanses or any of the other detoxifying treatments that are heavily promoted these days as being essential for good health.
Your liver is your body’s detox factory, so anything that supports your liver function gives you better overall health. In one study researchers used glycine on rats that had alcohol induced fatty liver disease. The rats given glycine showed vast improvements in liver function compared to the rats that didn’t receive any. Which shows what a powerful liver boosting substance glycine is.
When your body is able to efficiently remove the masses of chemical substances, metabolic byproducts and heavy metals that it’s exposed to everyday, it will be able to work properly, and that means that your eyelashes can grow to the length that they were meant to.
And we’re still not done with the amazing powers of bone broth!
Antioxidants are supremely important for good health. They combat the free radical damage that kills cells or causes mutations. When your body is low on antioxidants, and high on oxidative stress, every system in your body suffers.
Oxidative stress is implicated in the development of many serious and life threatening conditions, like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Your body uses two types of antioxidant, those that it makes, and those that it obtains from food. Two well known dietary antioxidants are vitamin C and vitamin E. The most powerful antioxidants however are the ones that you body makes itself, and these are collectively known as endogenous antioxidants.
The most important endogenous antioxidants are uric acid and glutathione, and both of these antioxidants require glycine for their production.
So whenever you see this or that superfood promoted for it’s antioxidant benefits, remember that good old fashioned bone broth is a superfood too.
B vitamins are an important group of vitamins and those who are deficient in these nutrients find that they have dull skin and brittle hair and nails, among other problems.
When you eat meat and eggs, you take in large amounts of an important amino acid called methionine. But too much methionine raises blood levels of an amino acid called homocysteine. In order to break down homocysteine, your body has to use a lot of B vitamins, and you are at risk for vitamin B deficiency even if your diet includes plenty of these vitamins.
Enter glycine once more. Glycine can break down homocysteine without the need for B vitamins, leaving your body free to use them for other purposes.
Have you heard that stress can make your hair fall out? Well it’s true and most people today experience an unprecedented level of stress which has dire implications for health.
Multitasking glycine is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter that combats stress and helps you to relax – and keep your hair (and eyelashes).
When you eat bone broth, you also get a good level of minerals. Bones contain, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and in the case of fish bones, iodine, which are all necessary for a healthy body.
The proteins in bone broth provide strong anti-inflammatory protection. Inflammation in the body is a cause of chronic diseases and contributes to poor skin and hair condition.
If your eyelashes are shorter and thinner than they should be, then I can’t think of any one home remedy that will more effectively address the deficiencies that will be at the root of the problem than bone broth.
So bone broth is pretty awesome (unless you’re a vegetarian or a vegan) and best of all this super nutritious, healing food is so cheap to make it’s practically free!
All of the bones that you normally discard when you’re preparing meat dishes can be used to make bone broth, or you can drop by your local butchers and ask them for bones. Butchers will often give the bones away for free, especially if you buy other meat from them, but even if they charge for the bones the cost will be very low. The only other ingredients that you need are some vegetables, herbs and water.
If you have a slow cooker or Crock Pot, all you have to do is throw the ingredients into the pot and leave everything to cook down for 24 hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use a big stock pot on your stove top.
Here is a basic bone broth recipe.
- 4 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan mountain salt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar (helps to draw the minerals out of the bones)
- 2 large onions, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 2-3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
- 2-4 lbs meat, fish or poultry bones (mixed is fine)
- Place all ingredients in your slow cooker and set on high.
- Once everything is boiling away, reduce the setting to low for 12-24 hours. The longer you leave the broth to cook the richer and better tasting it will be.
- Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer.
- Store your bone broth in the fridge until you need to use it.
You can add any vegetables or herbs and spices that you want to, but bear in mind that some vegetables will make the broth bitter, so avoid things like broccoli, cabbage, green pepper, collard greens and mustard greens.
Roasting the bones before adding them to the pot will give you a broth with a deeper flavor. To roast the bones, arrange then on a baking tray and cook in an oven heated to 350F for one hour.
After you make the first batch of broth with the bones, you can reuse the bones to make even more! The bones can be reused until they turn soft.
Once bone broth is cold it will gel up, this is due to the presence of all of that healthy gelatin, so don’t be alarmed at its consistency and think that something has gone wrong.
Use heated bone broth as a tasty warm drink as it is, or use it as the base for soups, sauces and gravies, or any other recipe that calls for stock.
You May Have Eyelash Mites
If your eyelashes fall out before they have a chance to reach their full length, then a possible cause is eyelash mites
Billions of people have microscopic mites that live on their skin and these mites usually cause no harm, even the ones that live on and around eyelashes. But in some cases, usually due to stress or immune conditions, the mite population can be too large and then problems do arise.
Eyelash mites that live on humans are of two types, called demodex folliculorum and demodex brevis, and they live in the hair follicles and the connected sebaceous glands on your skin, scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes. These mites feed on skin cells and on the oily secretions from sebaceous glands.
Half of all adults and two thirds of elderly people carry these mites and those with oily skin tend to have larger mite populations than those with normal or dry skin.
Women who regularly wear mascara and other eye make also have a higher prevalence of eyelash mites, and according to Dr Oz, women that sleep in their makeup have eyelash mites as a result.
When a mite population grows too large, there can be as many as 25 mites in each hair follicle. The mites live inside the hair follicle during the day and come up to the surface at night to mate. A female mite can lay around 2 dozen eggs in each hair follicle and the eggs take 4 days to hatch.
Other symptoms of eyelash mites living in your eyelash follicles or elsewhere on your face can include:
So how do you kill the mites that could be causing slower eyelash growth and making your eyelashes fall out?
The most effective home remedy to combat eyelash mites is tea tree oil. Daily application of this essential oil will kill all of the mites in a few weeks. You will also need to ensure that you cleanse your skin properly to remove oil and makeup.
Tea tree oil needs to be diluted with water and applied very carefully with a q tip to avoid getting any into the eye.
You can also buy 5% tea tree oil cream or ointment and apply that to the eyelid daily.
When you take steps to avoid damaging the eyelashes that you have, address any infections that may be present and ensure that you are giving your body the nutrition that it needs, then you will find that your eyelashes will grow to the length and thickness that your genes allow for, and that length will be just perfect to protect your eyes and keep them healthy.