While we’re on the subject of hair, seems like an easy leap from the top of your head to your eye. Eyelashes are also hair.

eyelashThey are made of a similar substance, just a little different combination, of the same ingredients as the hair on the rest of your body; keratins, melanins, pigment and water.

Your eyelashes are on your upper and lower lid with the top lashes at least twice as long, sometimes three times as long, as the lower lashes. They have the same structure as the rest of the hair follicles on your head and body. There are between 80-150 eyelashes on your top lid and less on the bottom. Like the rest of your hair, eyelashes have a growing phase, a resting phase, and a shedding phase. Each lash is in its own phase of growth so you don’t end up shedding your lashes all at the same time and they are often at phases of growth and different lengths. If you lose an eyelash unnaturally it takes about two months for it to grow back.

eyelash oilYour eyelashes are amazing and much hardier than one might think with their delicate curve. The curved shape isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it also serves a protective function. The upward sweep allows them to keep your sweat from rolling into your eye and also protect you from debris and foreign objects from the environment. That’s how they protect you from the outside, from the inside they help keep your eye moistened and healthy. Every time you blink, your eye is irrigated with a lubricating fluid from your meibomian glands. Meibomian glands are a type of sebaceous glands that line the lid of your eye in between your lash follicles. Meibomian glands produce meibum, which is an oily fluid that then lines the lid of your eye and acts as a barrier that prevents the lubricating fluid of your eye from spilling out. If you suffer from dry eyes, it can sometimes be because your meibomian glands are not producing enough oil. Of course, it can also be due to diet, nutrient deficiency, stress, and lifestyle related ailments.


Other crazy amazing thing about your eyelashes? They are a habitat for a symbiotic relationship with other little beings. Your eyelashes catch the debris of the world and these little guys eat the debris and keep your follicles clean. Sort of makes me think of Horton Hears a Who.... little populated dust specks in your eyelashes just trying to get by.

eyelashes greenAs with our hair, humans have been “beautifying” their eyelashes for thousands of years. In fact, in Roman era giving the appearance of long, luscious eyelashes was not only for beautifying but also to prove chastity based on the writings of Pliny the Elder, who wrote that excessive sex caused eyelashes to fall out.

Ways to keep your eyelashes healthy? Eat a good healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids, gently clean them if you wear eye makeup. Avoid harsh chemical or additive-laden removers and makeups. Some research suggests that a light coating of castor or avocado oil at night to sleep can help lashes stay strong and healthy.

One HUGE word of caution; if you are trying to make your eyelashes grow, just do healthy things that help them stay strong and healthy. Whatever you do, don’t use prostaglandin based lash enhancers. As tempting as it may seem, they can end up impacting the retina and pigment of your eye. If you have light eyes the enhancer will turn your eyes brown...true story.