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How do you grow your eyelashes back after years of extensions?

0-800-Beauty-Hotline: Got a beauty dilemma? We’re here to help you in your hour of need.

Are you a recovering eyelash extension addict? This is your safe space, and you’re not alone. In 2019, US eye cosmetics sales (mascaras, eyeshadows, falsies and eyeliners), were valued at $882.13, and in the same year, Business of Fashion reported that demand for eyelash extensions had outstripped eye make-up and threatened the popularity of mascara as a whole category. We’re clearly obsessed with our lashes.

However, we all know that wearing false lashes for too long can damage and cause serious harm to the follicles. Poor application or bad removal techniques can have a long term damaging effect on your natural lashes.

This week’s instalment sees eyelash-anonymous calling in for an all too common request: what do we do about sparse, damaged lashes after wearing extensions?

Dilemma: I was addicted to the fluttery unnatural lengths my eyelash technician achieved, and now I’ve been left with balding, short lashes. What should I do?

Emergency response: Ok, so no sudden movements. There’s no quick easy road to recovery for lashes that have been damaged by extensions. First of all, it’s time to break up with your lash lady, at least for a period of time.

Extensions grip to your natural lashes, so as your natural lashes grow out, it’s increasingly difficult for the original lash to support the weight of the artificial extension lash and so breakages are likely, if not expected. Extensions typically require glue, and any glue that’s applied to your eyelashes means allowing a certain amount of chemicals into close contact with your very sensitive hair follicles around your eyes, and the chance of infections is high.

Most people will see a more patchy lash regrowth as the extensions won’t be on the same regrowth cycle as your natural hairs and neither will they be on the same shedding schedule. Extensions aren’t easy on the bank balance either with most packages costing around £170 in London.

In short, if you’ve been left with patchy, short lashes, that’s why. So what to do now? Try to remain calm.

Lash serums should be your first port of call. They have come on leaps and bounds in the last decade and customer reviews would suggest they genuinely stimulate eyelash growth. Of all the beauty products I’ve ever tried (and there have been a lot) I’ve never seen a more visible result than the ones that followed on from consistent use of RevitaLash. In fact, Megan Markle is a fan. A mix of peptides and lipids and botanicals such as ginseng means that RevitaLash is the most famous and cult eyelash serum on the market.

Created by ophthalmologist Dr. BrinkenhoffI after his wife suffered terrible eyelash loss during chemotherapy treatments, it’s a real miracle product. Retailing at £97, it isn’t cheap but if you’re wanting results, it’s worth the steep spend. The jury’s out on whether castor oil promotes eyelash regrowth, with some beauty journos having similarly lacklustre results as I did but everyone’s different and at a much more affordable cost, it is worth a go.

If possible, give your lashes a break for at least a few weeks. If you’re still wanting to use mascaras, use clever oil washes that are kind and help remove eye-makeup gently. I love Aesop’s Parsley Seed Facial Oil with warm water on a muslin cloth followed by a double cleanse, with something foamy like Dr.Jart+’s Cicapair Tiger Grass Enzyme Cleaner. You’ll only see results from the serums if you’re applying to properly cleansed lashes.

If the thought of going natural is too much, a lash lift and a tint will be a way to combat the withdrawal and let your lashes breathe while also enhancing your natural eyelashes, whatever state they might be in.

Jiemao, a London salon chain, is offering the newest generation of treatments in the lash lift game. Its Organic Lash Lift uses cruelty-free ingredients that lift your lashes while nourishing them. It’s as much of a treatment that has the long term health of your eyelashes in mind allowing them to look done without the application of mascara or overuse of eyelash curlers that can weaken lashes over time.

Providing a safe and easy way to temporarily boost the lashes, the Organic Lash Lift (priced at £70) takes up to 60 minutes with results lasting for six to eight weeks,” explains founder Salina Boardman. However, this lash lift is non-toxic, replacing harsh chemicals with cruelty-free, medical and food-grade ingredients.” This treatment has been designed to infuse your natural lashes with active ingredients, which will help strengthen and promote healthier growth,” she adds.

Adding a tint to your treatment will enhance even the smallest and thinnest of lash hairs, enhancing the impact of whatever’s already there.

Ready to grow back your lashes? Check out a few of my lash rehab product recommendations below.

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