Not everyone is “born with them,” and we’ve all taken advantage of mascara, curlers, or falsies more than once to create lush, fluttery lashes. However, lashes can be persuaded to grow naturally with just a little help from things you already have in your pantry.
Meet the experts
Dani Kimiko Vincent, celebrity makeup and brow artist and founder of KIMIKO
Mary Irwin, a professional makeup artist
Yasmine Vasquez, Lash Artist at Brow Down Studio
Medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician
13 Ways to Grow Eyelashes Faster
Like hair and nails, eyelashes need time to grow and become strong, so patience is key. In fact, they go through the same three phases of growth—anagen, catagen, and telogen—with each cycle lasting between 4 to 10 weeks, per research published in the journal Elsevier, but the wait is worth it.
“Like hair elsewhere, lashes can experience thinning due to internal factors, including fluctuating hormone levels, aging, and some serious health concerns like nutrient deficiencies, thyroid imbalances and autoimmune issues,” says Dani Kimiko Vincent, celebrity makeup and brow artist and founder of KIMIKO. “External factors include damage from rubbing too harshly when removing makeup, reaction to mascaras or eyeliners, or irritation from lash extensions.”
A few prescription eyelash growth promoters have been shown to work well and have been evaluated for safety by researchers from UCLA. Some over-the-counter products purport to increase eyelash length and fullness, but these types of products do not have to be FDA approved before they hit the market, so they haven’t necessarily been studied for safety and quality [source].
Here are some things you can do at home to help make your lashes grow thicker and fuller.
1. Make sure you’re properly removing your makeup
Leaving makeup, particularly mascara, on overnight is the absolute worst thing you can do for your lashes, according to professional makeup artist, Mary Irwin. “Lashes can and will break if you’re sleeping on them with makeup still on,” she says.
2. Try lash conditioners
This DIY lash conditioner is made with castor oil and aloe vera, both of which help strengthen lashes and promote growth. Conditioning lashes is the number one step toward growing healthy, full lashes.
Just like the hair on your head, your eyelashes need conditioning to stay healthy and grow longer! Aloe vera smoothes and moisturizes eyelashes from root to tip for gorgeous, conditioned lashes.
3. Nourish from within
It’s important to eat nourishing foods that contain a lot of vitamins like fresh fruits and vegetables for healthy lashes. Because protein is crucial for tissue repair and hair growth, foods that are high in protein like eggs and fish help, too, along with their natural fatty acids.
An omega-3 fatty acid supplement was shown to promote hair growth in animal studies [source], and—who knows?— that effect may also apply to lashes.
A diet rich in collagen or its precursors provides the essential building blocks for healthy hair growth—essentially fortifying lash growth from within. Making sure that you’re supporting lash growth from within is just as important as taking care of them from the outside!
4. Moisturize with olive oil
Olive oil is also incredibly nourishing and conditions the lashes, halting any damage caused by dryness in its tracks. Eyelashes can be easily dried out by makeup—especially waterproof mascara—so a plant-based oil is perfect for replenishing that moisture.
Glide a cotton-tipped swab dipped in olive oil over your eyelashes at night to let them soak in much-needed nutrients. It’s best to use something like this just before bed as it conditions your lower eyelashes, too—all while you’re sleeping!
5. Give them a brush
File under strange but true: brushing your lashes may make a small difference in their growth. Use a brow comb to brush your lashes daily to promote faster growth.
Gently brushing them once a day helps to ensure that the lashes aren’t tangled around each other, which could lead to them falling out when you use your lash curler or mascara. It’s also a great way to look a little more awake in the morning, totally makeup free!
6. Soak with coconut milk
Coconut milk is a must in the kitchen and the beauty cabinet. It is unique among all plant-based milks as it contains a high level of fats and proteins. The natural lipids in coconut milk work to condition the lashes, while the proteins help temporarily rebuild them for lush, long lashes.
Use it to grow your lashes by placing soaked and squeezed cotton pads on your eyes for 15 minutes, then rinse with cold water.
7. Take a tea break
Who doesn’t love relaxing with a healthy cup of green tea? You can drink it to get all of its health benefits [source], and you can even apply it directly to your lashes.
Just dip a cotton ball into freshly steeped but cooled to room temperature green tea, and swipe it over your lashes to help them grow faster. You can make a fresh batch every day to take advantage of the green tea antioxidants at their most potent.
Another life hack—the used tea bags can be used to help reduce the appearance of under-eye circles—talk about multipurpose!
8. Rub your lids
Rubbing your eyelids stimulates the hair follicles, which could help lashes grow faster and stronger than before. (But still remember to remove eye makeup gently, without tugging or pulling the skin on your lids.)
The key is to gently massage the area, providing a circulation booster that supports enhanced lash growth. It’s best to massage as you’re removing your eye makeup, preferably with an oil-based makeup remover, to do a 2-in-1 double duty of makeup removal and lash conditioning!
9. Enrich with castor oil
Vitamin E should already be part of your diet (think nuts and seeds!), but you can also use it directly on your lashes overnight. Castor oil is a rich source of vitamin E, which makes it so effective for supporting healthy hair growth.
Quick tip – if you’ve already whipped up a batch of our castor oil brow serum, you can use it on your lashes too! I personally like to have two tubes, one for my lashes and one for my brows—keep them labeled, and you won’t mix them up.
10. Take biotin supplements
Adding supplements to your diet such as biotin will help to strengthen your hair, skin and nails—including your lashes, notes Vasquez.
Biotin has been touted as the magic enhancer for hair, nail, and lash growth, though its ability to help those who don’t have an underlying deficiency has not been verified [source]. If you do decide to give it a try, look for a high-quality supplement and stick to the recommended dosage for best results.
If you’re not sure about supplements, try to include more biotin-rich foods in your diet—nuts, whole grains, salmon, Swiss chard, and chicken are all healthy sources of biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin, and all the B vitamins help to boost hair and nail growth—so you can’t go wrong with it!
11. Avoid waterproof mascara
While the longer-lasting product may be a good idea for days at the pool, it also tends to dry your lashes. This could cause them to fall out, and that’s not what you’re looking for. Opt for non-waterproof or tubing mascaras because they add that extra oomph without causing any long-term damage to your lashes!
Yasmine Vasquez, Lash Artist at Brow Down Studio, in Los Angeles, suggests using a keratin or biotin mascara and pairing it with a lash serum to help maintain the integrity of the hairs while the serum promotes their growth.
But if you can’t live without waterproof mascaras, be sure to use an oil-based eyelash serum to condition and nurture your lashes. It helps to restore moisture to your lashes, preventing them from becoming brittle and snapping off—not a cute look!
12. Avoid falsies
False eyelashes are great for special occasions, but try not to rely on them. The quick fix isn’t great for your natural lashes in the long term since removing them will often cause the accidental removal of your own lashes.
Lash glue is also hard to remove from the lashline completely, so it’s best to avoid it if you know you have a bad habit of improper makeup removal! Any residue left behind could cause irritation, infection and block lashes from growing over time—definitely not something you want to happen if you’re growing your lashes!
13. Use caution when curling your lashes
Vincent recommends always curling bare lashes prior to mascara application. “Be gentle when clamping down on lashes and release fully before moving to the next section if you’re curling a few times throughout lashes,” she says. “Ensure your lash curler is also clean so that product doesn’t stick to lashes and pull them out upon release.”
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.