Although I sometimes find myself wishing my lashes were just a little bit longer, I admit I'm too nervous to try extensions. But I'm also not really one to wear falsies everyday either. So if, like me, you're into the idea of unique ways to make your lashes grow— ways that don't require you to attach extra lashes to your real ones— you may be surprised by some of the methods that can actually work. To find out some of the ways you may not have thought can actually encourage natural growth, I emailed with an expert.
Shannique Austin, top celebrity lash artist and owner and master stylist of Glam Spa in Westlake Village, California, let me in on some of the sneaky ways you can stimulate growth of your lashes. And I must say, some of these methods are seriously surprising. Sure, the results won't be instantaneous...you'll have to be a little more patient with these tricks. But in the end, your lashes will still be all yours. So you don't have to deal with things like lash glue, stocking false lashes, and even totally changing up your makeup and cleansing routines to accommodate extensions, here are five easier (and more natural) ways to make your lashes grow:
1. Green Tea
"Green tea is rich with antioxidant properties which have been said to aid in the stimulation of the growth of lashes," says Austin. But that's not all. Even the B-vitamins that are found in green tea can also help strengthen the follicles of lashes, she explains. For longer lashes within three months, Austin recommends soaking a cotton ball in green tea, applying it to your lashes, and letting it sit for four or five minutes before rinsing off.
2. Petroleum Jelly
Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly, $4, Target
So your eyelashes don't become dry and brittle, it's important to moisturize them. Austin recommends applying "an ample amount of petroleum jelly to the lashes using a cotton swab." Next, gently wipe away any excess so as to keep the petroleum jelly from getting into your eyes. After leaving it on overnight, be sure to rinse any remaining petroleum jelly off the next morning. Although Austin explains that there is currently no evidence of long-term, growth benefits from using petroleum jelly, this treatment will help keep lashes conditioned and even give the appearance of thicker and longer lashes while the petroleum jelly is applied.
Shea Moisture 100% Pure Jamaican Black Castor Oil, $9, Sally Beauty
Just like massaging the scalp can help stimulate hair growth, massaging the eyelids can also help stimulate eyelash growth, says Austin. However, she urges to do so with caution: "Optometrists warn that rubbing the eyes can cause dark circles, spread infection, and even damage the cornea permanently." Austin therefore suggests using a castor-oil-based oil to very gently massage the lashes themselves. With consistent use, the hair-growing oils and stimulation will produce gradual results.
4. Witch Hazel
Thayers Witch Hazel Astringent with Aloe Vera, $11, Target
Because witch hazel is an astringent with cell-tightening properties, it can soothe follicles and stimulate hair growth, explains Austin. Try using a cotton swab to swipe the product over your lashes before going to bed, but use caution as Austin also notes that it can be dangerous if witch hazel enters your eyes.
5. Lash Serum
neuLASH Lash Enhancing Serum, $150, Skin Research Laboratories
Of course, a lash serum will also help stimulate growth. Austin suggests looking for one that is formulated with bioengineered peptides, biotin, and B-vitamins to promote healthy follicles and strengthen lashes. However, if you want a DIY option, Hello Glow recommends conditioning your lashes with a combination of castor oil and aloe vera. Together, these ingredients will help stimulate growth and reduce breakage. Either way, you should be able to see results in about 30 days.
After all, just because you want longer lashes doesn't mean you can't grow them yourself.