Solutions for Thinning Eyelashes

Pick regular mascara over waterproof to keep lashes from breaking.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, there's no better frame than thick, scrumptiously luscious lashes. It takes a little more love to whip sparse, thinning eyelashes into a dense, sexy flutter. Using the wrong eyelash enhancing techniques can take a toll on your follicles, so treat them gently to keep the remainder of your lashes intact.

Lengthen

Mascara is a must for most women. Paula Begoun, author of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," advises women with thinning lashes to opt for basic mascara over water-soluble and waterproof brands. Basic mascara doesn't weigh your lashes down, and this makes them less prone to breakage. Wear water-resistant mascara only on the occasions that demand it, such as sad movies and your best friend's wedding. Finally, don't go gung-ho with that wand, unless you're a fan of the Tammy Faye Bakker look — there's a world of difference between long and lush, and spiky and clumpy.

Grow

An over-the-counter eyelash growth serum coupled with mascara is the optimal solution for thinning lashes, Begoun states. However, many lash growth serums on the market that purport to give you long, fuller lashes are a bust, so do your research diligently before investing in a pricey product. Home remedies such as vaseline and castor oil also have a reputation as eyelash boosters. Although these may make your lashes look more glossy, they won't actually make them grow out thicker and longer. If you're dead serious about growing longer lashes, your best bet is to use an eyelash-growing medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Bimatoprost gives you thicker, longer lashes in a couple of months, but you do need a doctor's prescription. Bimatoprost, marketed under the trade name Latisse, must be used daily on an ongoing basis to achieve optimal results.

Avoid

Just like tight 'dos and over-styling can make the hair on your head more sparse, your eyelashes thin and break whenever you tug on them. Remove eye makeup gently and avoid rubbing your eyes. Eyelash curlers aren't the best beauty tool for gals with thinning lashes, but if you use one, do so before you apply your mascara to protect your eyelashes from bends and breaks. Eyelash extensions and false eyelashes give your eyes a hefty dose of glamour, but these also put additional stress on your natural lashes.

Cautions

Thinning eyelashes — what doctors refer to as "madarosis" — aren't always just a cosmetic problem. Sometimes they're linked to an underlying medical condition, such as trauma, infection, a metabolic disorder or alopecia areata, a type of temporary hair loss. If your lashes seem to always be in a perpetual state of shedding or you have noticeable gaps in your lash line, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

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