Did you know that eyelashes are more than just a gorgeous accessory on your face? Consisting of sensory fibers, they actually serve an important function that protects our eyes from airborne debris. Eyelashes reflexively shut the eyelid with every blink as dust particles try to make their way into our eyes, and fluids from tear glands running along the edge of the eyelid irritate the eyes, keeping them wet and moist.
Typically, the upper eyelid is framed by 90 to 150 lashes, while the bottom has up to 80 lashes. Like our hair follicles, each lash is composed of 10 percent water and 90 percent proteins including keratin and melanin. These nutrients allow for lashes to grow at a rate of approximately 1.15 mm per day and up to 9 mm in length.
The Eyelash Growth Cycle – Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen
The first stage of the eyelash growth cycle, known as anagen, is when the eyelash is actively growing and receiving nourishment from its follicle. During the second stage, catagen, the hair continues extending, while at the same time begins separating from the follicle. The full separation from the follicle occurs during the third stage known as telogen. The eyelash falls out during the final, exogen phase. The complete growth cycle lasts approximately three months.
Eyelash shedding is an ongoing process and determining the growing stage of each eyelash is impossible. New additions often affect the natural hair growth cycle and it’s not uncommon for new eyelash extensions to begin falling out the same day you visit the salon because natural lashes are at the end of their growth cycle.
The solution to problems that arise with how the eyelash growth cycles affect eyelash extensions lies in the hands of the technician you choose to perform the task.
Calculating When to Apply Eyelash Extensions
While it’s nearly impossible to determine the exact phase of growth your eyelashes are in, we always thoroughly inspect each client and use our expert knowledge to make decisions. Eyelash extensions are applied on natural eyelashes when they are transitioning, which means they are in the catagen phase. We never apply eyelash extensions while the lashes are in the anagen growth phase because they are too delicate to hold an eyelash extension.
The complete cycle for eyelashes is an average of 100 days for an eyelash hair, therefore we divide 100 by 7 days for 12 weeks. This calculation often provides a false impression that lashes last up to 12 weeks. However, don’t forget that the anagen phase only lasts 30 to 45 days and those natural lashes aren’t ready to hold eyelash extension. Therefore, eyelash extensions can last 4 to 6 weeks when bonded and cared for correctly.
Maintenance During the Eyelash Growth Cycle
At The Pampered Goddess, we recommend clients come back to us for infills every 2 to 3 weeks. At this appointment, we find hairs that have gone from the anagen phase to the catagen phase, which are now strong enough to hold an eyelash extension. Since the catagen phase lasts between 3 and 3 weeks, some of the eyelash extensions applied at the first appointment will now be in the telogen phase.
There are many ways to assist in prolonging the life of your lashes, such as using sealers. Eyelash extension sealers form the bond of the adhesive and lengthen the life of your extensions. You can also properly cleanse lashes to remove excess oils. Talk with your technician about the best way to care for your unique eyelashes.
Remember it’s normal to lose 1 to 4 lashes per day as natural lashes move through the eyelash growth cycle. Each eyelash is in a different stage, and with extensions, some may stay on weeks, but it depends on the phase that they currently are in.