How and Why to Take Care of Your Eyelashes in 4 Steps

Lashes are very much a part of who we are, and so should be paid the same attention we lavish on our skin and hair.

Quick question for you: In the pursuit of lush, long eyelashes, what’s your record for the number of coats of mascara you’ve applied in a single day? (Mine is five, but who’s counting…)

We curl and layer (and layer) mascara in the hopes of looking wide-eyed and awake, but all this attention can lead to lashes that are broken, crunchy, even missing. In other words, not healthy. The funny thing about eyelashes is that while they’re the target of much product-related talk, no one is really talking about how to care for them. Lashes are very much a part of our faces and so should be paid the same attention we lavish on our skin and hair. What’s more, the better care you take of your lashes, the less you’ll need all the gizmos and products that swear to make them appear healthier and fuller and lusher and longer etc. etc. etc.

How do you treat your eyelashes like a proper part of your beauty family? First, understand what they are: hair. That’s right, a lash is a hair that grows at the edge of the eyelid and protects eyes from unwanted debris like dirt, sweat and water. Basically, lashes are the first line of defense for your oh-so-sensitive eyeballs and as such, should be treated with care (not coated in five layers of mascara!). The lashes on your upper eyelid are fuller than those on your lower lashline (about 300 vs. 100 lashes), and the ones in the middle are often longer than those on the edges. They’re meant to fall out regularly — the lifecycle of a healthy lash is only about three months — and at any given time, 90% of your lashes are actively growing.

So if nearly all of your lashes are growing and developing nearly all the time, doesn’t it makes sense to care for them regularly and not just, like, once a year when you remember to? Yes, yes it does. And while there’s no one magic bullet that can guarantee healthy, happy lashes, a little mindfulness (and a couple of products) goes a long way. 

Eyelash tip #1: Choose your mascara wisely.

Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, skip waterproof mascara whenever possible. Sure, if you know you’re going to be crying all day or swimming or getting splashed with face-fulls of water, reach for a waterproof formula. But for regular everyday wear, stay away from long-wear formulas. The chemical makeup of waterproof mascaras is incredibly drying — imagine what your hair would feel like if you blow-dried it every single day and then flat-ironed it and then never used conditioner — and its very nature makes it near impossible to remove without tugging out several lashes along the way.

Instead, look for an everyday mascara that’s made with natural ingredients like mineral pigments so as not to irritate the eyes, and hydrating, nourishing ingredients like oils, butters and waxes to condition lashes (and prevent the dreaded mascara clump!).

Also pay attention to the brush: One that’s flexible and has dense bristles means you’ll only have to apply a coat or two since you’ll likely hit all your lashes the first time around. 

Eyelash tip #2: Remove mascara Every. Dang. Day.

As if I need to tell you again to take your makeup off every night…but seriously, do it. For the sake of your skin and your lashes, REMOVE! THAT! MAKEUP! (Oprah voice!) Remember, lashes are made of hair. Imagine if you used hairspray and dry shampoo without ever shampooing. Bad, right? Let your lashes breathe. Also, gunked on, old mascara is just plain dirty. If it finds its way into the follicle at the base of the lash, that’s basically a one-way ticket to stye town.

Eyelash tip #3: Clean with care.

Convinced? Good. Now that you’ve agreed a daily lash cleanse is in order, you’ve got to pick your weapon of choice. My favorite way to remove mascara is with the same oil cleanser or balm I use on the rest of my face to remove makeup and dirt. I find that the oil-breaks-down-oil rule definitely applies here, and leaves my lashes clean without irritating my eyes and skin.

If you’re dealing with particularly stubborn mascara or fragile lashes, you may want to consider a cream cleanser instead. Cream cleansers are super gentle on lashes (while still getting them clean) because they ensure that you’re not tugging on them to remove mascara. With oil cleansers and balms, the motion of rubbing the product into your face and circle your eyes with it is what removes the makeup, meaning you’re passing your fingers over your lashes at least 4-5 times, in addition to your follow-up second cleanse. With cream cleanser, a splash of water and 1-2 passes does the trick as long as you follow it up with a damp cotton ball to remove everything. Of course, there are also dedicated eye makeup removing products if you’ve got the space on your bathroom shelf!

As long as you’re taking that mascara off each night and not losing lashes, I say, to each her own! Find your cleanser bliss.

Eyelash tip #4: Condition those lashes.

Ok so you’re using the right amount of the right mascara. You’re gently removing that mascara every night with the right product. It stops there, right? Nope. To really treat your lashes like they matter, consider conditioning them a bit in the same way you diligently apply mists and serums and oils and moisturizers to your skin before bed every night. Remember: eyelashes are hair and hair needs to be conditioned to be healthy and long and strong. Also like hair, you want to concentrate whatever you’re conditioning with toward the end lest your scalp/eyelids get greasy and overwhelmed.

Two really easy (and basically free because I guarantee you already own ‘em) ways to care for your eyelashes post-cleanse are good old coconut oil or lanolin. Massaging a tiny amount of either into the tips of your lashes before bed will have you waking up looking like a Disney princess.


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I never use mascara, so I don’t have to bother with daily makeup removal. But, I had no idea it’s good to condition our eyelashes! Thank you for the tip. Will be adding it to my routine! ❤️

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

6 years ago

Nice post! x

6 years ago

Just a bit of science trivia for us nerds out there; everyone has microscopic critters that live on our eyelashes. They are exclusive to our eyelashes, and their job is to clean our eyelashes! The weird part? They look like tiny alligators! Just remember Everytime you put anything on your eyelashes, you are killing them off, and they are supposed to be there!

6 years ago

Love this post, didn’t know about conditioning them, thanks!


6 years ago

Nice post—–! Allie White

6 years ago

Thank you for the great tips!

6 years ago

Just when you think your doing everything right, you find out your missing a step, great info

6 years ago

nice post.
If you want to grow eyelashes growth then use careprost online usa at cheap price from nestpillmart.

5 years ago

It’s absolutely necessary to condition the eyelashes. And I wish I knew that before! My choice number one is Cherish Lash serum now and I won’t replace it with anything else. It made my eyelashes so well-groomed and simply gorgeous. Thanks for a great article))

5 years ago

I am so glad you said to0 remove makeup every day. OnceI didn’t do that I just got allergic . Thanks for the tips on how to car for lash extensions.

5 years ago

Your eyelashes look better than fake! Are you wearing your homemade mascara in both pictures? Can you include a link to your mascara recipe please? Real eyelashes don’t fall off or irritate your eyes, great idea!

5 years ago

Be sure not to rub your eyes or tug or pull on the extensions because this can cause lash loss and even damage to your natural lashes. BTW, nice tips here! Very informative.

5 years ago

I condition with Avocado oil instead of coconut, it works pretty much the same and i find its easier to apply! I have it in an old teatree oil bottle, the ones that have the little plastic part on top so that not too much comes out, and i just brush that on my lashes before i go to bed :)

5 years ago

A really great tip, to both nail, hair and lashes, is to take B1 and Silica Extra vitamins, it bursts the growth and strengthens. Brushing eyelashes also stimulates growth.
Lielash is a serum that is made from natural remedies and supposedly also makes lashes grow longer and thicker, but only for as long as you use them.
I haven’t worn mascara for 8 years, and people mistake me for having extensions and colored lashes. I just haven’t done anything to them, and I LOVE my lashes <3

Ali Louise
5 years ago

My lashes were burned off years ago when a grill exploded near me. Dermalmd eyelash serum helped my lashes and eyebrows grow back quicker than my bangs or nose hairs :) lashes also grew back thicker than before and softer. I use it again to help lengthen and thicken my lashes.

4 years ago

Eyelashes are something beyond restorative periphery. Lashes shield the eye from flotsam and jetsam that can block vision or cause contamination or damage. Eyelashes develop, drop out and supplant themselves in a characteristic cycle each six to 10 weeks, much the same as the hair over your head.

4 years ago

Love this post

4 years ago

Daily mascara usage has its benefits if the product helps in conditioning of lashes. I would prefer some natural conditioner which can be used as mascara instead to avoid damages in long run.

Shaheera Kamin
3 years ago

Another tip is to use castor oil every night. In one month, you will see crazy results!!!

2 years ago

i Never knew that

2 years ago

I never thought about conditioning my eyelashes. I learnt something new even at my old age. Thank you