For last week’s beauty secrets, we discussed mascara, a can’t-live-without-beauty staple for many. But while most of us search for the mascara to end all mascaras, we often forget about the foundation of beautiful lashes: proper lash care. This rarely discussed beauty must may seem a little overzealous, but lashes are hair—and hair, being subject to damage, must be conditioned (and not abused!).
If we value our mascara, we should value our lashes even more, especially since they can take up to seven weeks to fully grow back if damaged or pulled out. Besides their role in our appearance, eyelashes protect our eyes from unwelcome debris. Sort of like whiskers on a cat, they help alert us to a foreign object and stimulate the blink reflex to protect our eyes. (See, you’re more like a cat than you thought! Meow.)
Here’s how to show your lashes some love:
Seek out mascara with nourishing ingredients. Natural mascaras with emollients like vitamin E and argan oil help condition lashes and can prevent them from getting too dry throughout the day. On that note, avoid mascaras that contain a bevy of unreadable ingredients–you don’t want these going directly into your eyes when you have a cry.
Beauty Without Cruelty Mascara contains nourishing fruit waxes.
Use waterproof formulas in moderation. Designed to fend off any atmospheric moisture (including tears), waterproof mascara can be drying. Save it for big events like weddings and graduations.
Be gentle with your lash curler. Make sure that when you squeeze the clamp, your eyelashes aren’t being pulled. If an eyelash curler has a tendency to yank out a lash every now and then, replace it with a nicer one. That shouldn’t happen!
Remove mascara clumps while lashes are still “wet.” This helps prevent tugging on lashes with your eyelash comb.
Take time removing your mascara. Any dragging and pulling is not only bad for the delicate area around the eye, it can also damage your lashes. Remember that longwearing and waterproof formulas tend to be more difficult to remove.
I find that using a double cleansing method is most effective at removing my makeup. Use a gentle cleanser or an organic oil (coconut works beautifully) to remove makeup. Rinse skin and follow with a gentle cleanser.
Never sleep in mascara. Day-old mascara is fairly dry by the time you’re ready to go to bed. Failing to remove it may dry out lashes, making them more brittle and prone to breakage.
Condition your lashes. Just as you apply moisturizer to your face after washing it, you also want to make sure your lashes are taken care of. Oil-based skin serums are wonderful for this purpose. Since you’re already applying them to your skin, use your fingertips to pat remaining oil on your eyelashes, and voila! you’ve just conditioned your lashes. You’ll probably want to skip this step in the morning if you’re planning to apply mascara, however.
More pro tips to looking your best in Beauty Secrets!
Photos: Alvó szempillák via Flickr, Cocktail Cosmetic, Shu Uermura