Mascara And The Damage It Does To Your Eyelashes

by Stacy Fan
Cara Delevingne applying mascara to eyelashes

Mascara is one of most common items in a woman’s makeup bag, promising to make eyelashes look thicker, longer and flutterier.

However, with many of us wearing mascara every day, is there any truth behind the claims that – horror of horrors – mascara makes eyelashes fall out?

mascara brushes


Is Mascara Bad For Your Lashes?

When used correctly, mascara shouldn’t thin or cause any major eyelash loss. However, if you are using the wrong product for your eyes or using the product incorrectly it could be harming your eyelashes.

 My Eyelashes Keep Falling Out: What Causes This?

Do you ever wonder why your eyelashes are thinning or falling out? Below are some of the reasons you might be losing lashes:

  • Using the Wrong Product

When choosing your eye makeup, try to be aware what mascara is made out of and avoid anything that is petroleum-based. Petroleum is not only harsh on sensitive eyes, but also may affect the growth of your eyelashes. Switching to hypoallergenic and organic mascaras will ensure your eyelashes aren’t being stripped of moisture and won’t effect the growth of eyelashes the way other more chemical based mascaras might.

  • Using Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascara is drying on the eyes and is extremely hard to remove. You may not realise it at the time, but during the removal process you might actually be pulling your eyelashes out. Avoid using it everyday and only use when necessary.

  • Using a Product Too Frequently

Did you know that mascara should be replaced every 2-3 months? Eye makeup is more prone to bacteria build up than other cosmetic products – after all, the brush is used daily without being cleaned. Not only will an out-of-date product risk your eyelashes falling out, but also it might have an adverse effect on your vision. As with our skin, eyelashes need time to breathe. If you are using mascara daily, they are rarely getting a break and this will cause them to dry out. Avoid using mascara on days you are at home, and never leave your mascara on overnight.

  • Using Too Much Mascara

Although lashings of mascara will give your eyes a beautiful and dramatic look, it’s not great for the health of your lashes. Using too much mascara will eventually wear your lashes out as they will need to be cleaned more rigorously to ensure the product is fully removed.

makeup remover, eye makeup, beauty, care, skincare, eyelashes


How To Look After Your Eyelashes

Avoid using harsh eye makeup cleansers to remove makeup.

Try natural alternatives to traditional eye makeup remover.

  • If you’ve ever wondered how to remove mascara naturally, coconut oil is a great option for removing eye makeup. It’s not only easy on the eyes and skin, but also helps lock in moisture.

Remove your eye makeup in the right way.

  • It is important to know how to remove mascara and eye makeup correctly. Soften the product on your face and eyes by washing with warm water. Apply the makeup remover on to a cotton pad and using a gentle downward motion on the eyelid start to remove makeup.
  • Never run upwards or in a hard, rigorous motion as this will result in eyelashes falling out.

Use Vaseline on eyelashes. 

  • Did you know: Vaseline is the best clear mascara on the market (seriously!) and, used once or twice a week, gives your eyelashes a much-needed treatment. Apply with either a clean finger or a new, unused mascara wand. Gently wash off in the morning using your normal makeup remover.

The best mascaras that won’t damage your eyelashes:

Product grid for healthy eyelashes: Origins Brightening mascara, Organic Glam Mascara & Maybelline New York hypoallergenic Mascara

Photo Credit: Feel Unique & Organic Pharmacy

Alternative Options to Mascara



LVL is a treatment that straightens your natural eyelashes at the root. Unlike a traditional lash perm it promises to create the look of longer, lifted lashes in 40 minutes, with immediate results. The treatment effect lasts 6-8 weeks.


The result is a ‘mascara-type effect’, so you don’t have to use products on your eyelashes on a daily basis. It gives women with flat eyelashes added volume and the treatment doesn’t make eyelashes brittle.


The treatment costs around £45 depending on the salon you visit, which can get pricey if you plan on doing it every 6 weeks.

The Official LVL Enhance Lash Lift Video:

Eyelash Tinting 


Eyelash tinting is a treatment which involves applying dye to eyelashes to make them appear darker and fuller. Salons will insist on a patch test at least 24 hours in advance to make sure you have no allergies. Dye is applied with a disposable eyelash wand and the treatment takes around 20 minutes.


The waterproof colour lasts 6-8 weeks, depending on how fast your eyelashes grow, and with a variety of colours to choose from you are likely to find one that suits you. Tinting helps balance the features of your face and is particularly good if you have very light or fair eyelashes. If you are allergic to mascara or wear contact lenses and find it creates a reaction with your eyes, it’s a great alternative.


Despite delivering a slightly more defined appearance for those seeking the natural look, tinting doesn’t create a thicker or fuller lash, so fake eyelashes or mascara is still needed. The colour may fade out before the 6-8 weeks as you wash your face, and the tint may cause you to have an allergic reaction if you happen to be sensitive to dyes. Doing a skin spot test 24 hours prior to your appointment is always recommended. The process can get expensive if you are tinting your eyelashes every month, with prices starting around £20 for the treatment.

Eyelashes before and after tinting


Eyelash Extensions


If you love the look false eyelashes give you but don’t like reapplying them every time you have a big event or a night out, you may be tempted to try semi-permanent eyelash extensions.

The process involves applying either a synthetic, silk or mink fibre individually to your real lashes one by one with adhesive, to create a naturally long looking eyelash. Depending on what style you choose, the process can take anywhere between 2-3 hours. The lashes should last between 2-3 weeks before needing to be filled in. For those wanting to keep up with their eyelash extensions it’s recommend you don’t wait any longer than three weeks before having a fill in. Those who go back regularly to a salon won’t have to have a whole new set applied.


Eyelash extensions will give you a glamorous flutter without the need for mascara each day. It will save you time in the morning and give you a touch of glamour even when you aren’t wearing any other products.


Despite how beautiful eyelash extensions look there are several cons:

1. Time

People rave about how long eyelash extensions save them in the morning, but what is often left out is the time it takes to apply them in the first place. It can take up to 3 hours to apply the individual lashes for a full set, and then you’ll need to re-visit the salon every 2-3 weeks for infills.

2. High Maintenance

To keep your lashes looking good requires a decent amount of maintenance. Aside from the infills mentioned above, every few weeks, you are also limited on certain products you can use on your face. Oil based products aren’t recommended as it may remove the adhesive on your lashes. You must also be careful when removing makeup to avoid pulling the extensions out.
When showering, it’s important not to let water directly hit your eyes. Be careful when drying your face with a towel, too, as harsh rubbing will pull at the eyelash extensions.

3. Cost

In addition to the maintenance required, eyelash extensions are expensive. A full set at a London salon costs from £80-£130, with infills costing around £50, depending on the salon.

Eyelashes Extensions: Before and After


Celebrities Who Wear Fake Eyelashes

If you have problems with your eyelashes you aren’t alone. In fact, both Towie star Samantha Faiers (who has launched her own range of fake eyelashes which you can buy here) and actress Olivia Munn have openly discussed losing eyelashes due to trichotillomania.

Olivia Munn and Samantha Faiers, Trichotillomania sufferers, eyelashes

PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram & Pinterest

What is Trichotillomania?

One of the lesser talked about reasons for having no eyelashes is trichotillomania. This is a repetitive disorder of pulling out hair, including eyelashes, and is particularly rife during stressful periods.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Samantha Faiers said of the disorder, “It is hard to explain. I do it without thinking; when I am nervous or bored or even when I am asleep; I don’t even realise I am doing it.”

Olivia Munn has also spoken out about the anxiety that causes her trichotillomania to occur, telling The New York Post in 2012, “If I were to walk into someone’s birthday party, I’d have a bad anxiety attack. I don’t bite my nails, but I rip out my eyelashes. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s really annoying. Every time I run out of the house, I have to stop and pick up a whole set of fake eyelashes.”

As of yet there has been no medication approved for the treatment of trichotillomania. If you think you may have this then please speak with your doctor about the options available to you.

Eyelash Regrowth

What can you do if you are losing eyelashes or find them rapidly thinning?

Many people swear by Latisse for eyelash regrowth. Used on the base of the eyelashes, this product creates longer lashes, although the effects are not permanent. Latisse is a version of a glaucoma drug used in an eye drop called bimatoprost. The product can be used on the upper lids, but should not be used on the lower lids. There have been cases of eye colour and eyelids darkening whilst using the product.

Eyelashes, Latisse, growth, beauty, lashes, thick lashes


There are also a new generation of mascaras on the market that are makeup and eyelash regrowth treatments all in one. Yes, that’s right: mascara that makes your eyelashes grow is finally here. Hurrah! The best of the bunch are Lancome Hypnôse Precious Cells Mascara, which promises longer, denser lashes after 28 days, and L’Oreal Paris Double Extension Renewal Serum Mascara, a combined serum and mascara that gives eyelashes a fortifying boost.

Common Questions Regarding Healthy Eyelashes

Do eyelashes grow back?

Generally speaking, yes! If you lose an eyelash then a new hair will grow back from the follicle and replace the other hair.

How long does it take for eyelashes to grow back?

It usually takes about 7-8 weeks for eyelashes to grow back.

Why are my eyelashes falling out/what causes eyelashes to fall out?

There are numerous reasons for eyelashes to fall out; an unbalanced diet can be one of the reasons as well as using too many harsh products (including too much mascara which you vigorously rub off) on your eyelashes. Always be sure to gently remove any eye makeup at night to avoid drying your eyelashes out.

How many eyelashes do we have?

It will vary from person to person, but on average people have 150-200 on the upper lid and somewhere between 75-100 on the lower lid.

Do eyelashes grow back after lash extensions?

If you notice that you’re losing eyelashes during the process or after removal, don’t worry: they will grow back! They only grow about 1cm every 2-4 weeks so it may take time for you to notice.

How many eyelashes do we lose a day?

Everyone loses around 1-4 eyelashes a day, but this is dependent on how you look after your eyelashes.

Is it bad to sleep with mascara on?

One of the worst things you can do for your lashes is sleep with your mascara on. It dries them out, weakens them and may well cause them to break and fall out. Always remove your makeup before bed.

How long does mascara last?

Mascara has a shelf life of only around 2-3 months. As soon as you notice it getting clumpy, it’s time to toss it out!

How do I make my eyelashes longer, thicker and flutterier?

Like all things related to health, it starts from the inside. If you’re wondering how to make your eyelashes longer and thicker, eating a balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruit is the place to start. For a helping hand, a clear mascara or eyelash primer can be worn underneath your favourite mascara (after all, the very purpose of clear mascara is to give your lashes a little bit of curl – which is why it can also be worn independently when you want to look super natural). Occasionally give your eyelashes the day off, too, and always opt for organic, hypoallergenic mascara.

Read more great articles on women’s beauty & makeup at