Ever wondered why your eyelashes fall out sometimes? Or why someone’s lash extensions last longer than the next person’s? The lash growth cycle isn’t something we think about often.
But if you’re a lash tech, or if you’re interested in eyelash treatments, you should keep it in mind. Let’s take a look at what it is and why it’s important.
What Is the Lash Growth Cycle?
Simply put, it’s the natural timeline of eyelash renewal. It is a natural process that every human experiences, albeit with slight variations.
Our eyelashes go through a similar cycle as all other hairs on our bodies. They grow until they reach their optimal length and diameter, then stay that way for a while, then fall out and get replaced with new eyelash hairs.
It’s important to note that each eyelash is on its own growth cycle, so not all lashes will be at the same stage at the same time. This is why we usually don’t notice when one or two eyelashes fall out, because they will naturally be replaced by new ones.
What Are the Stages of the Eyelash Growth Cycle?
There are 3 stages of eyelash growth:
- the Anagen,
- and Telogen phase.
Their duration and rhythm is a bit different between individuals, since everyone’s body is unique.
Generally speaking, though, everyone’s system goes through the same steps. Here’s a closer look at each of them.
The Anagen Phase
During the Anagen phase, also known as the active growth phase, the hair follicle begins to produce new cells. A brand new lash hair forms from these cells, the shaft extends outwards, and keeps growing for a while.
In the case of eyelashes, this phase lasts for about 30 to 45 days.
The Catagen Phase
Next, the eyelash enters the Catagen phase. This is a brief transition also known as the degradation phase.
During this time, the hair follicle shrinks, and the eyelash stops growing. The Catagen phase is the part of the lash growth cycle where the lash has reached its full mature size at which it will stay until the end of the cycle.
The Telogen Phase
Finally, the Telogen phase is the so-called resting phase. During this time the hair follicle remains inactive. There is no growth happening at all. After this period, the eyelash falls out, and the growth cycle begins again with the Anagen phase.
How Long Does One Lash Growth Cycle Last?
The average eyelash growth cycle time is around 8 weeks for most people. This is the time it takes for a new lash to fully replace the one that fell out, i.e. it includes the Anagen and Catagen phases.
But this is not how long your lash stays in place.
The total lifespan of an eyelash can be anywhere between 4 and 11 months. Of course, since everyone is unique, there are some variations in how long each phase will last.
If you want to determine the precise duration of your own cycle, try monitoring your lashes over a span of 8-10 weeks.
You don’t have to wait for anything special to happen in order to start. Just pick a day, make note of what’s happening to your lashes, and keep up with it for 8-10 weeks.
Then compare that to the 3 stages of eyelash growth and see how your observations fit in. It’s okay to make a few tries to ensure your insights are as precise as possible.
How Does the Lash Cycle Affect Lash Lifts?
That’s because the procedure involves curling and lifting your natural lashes using a chemical solution. The solution works by breaking down the protein bonds in the lash hairs, allowing them to be reshaped and set in a curled position.
However, since the lash lift solution affects the hair structure at the molecular level, it’s important to consider the stage of the lash growth cycle when performing the treatment, as the lashes keep their new properties until they fall out.
- If you have your lash lift appointment during the Telogen phase, when the lashes are about to fall out, the effects won’t last anywhere near as long as they could because the lashes will naturally shed.
- On the other hand, if you have a lash lift done during the Anagen phase, the lifted lashes will have more time to grow out and maintain their curled shape. This gives you a more long-lasting effect overall.
So, understanding the lash growth cycle is essential for lash lift technicians to determine the optimal timing for the treatment. The same goes for lash tinting, where you lose the effects as more of the tinted lashes fall out.
It’s likewise essential for the clients themselves, to manage their time and book the appointment at the optimal moment. Your lash tech has the knowledge and experience, but remember – no one knows your body and its rhythms like you do.
Image source: Instagram @ajlashextensions
Of course, since each eyelash has its own cycle, it’s impossible to ensure all of them are at a certain point of growth when scheduling a lash treatment, be it a lash lift or extensions.
But if you notice your lash line is particularly patchy at a certain time, this is a signal that you should wait a bit and let new lashes grow out, and then have them curled.
How Does the Eyelash Cycle Affect Eyelash Extensions?
The natural eyelash growth cycle is also important to eyelash extension treatments. Similarly to lash lifts, the lash growth cycle is one of the factors that plays a role in determining how long lash extensions last.
The dramatic fullness of extended lashes depends on precision. Each extension has to be carefully applied to a single natural lash, otherwise you might end up with unnatural-looking, unattractive clumps.
However, since the natural lashes are constantly going through the growth cycle, the extensions’ lifespan will depend on the stage that each individual lash is in when they were applied.
Remember that each lash is on its own growth cycle and they are typically very mismatched.
- Extensions applied during the Anagen phase will have more time to bond and adhere to the natural lash, so they’ll last longer.
- However, for extensions applied during the Catagen or Telogen phase, the natural lash will soon fall out, taking them with it.
This is why eyelash extension technicians recommend touch-up appointments every 2-3 weeks to replace any lost extensions and ensure that the lash line remains full and even.
It’s important to note that improper application or too much weight from the extensions can cause your lashes to break or prematurely fall out. This not only affects the overall appearance of the lash line, it also interferes with the lash growth cycle and health of the natural lashes.
That’s why it’s crucial to find a qualified and experienced lash tech or beautician who understands the lash growth cycle and can apply extensions in a way that won’t cause damage to your natural lashes.
Image source: Instagram @thelashlab.shropshire
Why Understanding the Lash Grow Cycle Matters
Understanding the lash growth cycle is important for lash technicians who want to maximize the effectiveness of lash lift and extension treatments. Identifying which lashes are in which phase can help them warn their clients what they can expect from the results.
On the other hand, you need to be familiar with your individual growth cycle, because it can help you to schedule your appointments at the best times. That way and get the most value out of each treatment and you can keep your fabulous lash look for the longest time possible.