7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Eyelashes

Jul 14, 2015

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Eyelashes

Your eyelashes get batted, curled, and coated with mascara on the regular, but that tiny row of hairs does much more than simply make smoky eye pop. Here are seven fun facts we were surprised to learn about our lashes:

1. They’re Basically Our Whiskers

Mammals are the only animals that have eyelashes, and for us humans, they perform the same sensory duty as a cat’s whiskers. Because they’re so sensitive to touch, they let us know when insects, dirt, and debris are trying to get into our eyes, while also serving as the first line of defense by catching anything that’s trying to make it past our lids.

2. They’re Home to Teeny, Tiny Mites

Yes, there are parasitic mites living on your lashes—but they’re friends, not foes. Known as Demodex, these mites help remove dirt and clean your lash follicles, protecting your eye from gross infections. People with fewer lashes are actually more likely to get painful styes, so thank those mites for keeping you healthy and infection-free!

3. They’re Practically All Protein

Eyelashes are 97 percent keratin (and 3 percent water!). To keep them strong, look for biotin (aka vitamin H) in your lash products, like Chella’s Lash Full-Fillment Eyelash Treatment, and in foods like chicken, eggs, almonds and whole grains. Also, up your vitamin C intake: Antioxidants found in citrus fruits and avocados—yum!—help repair lashes and protect against damage.

4. They Have a Short Life Span

If it feels like you’re always shedding lashes, don’t freak out. Lashes have a life span of about 90 days, and on average, one to five of your lashes will fall out every day. For each one that falls out, it takes about four to eight weeks for a new one to come in and grow to its full length. Luckily, you’re never completely lash-less because all your lashes are in different growth phrases.

5. They Grow in Stages

Three different stages to be exact: The anagen phase (the active growth period), the catagen phase (the transitional period), and the telogen phase (the resting period). At any given time, 90 percent of your lashes are in the active growth stage where they grow about .16 millimeters a day. The longest lashes on record made it to 6.99 centimeters (2.75 inches!) and belonged to a man. If by some accident you happen to cut or singe off all your lashes, they will grow back… but it will take about five months.

6. They’re Thicker On Top

If you’ve always felt your top lashes were fuller than your bottom lashes, that’s because they are. The upper lid usually has about 200-300 lashes total, while the lower lid only has 75 to 100 lashes. Middle lashes are also generally longer than your side lashes—something to keep in mind the next time you’re applying your mascara!

7. They’ve Been an Accessory for Ages

The Ancient Egyptians were the first to darken their lashes with kohl as early as 4000 BC. The modern mascara formula we’re now so fond of was first created in 1913 in France by Rimmel, and popularized stateside by Maybelline’s premiere formula, a blend of coal and Vaseline.

Erica S. Really good at wearing bedhead, pretty good at hoarding eyeliner, definitely watched too much MTV as a tween.