Following a period of heavy travel, nights out, and celebratory events, I found myself with more than severely dehydrated skin and the post-holiday blues. I found myself with a whole lot less of my eyelashes.

Eyelash extensions had started as the ideal solution to an intense holiday schedule. They shaved off minutes from my makeup routine, looked great in pictures and kept me looking fresh-faced(ish) after a five-hour flight. However, two months of a full set of extensions and subsequent fills left my lashes dry, brittle and sparse. The only solution to the repercussions of my eyelash extensions appeared to be new eyelash extensions.

“Wearing extensions or false lashes can leave your natural ones thin, brittle and damaged so it’s important to take a break from time to time,” says dermatologist Dr Jeannette Graf. “Periods of extended use can also damage the lash follicles causing them to thin, slow in production, or permanently stop growing all together.”

Eyelashes follow the same three-phase growth cycle as the rest of your body hair: the Anagen, the Catagen and the Telogen. The six-to-eight week Anagen phase, explained Graf, is when your lashes grow; however, in the "Catagen and Telogen phases, the follicle primarily rests and no new growth takes place for several months.”

While genetics predominantly determine the length of your regrowth cycle, Graf assures that there are natural ways to speed up the process and rebuild strong, healthy lashes. (Thank god.)

(Want to pick up some healthier habits? Sign up for FREE to get healthy living tips, weight loss inspiration, slimming recipes and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

Try these natural tips to grow strong lashes naturally 

Turns out, lash regrowth can be a very #selfcare-friendly experience. To start, Graf suggests placing cool black, lavender or chamomile tea bags (soak them in boiling water, squeeze to drain, and pop them in the fridge to chill) over your lids for 10 minutes to reduce puffiness and dryness.

Then to promote moisture, lightly massage olive oil over the lids before bed with a puff and wash off in the morning. Taking care of your eyelids following a period of glue application (and the tugging and rubbing that can sometimes come with falsies) is a much-needed treat for a strong regrowth environment.

For the lashes themselves, she recommends almond, castor, coconut or emu oil, which are all natural solutions to encourage conditioned, healthy hair regrowth. Apply overnight with a cotton ball at the base of your lashes, and twice daily, use a clean spoolie to brush through any debris caught through the hairs. “Doing so will help to prevent clogged pores and will help to stimulate blood flow for optimum delivery of nutrients to the lash follicles,” she says. Bonus: Add a slick of aloe vera to your eyelash brush, leave on overnight, and rise in the morning. It’s a moisturising, nurturing super balm for damaged eyelashes.

For nights or morning when you follow your oil regimen, Graf advises taking five minutes to give your eyelids a gentle, light pressure massage with your fingertips. She adds: “Just as brushing your lashes helps to increase blood flow, the massage ensures that nutrients have a clear pathway to reach the lash follicles.”

And be sure to follow-up with nutrient-rich foods or supplements

To keep your lashes lush, Graf also recommends adding a healthy variety of vitamin and mineral supplements that encourage healthy hair regrowth. Think: Biotin, B Vitamins, Vitamins C and E, Zinc, Selenium, Iron, Magnesium and Omega-3s. Also, keep a protein-rich diet and cut down on sugar, booze and caffeine.“[Those] can limit or block the delivery of important nutrients to the lash follicles,” she notes. “As well as cause premature signs of ageing.”

Additionally, she recommends adding a few drops of lavender, rosemary or tea tree oil to your all natural mascara to boost its conditioning power. “This can also help fight off germs that cling onto your lashes,” she said. “Add two drops of oil to a fresh tube of mascara. Tipping the tube back and forth and also moving the mascara wand up and down will help mix everything.”

And last but not least, lash regrowth and strengthening is a process that takes time and care. “Our eyelashes are very fragile and take time to grow back,” said Graf. “Break bad lash habits such as rubbing your eyes vigorously when they itch or to get off makeup at the end of the day. Caring for them is the best way to make sure they stay strong and healthy.”

The article The Best Way To Grow Your Eyelashes Longer And Fuller Naturally originally appeared on Rodale’s Organic Life.

© prevention.com