If you were one of those students who scoffed at your parents’ advice to wash your sheets every week, and still don’t wash your bedding regularly, you might want to pay attention to this.
A woman, known only by the name Xu, reportedly made her eyelashes home to over 100 mites after failing to wash her pillowcase for a staggering five years. According to The Sun, she suffered from red, itchy eyes for two years before finally visiting a doctor, who promptly diagnosed her with blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) along with the infestation of unwelcome visitors.
But Xu isn’t the only one playing host to these microscopic critters. Demodex mites inhabit the skin of mammals, specifically the hair follicles and oily sebaceous glands. Under normal circumstances, you won’t be aware of them (they’re microscopic) but unsanitary conditions and airless environments can cause them to thrive, meaning Xu’s vintage pillowcase and stuffy bedroom were essentially a parasite paradise.
So, it turns out your parents were on to something after all…
Ready to give your lashes a little TLC? Here are five easy tweaks you can make to keep yours as healthy as possible – once you’ve washed that pillowcase, of course…
Rethink your make-up remover
The skin around your eyes is much thinner and generally more sensitive than the rest of the face, making it prone to irritation. Avoid causing redness by paying close attention to the ingredients in your make-up remover. Synthetic fragrances are a no-no, while some essential oils may also cause irritation – lavender, lemon and menthol are common culprits. Play it safe with Skin and Tonic’s Make-Up Remover, £18, which contains a blend of sweet almond, sunflower, jojoba and camellia seed oils along with vitamin E – and absolutely nothing else.
Try a lash serum
If you weren’t blessed with natural lashes to rival a Disney princess, you might want to consider a lash-enhancing serum. RevitaLash Advanced, £104, is packed with peptides and biotin to keep brittleness and breakage at bay, ensuring your lashes grow to optimum length and fullness.
Lashes are similar in structure to the hair on your head and follow the same three-phase cycle, but within a much shorter timeframe. Each lash should last around 40 to 60 days in total, providing it’s treated with care. To keep premature breakage and fallout to a minimum, keep your hands away from the lash line – this means no rubbing and absolutely no picking at mascara. And when it comes to make-up removal, use fingers or a cotton pad to press make-up remover into the lashes before swiping gently downward.
Upgrade your mascara
Ironically, while mascara offers instant lash length and fullness, choosing the wrong one may mean weaker lashes in the long run. Avoid mascaras with high levels of parabens and alcohol in the ingredients, as this will dry out your lashes. Instead, opt for gentle formulas with added nourishing extracts. Eyeko’s excellent Lash Alert Mascara, £19, combines hydrating shea butter with stimulating caffeine and protein-boosting arginine.
Boost your diet
Just like the hair on your head, your diet can play a pivotal role in the condition and health of your eyelashes. Always keep your diet varied, but amp up the protein and essential fatty acids with oily fish, eggs, seeds and avocados. For an additional helping hand, try a seed oil-based supplement – we love Votary’s Super Seed Supplement, £35.