When getting eyelash extensions, it's important to know the natural eyelash growth cycles. Knowing this will help you understand what extensions are best for you.
Eyelash Hair Growth
The average lifespan of a natural eyelash is around 90 days. It will go through three different phases in the growth cycle.
Just like regular hair, each lash is in a different part of the growth cycle at any time. While one lash may be resting, another may be growing.
New lashes are often too small to support extensions and if a new lash has been unintentionally glued to an eyelash that is shedding, it may damage the new growth and take up to 3 months to grow back. This is why it is important to know the different growth cycles.
The Anagen Phase is the first stage in the eyelash growth cycle. The lashes are actively growing for about 30 to 45 days, or 4 to 6 weeks.
About 10 - 15% of the upper lashes are in the Anagen Phase at any given time. Conversely, about 5% of lower lashes may be in this phase at any time.
The Catagen Phase is the second stage in the growth cycle. It is the transition period between growth and resting. Here, the lash stops growing and the hair follicle will begin to shrink.
This phase lasts about 2 to 3 weeks for most people. This is when the lash can be considered an adolescent in the maturation cycle.
If a lash falls out or is plucked during the Catagen Phase, it won't start growing back right away. The follicle must complete all three phases to continue the growth cycle.
The Telogen Phase is the final stage in the cycle. It is the resting phase where there is no more growth. Here adult lashes are fully matured and will begin to fall out naturally.
Most people lose 1 to 5 lashes per day from natural shedding. The entire growth cycle can take between 8 to 12 weeks, or 2 to 3 months on average.
Why Know These Phases?
If the lash artist knows the growth cycle, the extensions will typically last longer.
If an extension is placed on a lash during the catagen phase, it will grow along with the natural lash. Lash artists are then expected to remove grown out extensions to be replaced by a new extension.
At the same time, anagen growth may have moved on to catagen during the two week break in between fills, and telogen lashes should have naturally shed. At this time, the artist is expected to add new extensions to the catagen lashes that did not get an extension previously, filling in any gaps natural shedding may have caused.
If an extension is placed on an eyelash in the anagen phase, it can potentially damage that eyelash or fall off within the first two or three days after receiving a fill or full set.
The lash artist needs to find the strongest lashes in the right stage of the growth cycle. This will ensure the extensions last as long as possible and the client remains comfortable for the duration of time they have their eyelash extensions.