While some of us are blessed with naturally long, luscious, curled lashes, others may be wondering why their eyelashes grow straight. In this article, we’ll answer this question and give you some tips on how to easily add some much-needed curl.
- Lashes can grow straight if the lash follicle is misaligned
- Damaged lashes may not curl
- Genetics and ethnicity could cause lashes to grow straight
- Lash treatments such as lash lifts can help curl lashes
- Lash serums are good for restoring health, volume, and length
Why Do My Eyelashes Grow Straight?
There are three possible reasons why your eyelashes are growing straight: Firstly, the lash follicle could be misaligned which causes the hair to grow in a slightly different direction. Secondly, the lash could be damaged which means it has lost its natural curl. Thirdly, it may simply be due to your genetics or ethnicity.
Let’s explore these reasons in more detail.
Misaligned Hair Follicle
A misaligned hair follicle will not grow in the same direction as regular lashes and it may therefore appear to be growing straight. This problem, when severe, can be caused by a condition called trichiasis. This could cause even more irritation to the eye.
This is because some lashes may in fact grow in towards the eye instead of upward.
Trichiasis usually occurs after an eye infection or if you’ve bumped your eye or eyelid against a hard surface. It may even be caused by rubbing your eye too much.
Age may also be a factor as your skin loses some of its elasticity as you grow older.
Trichiasis is most commonly seen in adults but you can be born with it.
Damage To The Hair Follicle
If the hair follicles of your eyelashes are damaged, this may impair the growth of eyelashes, This can cause them to grow straighter than normal.
Having healthy hair follicles is a surefire way to support the growth of your lashes.
If either these or the sebaceous glands, which create a lubricating oil that supports the functioning of hair follicles, are damaged, then the growth of your lashes will be impacted.
This might cause lashes to grow shorter and straighter, or be brittle and prone to breakage.
You should also be aware of treatments such as lash tints or lash perms. These are a great way of adding some lift, length and curl to your natural lashes.
However, using these treatments too regularly, as with anything, your lashes may become used to having the process performed.
Your lashes may therefore seem like they’re using their usual curl but in actual fact, the lash treatment has curled your lashes more than usual.
Ethnicity and Genetics
A research overview of eyelash characteristics reports that eyelash curls will vary between ethnicities.
Although all eyelashes should curl naturally as a result of the cellular composition of eyelids, Caucasians will have more of a curl to their lashes than Asians.
Individuals of Asian descent will tend to have monolids (although other ethnicities can also have a monolid, meaning an eyelid shape that lacks a crease).
Eyelids that are monolids, rather than double-lidded, tend to have straighter eyelashes growing from them.
In fact, people of Asian descent are more likely to have straighter eyelashes that can be prone to excessive growth. This is a congenital condition called trichomegaly.
How Do Eyelashes Normally Grow?
Eyelashes serve a protective function for your eyes and are therefore usually curled upwards to pick up the particles of dirt and debris circulating in the air.
This prevents any foreign particles from falling into your eyes.
The lashes can also help to distribute your tears. This is vital in keeping your eyes moist and flushing out any foreign object that does get past the lashes and enter the eye.
If, however, your lashes are unusually curly, you may suffer from eyelash trichomegaly. This is a condition that may cause increased curling as well as thickness in your lashes.
Now, much like the hair on your head, eyelashes are made of keratin, a protein.
It’s for this reason that you’ll find eyelash growth and conditioning serums containing keratin or other proteins such as biotin or hydrolyzed wheat.
Eyelashes have a growth cycle, and are either growing, resting, or shedding, depending on where they are in that growth cycle.
Typically, people will have 75 to 70 lashes on the lower eyelid, and 90 to 160 eyelashes on the upper lid. However, these numbers may vary depending on ethnicity.
How To Curl Straight Eyelashes
There are a number of ways that you can encourage your eyelashes to get that lovely long curl you’re looking for:
Eyelash curlers can get a bad rep. However, provided that you use them properly, they can be a fabulous way of curling straight eyelashes.
You want to go for a high-quality eyelash curler made of metal, with a rubber pad to buffer the clamps.
Don’t use an eyelash curler if this rubber is either dirty or missing. If you curl your lashes with the metal ridge, you’re likely to damage them. The rubber serves a protective function.
Hold the curler as close to the root of your lashes as possible, and close the clamp for around thirty seconds.
Try to avoid catching your eyelid, or making any tugging motion, as this risks ripping out lashes.
You should also always use an eyelash curler before applying mascara. Curling lashes after you’ve applied makeup may cause breakage.
You can also use heated eyelash curlers, although these have been linked to some lash burning and shedding in particular instances.
Remember to clean your eyelash curler regularly with hot water. Also use disinfectant once a week if you use your curler every day.
Mascara or lash gel
Choosing a premium mascara is another great way to add some curl to your lashes. Just remember to remove it properly at the end of the day.
Mascara works to coat your lashes. This can make them brittle if you sleep in it, and may therefore lead to lash shedding and thinning.
Mascaras like fiber or tube mascara may help the most to achieve a curl.
This type of mascara coats each individual lash in a polymer-like substance. This adds extra length and curl to your lashes and is longer-lasting.
Regular mascara relies on pigmentation to color the lashes.
There are also clear mascaras that can be used before your regular mascara (like a primer) in order to boost the curl, length, and volume of lashes.
You can also use waterproof mascara to add curl for a longer period of time.
However, we wouldn’t advise doing so every day, and you’ll need a makeup remover that can get rid of waterproof mascara in order to get rid of it.
Take care not to scrub or tug too aggressively at your lashes when trying to remove this mascara, or you’ll cause them to fall out.
There are plenty of beauty manufacturers who now produce lash gels and serums that act as either primer, strengthening solutions, or conditioning serums.
You can use these as treatments for your lashes overnight – always follow manufacturer instructions for optimum results.
Whether you opt for a lash tint or keratin lash lift (also known as a lash perm), your natural lashes are likely to gain a little extra curl.
A keratin lash lift adds curl and volume to lashes and works via the application of a chemical solution that ‘lifts’ and curls your lashes.
You’ll need to remember to use a lash serum in between appointments and avoid the use of oil-based products whilst you have lashes that have been treated with a keratin lash lift.
It is also wise to give your lashes a break between appointments.
However, a lash lift is a way of adding a customized curl to your lashes (as your esthetician can provide different sizes of the rod to produce different degrees of curl, depending on your preference).
It’s also a more natural look than lash extensions, which are explicitly designed to add serious fluff and flutter to your eyes with the addition of extra fake lashes.
A lash lift will just add curl to your natural lashes, so is a more understated way of achieving the curl you want.
Treating your eyelashes to regular TLC and upkeep will keep them their healthiest and happiest, which will make it so much easier to get them to maintain a curl.
Use natural oils like castor, coconut, or vitamin E oil to nourish and condition your lashes.
Simply apply with a disposable mascara wand or spoolie, brushing the oil onto your lashes from the mid-section to the ends.
Don’t forget to patch test before use.
Regular brushing your lashes using either a spoolie or a clean mascara wand can also help to detangle and strengthen them.
We should hardly need to mention that it’s essential to properly clean your lashes free from makeup and general dirt and debris picked up over the course of the day.
A warm spoon!
You read that correctly – you can use a warm spoon in order to curl your lashes.
This at-home method is traditional – in fact, you could probably ask your grandma if she ever tried it when she was younger!
You’ll need a metal teaspoon, a glass, and some water.
- Fill the glass with warm (not boiling) water, and leave the teaspoon in there to heat up. This may take around three minutes.
- Once the teaspoon is warm, dry it off, and place it over your eyelid. Line the spoon’s bottom edge up with the top of the lashes of your upper lash line.
- Use your thumb to gently push your lashes up against the spoon’s rounded edge.
You may need to wait a while for this to work and might have to repeat the process a few times.
The warmth of the spoon helps to achieve and secure the curl in your lashes. You can then always set them with mascara, or even something like Vaseline if that’s your preference.
So, Why Do My Eyelashes Grow Straight?
Your lashes will grow straight if the hair follicle is misaligned and growing in a different direction. Your eyelashes could also be damaged from sun exposure or lash treatments and finally, straight lashes may simply be due to genetics or your ethnicity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can train your eyelashes to curl, but it will take persistence and patience, and it won’t last forever. You’ll have to keep curling your lashes in order to retain that curl. Using an eyelash curler every day can help to make lashes curl, and you can support this with regular use of mascara or lash gel.
Eyelash curls, if used correctly, are not damaging. Make sure you keep your hand still when using the curler and be careful not to grip the lashes too tightly as this could cause the lashes to fall out.
Yes, eyelashes will naturally thin as you age. As we get older, the body’s ability to grow new hair slows down and may even completely stop. This is completely natural and nothing to be concerned about.
It is safe to curl your eyelashes every day provided you clean your lash curler between uses and don’t pull and tug on your lashes.