In this month’s “Everyday Runway,” columnist Melissa Berry explores the dos and don’ts of looking after your lovely lashes post-treatment.
Strip lashes can be a quick and fun fix when you’ve lost your lashes to chemotherapy. However, wearing them every day can become cumbersome and not necessarily good when it comes to lash regrowth. I decided to ask some of my favorite beauty experts (as well as fellow breast cancer thrivers) for their best tips, tricks and products when it comes to nurturing your new lashes.
Celebrity makeup artist Ramy Gafni, known as Ramy, is a cancer survivor and founder of Ramy Cosmetics. He shared his firsthand lash experience with me, as well as some practical tips and product suggestions. When I asked him if he lost his lashes as a result of chemotherapy, Gafni says, “Did I EVER!”
Ramy has seen great success among his clients with biotin. According to The Trichological Society, biotin activates enzymes that aid in the metabolism of carbon dioxide as well as protein, fats and carbohydrates. A deficiency in biotin intake can cause brittle hair and can lead to hair loss.In order to avoid a deficiency, Ramy suggests trying BioSil, as the results are as dramatic as any lash serum, for those seeking supplements. Individuals can also find sources of biotin naturally in cereal-grain products, liver, egg yolk, soy flour and yeast. Make sure to talk to your doctor before increasing your biotin intake.
Ramy also suggests holding off on additional growth products until your lashes are stronger. “Once lashes begin to grow back after chemotherapy, I would not use any additional product until the lashes are past the initial ‘baby hair’ stage,” he says. “You can start using lash-enhancing serums or castor oil to condition your lashes once the lashes become more viable.”
A recent article examined a study from The International Journal of Science and Research which suggests that applying castor oil to the eyelashes can increase blood circulation to the hair root and encourage new growth.
When it comes to using lash serums post-chemo, Ramy says they can help boost your lashes, but to avoid those which contain Retin-A as they can cause irritation and do more harm than good.
As for false lashes, Ramy suggests sticking to extensions or false lashes for important occasions only while your lashes are still growing in.
“The adhesive can cause irritation or clog hair follicles, resulting in less lash growth. Once your lashes are back, make the most of them with a great mascara and primer. It’s also very important to remove mascara before going to bed while your lashes are still in the new growth process,” Ramy explains.
I took a peek at Ramy’s Lash Kit 101 and I wish I had this when I was growing my lashes out! It comes complete with a full-size One Stop Shopping Mascara to thicken, lengthen, curl and condition your lashes without clumping. It also includes the Lash Lock Triumph Mascara Revitalizer which locks in and extends the mascara.
When I asked Jillian Rezo, breast cancer thriver, beauty expert and co-founder of beautifulself.org about nurturing new lashes, she said, “Use an oil-based eye make-up remover at night to gently remove any glue residue and condition the lashes. Be sure to rinse with water to avoid leaving an oily residue behind which could clog the follicle. An oil-based remover means less tugging and more softness to the area.”
I also spoke with makeup artist Stephanie Powers, whom I met during my photo shoots with AnaOno Intimates. She works with many women who have lost their lashes to chemotherapy. To grow hair naturally, she also recommends castor oil. “It’s probably the only thing I’d recommend to anybody undergoing treatment,” she says.
Bottom line? Be patient and take the time to really take care of your new lashes. Before you know it, they’ll be long enough to begin incorporating lash serums and strip lashes. I hope you find this information helpful as you grow out your new lashes!