It is a widely debated topic, but lash sheds are basic human biology. You may associate the lash shed with spring - it does get spoken about more in the spring - but lash sheds are also prevalent in the autumn too!
Think about a cat or dog, and how in the spring or autumn they start shedding all of their fur to make way for a thinner, cooler coat, or a thicker, warmer one. Humans do the same, it just tends to be less noticeable (that is, until we start adding eyelash extensions!)
As you probably know from having studied the hair growth cycle during your lash training, our lashes generally have around a 60-90 day cycle. Of course, each hair is on a different cycle which is why (generally speaking) we need infills every three weeks or so to keep things looking nice and full!
In the spring and the autumn, this process is sped up to make way for our summer or winter ‘coat’ - don’t forget, humans used to be covered in lots more, much thicker hair to protect us from the elements! It’s only really in more recent years that we’ve taken to removing as much body hair as we can - generally speaking - so to that end, you may not have noticed that your arm and leg hairs become thicker in the winter.
But wait! How come the hair on our head doesn’t do the same?! In short, it does. But the growth cycle on your head is far longer than your lashes and brows, it grows far more gradually and for longer than our lashes and brows. We do shed our hair, but we do it for longer, and it takes longer for the hair to actually grow back. There are also THOUSANDS more hairs on your head that are on your lash line and your brows, so it’s more difficult to notice. You may spot little fly-away baby hairs from time to time, and you’ve probably seen more hair in the brush or shower in certain seasons - this is your hair shed!
What else can affect your growth cycle?
- Pregnancy - most prevalent in the 1st and 3rd trimester due to massive hormonal changes
- Breastfeeding - hormonal
- Menstruation - hormonal
- Sickness - high body temperatures can kill off the hair follicle causing some hair loss - this can be seen almost right away with your lashes and brows, but with the hair on your head, it can happen a couple of months afterwards, when the new hairs start to push the dead hairs out of their follicle
- Chemotherapy - this is a harsh and invasive treatment which attacks the body’s cells - hairs can often just be pulled out with the least effort
- Alopecia - a medical condition which causes full or partial hair loss
- Some medications can cause hair loss
- Metabolic imbalances
- Stress (!!!)
- Improper nutrition (especially self-made/fad 'diets')
In short, our hair is fickle. It sticks around when it wants to and when it’s had enough, it’s gone. Unfortunately, there is nothing any of us can do to slow down a fast growth cycle or prevent our own biology from doing its thing - what we can do is explain this to our clients to manage our clients' expectations, and maybe book them in for more frequent infills at this time of year!
How exactly can we manage their expectations better?
- Inform your clients during consultation/via social media posts about the potential for seasonal shedding so they know in advance that this is something they may experience
- Assure them it will only last for a cycle or two and then everything goes back to normal
- Take care of your body during the autumn season by supplementing in essential vitamins and proper nutrition. Taking care of ourselves from the inside out becomes even more important at this time of year - hair is not deemed essential to your survival, so if your body needs extra nutrients due to the cold outside, your body will think nothing of taking its attention away from nurturing hair growth so that the focus can shift to organs and fat storage which are necessary for survival.
- Avoid situations that can cause advanced hair loss, for example stress - make sure you relax as much as possible (eyelash extension treatments are great for that, coincidentally)
- Remember aftercare - more than ever you need to ensure you take excellent care of your lashes - wash as normal, pat dry, brush. No picking them or playing with them, try not to sleep on the face. Basically, avoid upsetting the hair follicle!
- Most important are more frequent infills during this period; it is recommended that infill time drops to 2-3 weeks maximum to ensure any grown out lashes are removed and gaps are filled in.