Meet the woman with the world's longest eyelashes


You Jianxia from Shangai holds the world record for the longest eyelashes – her lashes measure in at a whopping 12.40cm. This has earned her a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records 2018.

She beats the previous recordholder, Gillian Criminisi from Canada whose eyelashes measured in at 8.07cm. Jianxia first noticed her eyelashes growing during a nature retreat in 2013. She attributes this to being “one with nature”.

How does she take care of her eyelashes? "By simply cleansing them when I wash my face," Jianxia says. "They are a part of my body and do not inconvenience me at all," she told the Guinness World Book of Records.

                                You Jianxia from Shangai holds the world record for the longest eyelashes 

What are the requirements?

If you want to hold the world record for the longest eyelashes, your lashes must be completely natural – no extensions or lifts whatsoever. To officially measure her eyelashes, Jianxia’s lashes were laid flat on a ruler and measured three times in the presence of independent witnesses.

What’s the deal with eyelashes?

No, eyelashes are not just for aesthetic purposes. Humans have eyelashes to prevent moisture and dust particles from getting into the eyes, so that we can have uninterrupted vision without any irritation.

When you close your eyes, the curves of the eyelashes form a seal to keep any external particles out of the eye, preventing irritation.

In many cultures, long eyelashes signify beauty – therefore many people choose to get eyelash extensions or cosmetic enhancements. In other cultures, such as the Hazda of Tanzania, women trim their eyelashes. 

human eye

                                                                  Normal eyelashes up close

A possible medical condition?

The loss of eyelashes can indicate medical problems, but unusual and abnormal growth (as in Jianxia’s case) can also signify health problems. The excessive growth of lashes is called eyelash trichomegaly. Unusually long, dense lashes can be uncomfortable and affect your vision.

According to, trichomegaly may occur in people who have lupus or are being treated for leukaemia and Aids, and is usually a side-effect of medication.

The other nasty conditions

Sometimes the follicles of the eyelashes become infected, causing unsightly, uncomfortable styes. A stye results from an infected eyelash root. It involves a red, painful and tender swelling on the edge of the eyelid and forms a point at the base of the infected eyelash. It looks like a large pimple, and is the equivalent of a boil on other parts of the body.

A stye usually comes to a head and breaks open to discharge pus onto the skin within a few days, and then gradually disappears.

Your eyelashes can also become ingrown. This is called trichiasis. Infection of the eyelid, called blepharitis, can cause eyelashes to fall out.

Taking care of those peepers

These tips will help you take good care of your eyelashes:

  • Sterilise equipment such as makeup brushes and eyelash curlers regularly to avoid infections.
  • Do not use mascara beyond the expiration date (usually around 6 months). Discard sooner if it develops a funny smell or becomes clumpy.
  • If you want to get eyelash extensions or tinting done, always go to a reputable salon.
  • Eyelash extensions or the glue used to attach false eyelashes can cause allergic reactions.
  • Immediately treat a stye or any form of infection.
  • There is a myth that trimming your eyelashes may help them grow faster. This is untrue; the only thing it does is increase the risk of cutting your lashes too short or hurting yourself. 

Image credits: Kindly supplied by Guinness World Book of Records 2018, Wikimedia Commons, iStock

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