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Eyelash Growth Serums: Full-Fledged Miracles or a Long Shot?

Dec 27, 2018 12:00AM

By Kelsey Casselbury

An eyelash might seem like it’s made of different stuff than the hairs on your head, but it’s essentially the same thing. Therefore, like the strands on your crown, eyelashes go through the same growth cycle: active growth period, the transition period, and resting period. (There are more scientific names for it, but let’s not get caught up in the jargon). The lash grows and grows and grows during the first phase, and then they’re at max length during the transition period. Finally, the hair falls out after spending about 100 days in the resting period. 

So, if a person wants fuller, longer lashes, where is a lash growth serum supposed to fit into this natural cycle? Latisse is the only FDA-approved treatment that actually is proven to have an effect on eyelashes. It does so by extending that first active growth phase, so the lashes become both longer and thicker. The history behind Latisse is a little quirky, though, as it started out as glaucoma medication—patients using it just noticed a really nice side effect framing their eyes. You can’t get it at the drugstore, though, because it still requires a prescription. 

Rodan + Fields’ Lash Boost is another serum that reportedly gets results, though it’s an over-the-counter formula containing isopropyl cloprostenate. It has a significant price tag when compared to the less-expensive counterparts, but ladies with scant lashes often find the results worth it. Of course, the company was hit with a lawsuit earlier this year, with the plaintiffs claiming harm from the product. Yikes. Some say the R+F product should be regulated, too, but it’s not yet. It is banned in Canada, so the company doesn’t sell Lash Boost north of the border, a factor you might want 

to take into consideration. 

That leads to the less-expensive and, potentially, the less-effective lash growth serums on the market—the over-the-counter formulations, which typically contain biotin, a B vitamin, that supposedly strengthens keratin, a protein that’s in hair and nails. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that biotin increases lash growth. Some products’ biggest benefits might be all about the appearance they allow for, which can be fairly significant. The formulations often act as water binders or moisturizers, which can do a better job than mascara at making the lashes look bigger, as well as increase the flexibility of hair, which reduces lash breakage. 

However, a prescription formula, a high-end over-the-counter brand and a product you picked up at the drugstore all have one thing in common: If you stop using it, your lashes will go back to normal. These serums might have a positive effect on your lashes for a reasonable period 

of time, but when it comes down it, they can’t alter your genetic predilection for long, strong, full eyelashes.