Whenever we see someone with long, full lashes we immediately assume they’re falsies or extensions. But thanks to lash-growth serums, it is possible to enhance your lashes by adding length and shine to the existing hairs on your lash line.
While there’s a bevy of serums to choose from whether you opt for a prescription formula from a dermatologist’s office or an over-the-counter tube, not all are created equal and won’t deliver the same results.
Before jumping in and slathering a serum on our lashes, we turned to the experts to find out the differences between formulas, potential side effects, and their efficiency.
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Prescription vs. Over the Counter Serums
Currently, Latisse is the only FDA-approved lash growth treatment. In addition to the fact that a doctor needs to prescribe it to you, the formula is derived from a drug used to treat glaucoma, which has been found to enhance both the length and thickness of lashes. “Latisse works by interfering with the eyelash growth cycle using prostaglandin analogues,” explains Great Neck N.Y.-based dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf. “This prolongs the eyelash growth cycle resulting in longer and thicker lashes.
On the other hand, OTC serums tend to be more of a conditioning, repairing treatment for lashes. Usually these formulas are enriched with antioxidants and peptides like apple stem extract, biotin, and castor oil, to name a few. While these serums can help lashes appear fuller, it’s important to note that they won’t increase actual lash growth. “The length of lash appearance is different to each individual, but it is important to recognize that only prescriptions like Latisse will actually increase lash growth that will reverse once you stop applying the product,” says NYC-based Cosmetic Dermatologist, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank.
What Are the Side Effects?
While both prescription and OTC serums are safe to use for any skin type, Dr. Graf recommends avoiding them if you have blepharitis, an inflammatory condition of the conjunctival area where eyelashes originate from, or dry eye because the products could worsen symptoms.
The most common side effects include redness and irritation, which if you experience either, you should immediately stop using the serum. Discoloration of the skin around the eyelids is also a possibility. “It is important to note that some skin discoloration can be a side effect,” says Dr. Frank. “Therefore, it is important to always gently wipe away any excess serum on the eye lid.”
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When Will I See Results?
While each person is different, if you’re using Latisse, Dr. Frank says that doctors who’ve conducted studies have found that most people experienced 25% longer lashes, 18% darker lashes and 106% fuller lashes. Since Latisse has only been approved since 2008, its long-term usage is still being studied, but it’s suggested that you start with the serum once a day for six months, followed by twice a week. Both Doctors, say that since there’s no actual drugs in OTC serums, it’s hard to determine the effect of long-term usage. However, if you experience any side effects, immediately stop applying them.
It’s also important to be realistic with your expectations what the serum will do for your lashes. “When using Latisse, one may expect to regain the long, luscious eyelashes they may have had when they were younger,” Dr. Graf says. “If someone never had eyelashes, using Latisse will not create long lashes since they were never there to begin with.”
Lash Out! The 10 Best Eyelash Growth Serums On the Market
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Your dreams of rocking mascara ad lashes can finally come true-without the use of falsies or extensions. Revitalash Advanced is officially the Rolls Royce of lash conditioners. Not only does the serum grow ultra-lush length as it promises, but nourishing ingredients like green tea, ginseng, and biotin also shield your lashes from external irritants to keep them from breaking.
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Rimmel London Lash Accelerator Serum
Now here's what we call a cheap trick. Rimmel's lash-boosting serum is one of the best versions we've found under $10, and is lightweight enough to wear under makeup.
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Vichy LiftActif Serum 10
Consider Vichy's innovative serum to be an eye cream with a day job. The potent blend of hyaluronic acid and ceramides boast serious anti-aging benefits for your peepers, diminishing crow's feet and fine lines, as natural plant sugars give your lashes a boost, and restore the moisture they may have lost to excess eye makeup.
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Peter Thomas Roth Lashes to Die For Turbo
While some products may fail to live up to their given names, Peter Thomas Roth's Lashes to Die For Turbo is one that actually delivers, thanks to its ability to grow skyscraper length in record time. The potent formula uses a blend of nourishing peptides that won't irritate even the most sensitive skin types, and in just four weeks, all of your friends will be wondering whether your lashes are the real deal, or Kardashian-esque extensions.
Peter Thomas Roth
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Givenchy Mister Lash Booster
Givenchy's polymer-rich formula actually doubles as clear mascara, delivering a shiny, defined finish that works to extend your length with each use. The user friendly comb applicator also makes using the serum on sparse brows a breeze.
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Talika Lipocils Conditioning Gel
While apple and soy sound more like ingredients found in the latest must-try juice cleanse, Talika has tapped into their nourishing aspects to serve up what we're dubbing green juice for your lashes. All-natural elements like nettle, horse chestnut, and witch hazel stimulate eyelash growth as the soy lecithin travels into each hair follicle to deliver the active ingredients.
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We already knew that Flinstones Vitamins packed major benefits for our bones, and the addition of vitamin B5 in Rodial's serum works in the same way to strengthen each individual lash from the inside out, as the brand's blend of peptides and wheat proteins help you achieve your maximum length.
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No.7 Fanomenal Lash Serum
If you're a lash serum rookie, No.7's version serves as a great starting point into the world of lengtheners and conditioners. After a few nights of use, you'll notice longer, darker lashes, with full results after eight weeks. Plus, thanks to the wallet-friendly price point, you can afford to stock up.
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Lashfood Nano-Peptide Natural Eyelash Conditioner
Nixing gluten from your diet? Your lash serum can follow suit! While many serums use a blend of wheat proteins to get your grow on, Lashfood's natural version leaves gluten, as well as parabens and synthetic fragrances, out of the mix to stay in-line with your healthy lifestyle.
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Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum
We've often swept on a few coats of Diorshow mascara and wished the effect wouldn't wash away with our makeup, but the brand's innovative serum has made our dreams a reality. Swipe a layer on before applying mascara as a primer, or use at night to let the soy proteins work their magic.