Do you want to get longer and thicker eyelashes (who doesn’t) without resorting to false eyelashes or extensions? If you’re here, you’re probably considering using an eyelash growth serum for the first time.
You are not alone. Did you know that the worldwide Eyelash Serum market was worth $746.7 million in 2020 and is expected to grow to $1,228.4 Million by 2028?1
There are several things you absolutely must know before using one for the first time. In this article, I’ll cover what they are exactly, how they work, and of course, address questions about safety & side effects.
Let’s dive into it!
Disclaimer: Although I have been doing eyelash enhancement treatments for years, I am not a doctor. All content and information in this post are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific health before implementing any recommendations or suggestions from our Website.
What Are Lash Serums?
Eyelash growth serums are designed to enhance the length, thickness, and overall health of your eyelashes. They typically contain a variety of ingredients that work synergistically such as vitamins, peptides, and plant extracts.
They usually come in a small bottle with an eyeliner-like applicator for easy application directly at the base of your lashes.
There are 3 categories of lash serums available on the market:
Let’s dive into each one in more detail.
1. Prostaglandin-Derived Lash Serums
Prostaglandin-derived lash serums contain synthetic versions of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are compounds that naturally occur in the human body and play various roles such as hair growth. Synthetic prostaglandins (or prostaglandin analogs) can help promote longer and denser eyelashes by extending the natural growth cycle of hairs.
Did you know that Bimatoprost is a prostaglandin analog that was approved by the FDA in 2001 for the treatment of glaucoma?2 Interestingly, doctors noticed that subjects had an unusual side effect: longer and thicker eyelashes!
That’s when the world witnessed the birth of the first FDA-approved lash serum called “Latisse”.3 It’s actually quite common for drugs to be repurposed for other uses.
It is worth noting that Latisse is the only FDA-approved eyelash serum on the market. All the other eyelash growth serums are therefore considered cosmetics and over-the-counter products.
Pro Tip: Bimatoprost is not the only prostaglandin analog! Some over-the-counter formulations will use isopropyl cloprostenate, isopropyl phenyl hydroxypentane, dihydroxy cyclopentyl heptane, dechloro dihydroxy difluoro ethylcloprostenolamide. These are just to name a few. Make sure to read the label.
While this may sound like a dream come true, there are some potential risks to consider before using a prostaglandin-based lash serum:
- Itchy eyes
- Eye irritation
- Eye discoloration
- Blurry vision (more rare side effect)
2. Peptide-Based Lash Serum
Peptides are chains of amino acids that serve as the building blocks of protein in the body. When applied to the lashes, they can help to stimulate growth and prevent breakage.
When applied to the lashes, peptides can help to:
- Stimulate growth
- Prevent breakage
- Increase thickness
- Improve flexibility
Some of the most common peptides used in lash serums are:
- Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3
- Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17
- Copper Tripeptide-1
- Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1
3. Vitamin-Based Lash Serum
Vitamins are essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly. When applied topically, they can help to nourish and condition the lashes.
Some of the most common vitamins used in eyelash serums are:
- Vitamin A (retinol)
- Vitamin B (biotin)
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin E (tocopherol)
While vitamin-based lash-enhancing serums are considered safe, they don’t have as much scientific data to back up their claims when compared to prostaglandin and peptide-based lash serums.
Some eyelash growth serums will also include plant extracts such as:
- Aloe Vera: Known for its ability to heal wounds and burns. It can also help to soothe and protect the skin.
- Rosemary: Known for its ability to improve circulation. It can help to stimulate hair growth.
- Castor oil: Known for its ability to moisturize and condition the skin. It can also help to strengthen the lashes.
How to Apply an Eyelash Growth Serum
When you want to apply your lash serum, you first need to make sure your lashes are clean and dry. Then, simply dip the applicator brush that comes with the product (not too much) and apply a small amount along the base of your upper lash line.
You must be careful to not get any product into your eyes since it could cause irritation. If you do, make sure to rinse it out immediately.
Once you’re done with your upper lash line, wait a few minutes (typically about 5 minutes) for it to dry completely. You can then apply other eye makeup such as mascara or eyeliner.
It’s generally best to apply your serum at night and once a day.
I’ve written a complete guide on how to apply a lash serum here that you might find helpful.
How Do Lash Serums Work?
Lash serums work by extending the growth cycle of your eyelashes lashes.
You must know that the natural growth cycle of eyelashes consists of three phases: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (resting). During the anagen phase, new lashes start to grow before entering the catagen phase. During that phase. your lashes will stop growing and prepare to shed. Finally, your lashes will rest in the telogen phase and eventually shed.
So what’s so special about eyelash growth serums?
They contain ingredients that help to prolong the telogen phase of the lash growth cycle. This leads to more lashes remaining in their resting phase (where they are the longest and strongest). As such, you’ll get a thicker-looking lash line.
What Happens Once You Stop Using a Lash Growth Serum?
Unfortunately, your gains are not sustainable and your lashes will eventually return to their normal state once you stop using a lash growth serum.
You don’t have a choice. If you want to maintain your newly acquired eyelashes, you’ll have to use the product daily.
How Long Should You Use Eyelash Growth Serum?
Most brands require daily use of 4 to 8 weeks before a good assessment of the results can be made. In other words, that’s the bare minimum of your commitment.
How long you want to use it after that is your choice. If you want to rock your long and fluffy eyelashes, you’ll have to use your growth serum on the reg.
Which Eyelash Growth Serum Is Best?
Some popular options include Latisse, GrandeLASH-MD, and BabeLash. Each of these products has its own unique formula and set of benefits. Check out our complete lash serum ranking here.
What Is the Safest Way to Grow Lashes?
The safest way to grow your eyelashes is by using a lash serum that has been clinically tested and approved. Stay away from harsh ingredients that may cause irritations or allergies.
What Is the Safest Lash Serum?
Some ingredients to look for in a safe lash serum include biotin, peptides, and natural plant extracts.
- Growth Market Reports (2021). Global Eyelash Serum Market by Types. Retrieved from https://growthmarketreports.com/report/eyelash-serum-market-global-industry-analysis (Accessed June 26th, 2022).
- FDA (2001). Drug Approval Package. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/2001/21275_Lumigan.cfm [Accessed June 26th, 2023].
- FDA (2009). Drug Approval Package. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/2008/022369_latisse_toc.cfm [Accessed June 26th, 2023].