Do you want to get longer and thicker eyelashes (who doesn’t) without resorting to false ones or extensions? If you’re here, you’re probably considering using an eyelash growth serum.
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
As a lash artist and salon owner, I have seen firsthand the power of these serums for several of my clients and for myself as well.
So in this article, I’m going to give you the Eyelash Serum 101 – what they are, how they work, and of course, addressing questions about safety & side effects.
Let’s dive into it!
Disclaimer: Although I have been doing lash 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 serums are designed to nourish and condition your lashes so that they can grow longer, thicker, and healthier.
Eyelash growth serums usually come in a small bottle with a brush applicator that allows you to apply the serum directly to the base of your lashes.
In addition to promoting lash growth, lash serums can also help to make your lashes look fuller and more luscious.
They usually contain a combination of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are essential for hair growth. However, each brand will use different ingredients, so it’s important to read the label carefully to make sure you’re getting a product that contains what you need.
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
A prostaglandin is a group of fat naturally made by the human body. Prostaglandin analogs are drugs used to treat glaucoma, a condition that damages the optic nerve often due to increased pressure in the eye.
Bimatoprost is a prostaglandin analog that was approved by the FDA in 2001 for the treatment of glaucoma. However, doctors noticed that one of the side effects of this drug was longer and thicker lashes.
It is not uncommon for drugs to be repurposed for other uses once they are on the market. In this case, we witness the birth of the first FDA-approved prostaglandin-based lash serum named “Latisse”.
Bimatoprost (active ingredient) is found at a concentration ratio of 0.03% in Latisse. 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.
Fun fact: Did you know that your hair is mostly made of a single protein called keratin?
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
While peptide-based eyelash growth serums are considered safer, there is always the potential for irritation. If you have sensitive skin, it’s important to do a patch test on your arm before applying the product to your lashes.
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
Lash serums are easy to use.
Simply apply a small amount of the product to your lash line with the applicator that is provided. Gently massage the serum into your lashes, and then allow it to dry.
Some lash growth serums need to be applied at night before you go to bed, while others can be used in the morning and evening.
It is important to follow the instructions that come with your lash serum so that you use it correctly.
How Do Lash Serums Work?
Lash serums work by providing your lashes and eyebrows with the nutrients they need to grow. They also help to strengthen your lashes so that they are less likely to break or fall out.
Most products available on the market need to be applied once or twice a day, and you should start to see results after about four to six weeks.
Do Lash Serums Actually Work?
Yes, lash serums do actually work. Latisse has been clinically proven to increase lash length, thickness, and darkness, and to strengthen lashes.
Other prostaglandin-based lash serums have also been shown to be effective at increasing lash growth.
Peptide-based and vitamin-based lash serums have not been studied as extensively, but there is some evidence to suggest that they can also be effective at stimulating eyelash growth.
If you are looking for a safe and effective way to improve the appearance of your lashes, then a lash-enhancing serum is worth considering.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Eyelash Growth Serums?
- Longer lashes: Helps your lashes to grow longer.
- Thicker lashes: Helps your lashes to grow thicker.
- Stronger lashes: Helps strengthen your lashes so that they are less likely to break or fall out.
- Fuller lashes: Helps make your lashes look fuller and more luscious.
- Darker lashes: Helps darken your lashes so that they appear more defined.
- Potential for irritation: Some people may experience irritation when using lash serums. If you have sensitive skin, it’s important to do a patch test on your arm before applying the product to your lashes.
- Not suitable for everyone: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not use eyelash serums.
- Can be expensive: They can be quite expensive, depending on the brand and the ingredients.
- Results can take time: They don’t work overnight. It can take four to six weeks to see results.
What Happens Once You Stop Using a Lash Growth Serum?
Your lashes will eventually return to their normal state once you stop using a lash growth serum.
If you want to maintain the results, you will need to continue using the product regularly.
For example, if you had small, sparse, or brittle lashes before using a lash growth serum, your lashes will likely return to that state once you stop using the product.
How Long Should You Use Eyelash Growth Serum?
You should use your eyelash serum for at least 4 weeks to see any results. For the best results, use it for at least 12 weeks.
You can continue to use your eyelash growth serum even after you’ve achieved your desired results.
If you want to maintain the results, you will need to use the product regularly.
Which Eyelash Growth Serum Is Best?
Latisse is the only eyelash growth serum with FDA approval and is clinically proven to increase lash length. Other popular over-the-counter serums include GrandeLASH, BabeLash, RevitaLash, and RapidLash.
What Is the Safest Way to Grow Lashes?
Coconut oil is the safest and most natural way to grow eyelashes. You can apply it directly to your lashes with a clean mascara brush or cotton swab. Coconut oil has also been shown to be effective at stimulating lash growth.
What Is the Safest Lash Serum?
Latisse is a prescription-based medication and the only FDA-approved lash serum on the market currently. As such, the risk profile is well-known and it is considered safe for most people to use.
Other popular over-the-counter peptides-based lash serums are also considered safe, but unfortunately, lack extensive clinical studies.
The Bottom Line
Eyelash growth serums have taken the industry by storm. There’s no doubt that this trend will continue as more and more people seek out ways to improve the appearance of their lashes.
Several of my clients have used a serum because of natural lashes that are too weak or short to support lash extensions. I’ve seen the results firsthand and can attest to their effectiveness.
Of course, some serums have a higher risk of side effects such as those that have a prostaglandin analog active ingredient. It’s always important to do your research, check out the ingredients carefully, and talk to your doctor or ophthalmologist if you have any doubts.
- 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).
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