We go to some pretty extreme lengths when it comes to enhancing our looks. From injecting things into our faces to smooth out wrinkles, to applying some pretty intense chemicals to our hair to give it the curl it doesn’t have or straighten the curl it does, we’re experts at finding ways to get the style and look we want, when we want it.
Needless to say, eyelashes are no different. We curl, tint, add extensions, use lengthening products— we’ll basically do whatever it takes to get lashes that draw attention to our eyes. This is nothing new; the eyelash trend dates back to the 1800s, when women would literally have hair removed from their heads and implanted onto their lash line with a needle and thread. Thankfully, today we don’t have to go to those types of extremes to get the long lash look we love.
There have been so many advances in eyelashes it can be hard to keep up. It’s a thriving industry, worth $1.5 billion dollars globally. That’s a lot of money for some tiny hairs that frame your eyes!
Part of this booming industry is eyelash serum. Eyelash serum is a liquid that is applied to your natural lash line to help them grow longer, thicker, and potentially darker than your natural lashes can grow on their own. Using specialized ingredients, these serums claim to “feed” your natural lashes at their root, stimulating the hair follicle and causing them to grow. Essentially, eyelash serums work like steroids for your lashes; or at least, that’s the claim.
If this seems like some kind of snake oil remedy for being last in line when long eyelashes were being handed out, we’re with you. It sounded a little too good to be true, so we did a little digging. We strive to find out accurate information about everything related to the eyelash industry, so we can deliver that information to you. We’re your insider eyelash besties, and we’ve got the scoop on whether or not eyelash serums work, and if they’re safe.
How Was Eyelash Serum Discovered?
How did eyelash serums even come into existence? As it turns out, quite by accident. The first eyelash growth serum wasn’t an actual growth serum at all, it was a medical treatment for intraocular pressure. Patients who were receiving treatment via eye drops that contained an ingredient to help their eyes regulate eye pressure discovered that a side effect of using the drops was that their lashes grew longer, darker, and in some cases, fuller.
In 2008, the company that manufactured the eyedrop appealed to the FDA for approval of use of their product in the cosmetic industry, and eyelash serum was born. Currently, there is only one eyelash serum approved by the FDA as treatment for eyelash growth. As you can imagine, numerous companies began attempting to piggyback on this eyelash growing technique. There are numerous companies that claim the same lash-growing effects of the original lash serum, but there isn’t any research that shows they actually work.
Additionally, the original serum developed from the eye-pressure medication comes with some alarming side effects, which may make you reconsider it as an option for your own lashes.
What Is the Cost of an Eyelash Serum?
It’s no secret that eyelash serums aren’t cheap. In fact, the ones prescribed by cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists can cost you well over $100. Even ones sold through cosmetic companies can have comparable costs. These serums usually last about thirty days when applied daily. That means you’ll be spending this amount of money every month to lengthen your lashes.
The growth you may experience from an eyelash serum will only last as long as you continue using the product. Your natural eyelash growth cycle takes about two to three weeks. Once an eyelash falls out at the three week mark, a new lash grows to take its place. This lash will not have the same length that a previous lash had, if the previous lash was treated with a serum and you have discontinued use.
Many users feel that their lashes come back shorter after discontinuing use of a serum, but there is currently no research to prove this is the case. And if you’re wondering how long it takes an eyelash serum to work, the answer is the same; two to three weeks to effectively see results from new lash growth.
Eyelash Serums: What Are the Side Effects?
While most eyelash serums aren’t backed by research to prove that they actually work, the one that does has some side effects that may make it a non-viable option for you. Even serums that do not contain the active eye-pressure relieving ingredient can have some unwanted side effects that make them an option that may not work for everyone. Here are some of the possible side effects of lash serums.
- General Eye Irritation. Redness, puffiness, and discharge were all named as side effects in a class-action lawsuit filed against a popular eyelash serum manufacturer by women who said the serum caused them to experience these eye irritations on a daily basis. The problem with this particular lash serum is that it contained an ingredient labeled as a drug by the FDA, isopropyl cloprostenate. The FDA had previously issued warnings to companies that produced eyelash serums that contained this ingredient, stating that it wasn’t safe for use unless under the supervision of a medical professional, but these companies continued to manufacture the products labeling them as “cosmetics” and not prescriptive serums.
- Bacterial Infections. Eye infections have been reported with use of eye serums, likely because of the method of application. Some serums come with one applicator wand, which means the product is continually placed on your skin and then inserted back into a tube, which can make it a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Skin Darkening. One of the most alarming potential side effects of eyelash serums that contain bimatoprost is the potential for the serum to darken the skin which is affected by the serum, normally the upper lash line or anywhere else the serum may experience run off. This skin darkening is rare, but is permanent if it occurs.
- Iris Discoloration. Another potential side effect of bimatoprost is the development of dark spots in the colored part of your eye called the iris. This discoloration, while rare, is irreversible.
- Lack of Effectiveness. While it may not seem like a side effect, lack of effectiveness of the product is a definite potential when considering the use of an eyelash enhancing serum. Because the market is so flooded with these products and so few of them are able to deliver results, you may be disappointed.
What Else Can Lengthen Lashes Other Than Serum?
If eyelash serum isn’t a viable option for you, or if you’re like us and don’t want to risk the side effects that come along with serum use, you do have options. One of the easiest, safest, and most cost-effective ways to get the lashes you want is to use a set of false eyelash strips.
Using false eyelash strips like the ones offered by Doe Lashes allow you to have the beautiful, glamorous lashes you want without risking damage to your natural lashes, eye infections and irritations. Additionally, you won’t have to wait weeks on end to see results. You can get results immediately and effectively.
Eyelash strips also give you the opportunity to try out different lash styles, and you aren’t committed to one style for any particular day or event. You can wear lowkey lashes by day and super glam lashes by night, if that’s what you want.
Lash strips will not interfere with your own natural eyelashes’ growth. When applied correctly, lash strips sit just above your natural lash line, which means your natural lashes are not affected by the presence of the lash strip.
Some of the best benefits of using false eyelash strips as opposed to eyelash serums are:
- Safety. Eyelash serums have side effects which can be damaging to your eyes and the surrounding skin. Additionally, eyelash serums can discolor your iris and/or the skin on your eyelid and anywhere the serum may run off. While these side effects are rare, they are permanent if they occur.
Eyelash strips do not damage the skin on your eyelids or interfere with your eye health. They sit just above your natural lash line so they never touch your natural lashes at their root or interfere with your actual eye.
- Cost Effectiveness. Eyelash serums are expensive, and there is a chance they won’t even work. High quality eyelash strips can be purchased for less than $13 per pair, and are reusable up to twelve times. You’ll also get long lashes every time you wear lash strips, guaranteed.
- Eyelash Strips Aren’t Permanent. You can get great lashes immediately with eyelash strips; you won’t have to wait for months for your natural lashes to grow. You’re also never locked into one eyelash style; you can remove your lash strips and reapply them whenever you want.
Eyelash serums are hit or miss. Some may work but come with side effects that are too risky for many users. Using false lashes as a method to enhance your look is a safe, easy, and cost-effective way to get the lashes you want without risking your eye health.