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Do Eyelash Growth Serums Work? Everything You Need to Know

Do Eyelash Growth Serums Work? Everything You Need to Know

closeup of blue eye

Having long, full, and luscious eyelashes is #goals for many of us. It’s why more and more salons are offering eyelash extensions for upwards of $100 a pop.

That’s a chunk of change on its own, but extension refills can set you back another $40 to $50 every few weeks. Ain’t nobody got the time and cash for that.

Not to mention, eyelash extensions can harm your natural lashes, leaving you with sparse, wimpy fringe once you take off the fakes.

Are you doomed to deal with short lashes forever? Nope! Let’s break down the best eyelash growth serums, along with the good, bad, and the ugly when it comes to getting longer lashes.

Do Eyelash Growth Serums Work?

Yes and no.

The bummer is that most eyelash growth serums sold in stores don’t work because the active ingredient is biotin. Biotin is a B complex vitamin that most of us get naturally through foods like whole grains, nuts, and egg yolks. It’s gained a cult following in recent years, thanks to claims that it helps grow hair, eyelashes, and nails — and makes skin glow.

Unfortunately, biotin alone won’t transform your lashes into something that resembles falsies.

“There is no compelling evidence that biotin will increase lash growth,” dermatologist Pamela A. Lowe told Self. “And because many supplements of biotin rarely get absorbed into one’s system efficiently — unless one is extremely deficient — it really doesn’t pay off to use it for this purpose.”

Other eyelash growth serums are formulated with active ingredients sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, and peptides. These do appear to have benefits, but the effects are subtle. They act as moisturizers that can help reduce breakage on brittle lashes or make them appear thicker (much like conditioner for your hair), but it’s not permanent. Castor oil, another popular ingredient that’s often touted as an eyelash growth serum, only makes the eyelashes look shiny.

What to Look For in Eyelash Growth Serums

So, are there any ingredients in eyelash growth serums that work? Luckily, yes — but not without risks.

Latisse is the only eyelash growth serum approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, thanks to its active ingredient, bimatoprost. Bimatoprost was originally approved to treat glaucoma, but patients noticed an interesting side effect: longer, thicker eyelashes.

Latisse works by extending the growth cycle, known as the anagen phase of the eyelashes, and increases the number of lashes. It’s not applied to all lashes, just the new growth along the lash line.

eyelash growth serums before and after photos

According to the makers of Latisse, you’ll see results within two to three months — but your fuller lashes will eventually revert back to their natural state once you stop using it. Latisse might work as an eyelash enhancer, but it’s only available with a doctor’s prescription.

Peptides and ceramides are ingredients regularly added to eyelash serums and are anecdotally shown to work, depending on the person using them. But Latisse with bimatoprost is the only eyelash growth serum proven to grow lashes.

Are Eyelash Growth Serums Safe?

Most types of lash-enhancing serum are generally known to be safe, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks involved. Nearly every type of serum requires you to apply to the lash line like you would eyeliner, but improper application can lead to irritated eyes and more problems.

“The gland openings on the eyelids that are essential for proper tear function can potentially become clogged [with eyelash serums], thereby causing discomfort, styes, and infection,” Lowe told Self.

Even FDA-approved Latisse is shown to have side effects.

Do Eyelash Growth Serums Change Your Eye Color?

eyelash growth serums like latisse can change eye color

Latisse might help you grow your eyelashes, but it’s also known to cause darkening on the eyelids and, yes, change eye color. People with light eye colors are especially at risk for eye color changes — and this darkening of the iris is permanent.

Latisse can also mask the sign of glaucoma and even cause unwanted hair growth in areas it touches. To minimize the risk, Lower recommends applying eyelash growth serums using the included applicator and working from the inner corner of the eye outward using the hand on the same side as the eye you’re applying it to.

The Best Eyelash Serums to Grow Your Lashes

Eyelash growth serums can range from really cheap to really, really expensive. That said, an inexpensive eyelash growth serum might actually work better than an expensive one — it all depends on the product.

Zoria Boost Lash-Intensifying Serum
$160.00

On the expensive end, Lowe recommends Zoria Boost Lash Intensifying Serum. It’s available without a prescription and the peptides are said to help strengthen and grow lashes.

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Rodan + Fields Lash Boost

Rodan + Fields Lash Boost Serum
$155.00

Another expensive cult favorite is the Rodan + Fields Lash Boost. Though reviews are mixed, at least one blogger had amazing results using it. 

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“I am wearing only one coat of mascara in the BEFORE and two thick coats in the AFTER, because I want you to see each lash…as much as possible,” Genevieve Monsma wrote on Instagram alongside her eyelash growth serum before and after photos.

 

I apologize in advance for the 4-eyed monster photo. But, for those of you following my @rodanfields Lash Boost posts, here (at your request) are some progression photos. The BEFORE was taken after using Lash Boost for about one month. I don’t have any earlier than that. Sorry. The AFTER and bottom shot were taken this morning (19 weeks into my Lash Boost use). I am wearing only one coat of mascara in the BEFORE and two thick coats in the AFTER, because I want you to see each lash…as much as possible. One thing Lash Boost has not done is darkened my lashes. At all. They are still very blonde. So this is more mascara than I would typically wear. But, again, the point is to show you the length, density and even, to a certain degree the tangling. (A spoolie brush is a must when your lashes get this long.) And if you haven’t been following my Lash Growth journey, there is a link to the first post in my bio…Though suffice it to say, I think it works

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“One thing Lash Boost has not done is darkened my lashes. At all. They are still very blonde. So this is more mascara than I would typically wear. But, again, the point is to show you the length, density, and even, to a certain degree the tangling,” she continued.

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“(A spoolie brush is a must when your lashes get this long.) And if you haven’t been following my Lash Growth journey, there is a link to the first post in my bio…Though suffice it to say, I think it works.”

Phyto-Medic Eyelash Enhancer
$78.00

LashFood Eyelash Enhancer was developed by cosmetic scientists to help transform brittle lashes into a fuller, more luscious look. The active ingredient is the proprietary Phyto-Medic Complex made from "revolutionary" medicinal herbs, along with arginine (to boost hair follicles), lavender water, and soy protein (for its hydrating power). 

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Though there isn’t much out there on these ingredients and their ability to grow lashes, fans seem to love it.

Rapidlash Eyelash Enhancing Serum

I used to have short stubby lashes but now my lashes have grown twice their original length,” one reviewer wrote on Ulta.com. “I’ve been using it for about 3 months now and I can’t stop. I use it morning and night. Family and friends have been asking if they’re fake, or I got lash extensions, etc. but they’re mine! Shocking results. Definitely recommend!!!”

Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner

RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner
$98.00

On the cheaper end of the spectrum, Rapidlash Eyelash Enhancing Serum uses polypeptides and amino acids to help create a look of thicker lashes.

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“This is [my] favorite beauty product EVER! It really does work,” one reviewer wrote. “My lashes are amazing because of this. I have people ask me daily if I am wearing fake lashes or if I have eyelash extensions. I have been using this product for about a year and my lashes are still great.”

Skin Research Laboratories NeuLash Enhancing Serum

neuLash Lash Enhancing Serum
$150.00

While this one ranks right up there with Zoria on the expensive end of eyelash growth serums, neuLash Enhancing Serum gets high marks for its Active Eyelash Technology that uses natural ingredients like pumpkin seed extract, B vitamins, amino acids, phytosterols, zinc, and iron to create visible lash growth within 30 days, according to the company. 

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GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum

Vichy Liftactiv Eyes and Lashes Serum

Vichy Liftactiv Eyes and Lashes Serum
$35.00

A serum that helps the eye area as well as lashes? Sign us up. Vichy Liftactiv Eyes and Lashes Serum uses hyaluronic acid, and Rhamnose, a naturally derived plant sugar, to reduce the appearance of crows feet and other fine lines while it also conditions the lash area.

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Peter Thomas Roth Lashes to Die For Turbo Nighttime Eyelash Treatment

Reviews for this product are mixed, but reviewers who see results are huge fans.

Shiseido Full Lash and Brow Serum

Shiseido Full Lash and Brow Serum
$36.00

Get fuller lashes and eyebrows at the same time? Sign. Us. Up. 

This arginine-infused serum is designed to help both brows and lashes reach their full potential.

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“I use this every day on my eyebrows and lashes and it has truly made a noticeable difference,” one reviewer wrote. “I now have significantly fuller eyebrows, I have hair I never thought I would, I no longer draw my eyebrows on I just use a filler with a spoolie.”

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