There's been a significant increase in the number of products that claim to enhance eyelash growth - xgirl had a goo at two such offerings from Revlon earlier in the week - and since that ill-fated encounter with 2-week extensions left my lashline looking less than luscious, treatments like these are of particular interest to me at the minute.
I've been scoping out the various options available before making a purchase that will hopefully restore my lashes to their former glory, and since I know some of you have been left in a similar boat I thought I'd share my findings.
The first thing to know is that the only ingredients that can encourage new eyelash growth are known as prostaglandin analogues and they're primarily used in the treatment of glaucoma; their effect on eyelash growth was actually discovered by accident when patients reported that their lashes were significantly longer, thicker, and darker following the administration of their glaucoma medication.
Latisse is essentially the cosmetic version of this medication. It's intended to be administered as a treatment for eyelash hypotrichosis (having inadequate or insufficient eyelashes) and it's manufactured by Allergan, the people who brought us Botox and Juvaderm. It's is currently the only cosmetic product that I'm aware of that's licensed to contain a prostaglandin analogue in the form of bimatoprost, which makes it the only FDA-approved eyelash enhancing serum that's actually capable of causing hair growth. It's popular with celebrities and the eyelash-concious affluent, particular in the States, but there are a couple of issues with Latisse that should be borne in mind.
First, it's hard to get hold of: the active ingredient being a drug means that you'll need a prescription for Latisse, and while US doctors seem very happy to dole them out, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone this side of the pond to do the same. I've been able to find exactly one cosmetic surgery practise in Ireland that advertises Latisse treatments. Even if you can track down a provider you'll run into the second problem: cost. A one month's supply of Latisse will set you back somewhere in the region of €100, and you need to use it continuously to maintain results. If you stop using Latisse, your lashes will revert to their previous state.
But let's say you're a Euromillions winner and have found a doctor who's (a) heard of Latisse, (b) agrees that your eyelashes are in need of a boost, and (c) is happy to scribble down a prescription. Well, then there's problem number three: the side effects. These are clearly listed on the Latisse website and include redness of the eye and surrounding skin, itchiness of the eyelid, eye irritation, dryness of the eye, darkening of the skin (which may be reversible) and darkening of the iris (which is not.)
All of this put me right off Latisse, so I parked my research and decide that I'll be trying one of the myriad of over-the-counter eyelash conditioners that are now available. Now, none of these can actually cause new lashes to grow where there are none. What they can do is feed the lash follicle, condition lashes so that they look healthier and in better nick, and help the lash fringe reach its maximum possible length and density by extending the lifespan of individual lashes.
We've previously taken a gander at RapidLash (initial post here and trial, with pictures, here) and Ageless Lashes, as well as more widely available (and cheaper) lash lushifiers like Lancome Hypnose Precious Cells, L’Oreal Paris Renewal Lash Serum and Mascara, Mavala Double Cils, and the Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara and Eyeliner which I mentioned at the top of this post.
Having spent far too much time weighing up the pros and cons of the various options available and reading a rake of reviews, I've decided to order a tube of Talika Lipocils for myself. It's got the xgirl seal of approval and Mam, who has the most sensitive eyes of anyone I've ever met, has used it in the past without irritation and found that it vastly improved the look of her seriously short lashes. Since the best that any of these kinds of products can do is condition lashes, I'm reluctant to spend big bucks on one: Talika Lipocils clocks in at less than €20 (you can check our stockists page for details about where to buy.)
Are you a dedicated user of eyelash enhancers? What's your preferred product?