Move over mascara, lashes have a new best friend!

Kiera Clayton
23 January 2012

Above: Image © Julia Savchenko,

For decades, women have relied on mascaras to enhance the look of their eyelashes by making them appear thicker and longer. However, mascara can actually damage your lashes and cause them to fall out. Now, science has developed new methods to lengthen and thicken your eyelashes. Based on this science, multiple "eyelash enhancing" products have recently been invented, including Latisse by Allergan, and L’Oréal’s new Lash Boosting Serum.

But with all of the different products out there, it is hard to tell which ones step up to their claim.

Did You Know?
About 98 per cent of people have harmless mites called Demodex folliculorum living in their eyelash follicles

Latisse was an accidental discovery; its active ingredient, bimatoprost, was originally designed to treat eye pressure which would otherwise cause glaucoma (optic nerve damage causing blindness). However, scientists noticed that patients using medicated eye drops to treat glaucoma also reported significantly longer and fuller eyelashes. Unfortunately, it’s unknown exactly how this drug works. Scientists explain that bimatoprost increases the length of time the eyelash follicle spends in its “growth phase”, effectively producing longer lashes. table. Latisse is the only FDA approved product specifically used to enhance eyelashes; after 16 weeks of use, 78 per cent of women in a trial of the product had significantly longer, thicker lashes. However, reported side effects range from mild eye irritation to a permanent increase in brown pigmentation of the iris and darkening of the skin on the eyelids.

Did You Know?
Once pulled out, it takes seven to eight weeks for an eyelash to grow back

If the risks of bimatoprost seem to outweigh the benefits, there are also less pricey, over-the-counter options to enhance eyelash length and thickness. L’Oréal’s Lash Boosting Serum mainly works to condition the eyelash hair and follicle. It contains panthenol and ceramide, which help condition the eyelash hair and help the follicle cells retain moisture, respectively, enhancing the production of keratin (a structural protein that contributes to hair health and strength). It also contains centella asiatice, a plant extract that increases collagen production, which gives volume to eyelashes. Lengthening and thickening effects can be seen within four weeks. Customer reviews have been positive and the side effects, if any, are minimal, including a mild eye irritation. So, if you’re in the market for longer, thicker eyelashes, before opting for a slightly riskier and more expensive alternative, you might want to check out over-the-counter products, like L’Oréal’s Lash Boosting Serum, which cost less than $20 a bottle and have almost no side effects.

As always, do your research and speak with your doctor first if you're unsure about the effects of any products.

Learn more!


L'Oreal Paris

Latisse gains popularity among those seeking longer, fuller lashes

Article first published on August 23, 2010.

Kiera Clayton

I am currently a Master's candidate at the University of Toronto in the Immunology Department. Specifically, I study proteins involved in the immune response during HIV infection. I completed my Honor's Bachelor's of Science at the University of Toronto, specializing in Biochemistry and Virology. I grew up in many places around the world, including London (UK), Toronto (Canada) and North Carolina (USA). When not in the lab, I enjoy rock-climbing, singing and listening to jazz.

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