The 10 Best Eyelash Growth Serums (and the Truth Behind Them) - The Dermatology Review

The 10 Best Eyelash Growth Serums (and the Truth Behind Them)

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

02.26.21DISCLAIMER

Statistics show that 106 million women in the U.S. used mascara in 2020 — to put that stat into perspective, there are approximately 168 million women in the entire country, which means the majority are into the darkening, lengthening, and thickening their lashes. As striking as this may make one’s eyes look, the reality is, regular mascara use can cause eyelash loss — though there are other contributing factors as well (more on that later.) With that in mind, a growth serum can help promote strong, healthy, and lustrous lashes. Here are ten of the best picks to help you encourage lash health.

Best Overall: Latisse Eyelash Serum, $120-140

Best for Prevention: neuLASH Lash Enhancing Serum, $150

Best Multi-Use: Pronexa Hairgenics Lavish Lash Eyelash Growth Enhancer and Brow Serum, $28.99

Best for Sensitive Eyes: WooLash Eyelash Growth Serum, $49.95

Best Drugstore Buy: L’Oréal Paris Eyelash Serum with Lash Caring Complex, $15

Best French Pharmacy Find: Vichy LiftActiv Eyes and Lashes Serum, $35

Best Splurge: Lancer Lash Experience Intense, $150

Best for Luster: Rapid Lash Eyelash Serum, $49.95

Best Post-Extension Formula: HydroPeptide Lash Serum, $98

Best Natural: LashFood Phyto-Medic Eyelash Enhancing Serum, $78

Understanding the Eyelash Growth Process

As with the hair on your scalp (and the rest of the body), eyelashes have a growth pattern of their own. There are three specific phases:

  • Anagen, Active: The first phase lasts approximately 4-10 weeks. It’s the period when the hair attached to the dermal papilla (aka blood supply) nourishes the lash to stimulate growth at a rate of 0.12 to 0.14 millimeters per day. The longer a lash remains in this phase, the longer it will grow.
  • Catagen, Transition Phase: This is a crucial phase because eyelashes stop growing because the hair follicle shrinks and disconnects from the dermal papilla. If at any time during this phase an eyelash falls or is plucked out, the follicle will remain empty until the anagen phase begins again. This period lasts for 2-3 weeks.
  • Telogen, Resting Phase: In this final phase, new hairs begin to grow within the eyelash follicle, which causes existing lashes (approximately 50% at a time) to shed. This phase lasts around 3-4 months before reentering the anagen period.

What Causes Sparse Eyelashes?

Now that you understand how the growth cycle works, you may be wondering what causes lashes to fall out and appear sparse. Providing you’re not experiencing hair loss elsewhere due to conditions such as alopecia or a thyroid disorder, eyelash loss may indicate:

  • Trichotillomania: While you may occasionally pull on an eyelash to remove a clump of mascara, trichotillomania (trich) is a condition when a person has an uncontrollable urge to pull out their eyelashes (or hair from other parts of the body) to ease feelings of anxiety.
  • Not Removing Eye Makeup: By now, you likely know that not removing face makeup can clog pores and promote breakouts, dullness, and irritation. However, not removing eye makeup can destroy your eyelashes. The longer mascara remains on the lashes, the dyer it becomes, which makes your lashes more susceptible to breakage. Also, look at it this way: If your lashes aren’t clean, they can’t optimally protect your eyes.
  • Eyelash Curlers: Whether the device is heated or non-heated, eyelash curlers can damage lashes and speed up the shedding process.
  • Eyelash Extensions: Between the glue, extra weight on the lashes, and the removal process, eyelash extensions are just as damaging as the versions designed to create a healthier and fuller-looking head of hair. The irony is that once removed, eyelashes (and scalp hair) are typically in even worse condition than before they were installed. It’s not uncommon to have short stubby lashes after extensions.
  • Blepharitis: A condition that occurs when clogged oil glands near the eyelashes cause inflammation and irritation in the eyelash follicles. Along with lash loss, side effects include itchiness, burning, redness, and swelling.
  • Chronological Age: As with the hair on your head, your eyelashes naturally thin as you age.
  • Miscellaneous Causes: Chronic stress, certain medications, hormonal shifts, nutritional deficiencies, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and chronic inflammatory diseases such as lupus or psoriasis.

The Reality Behind Eyelash Serums

Are you wondering how to make eyelashes grow back? Here’s the thing: Latisse (the best overall growth serum on our list) is the only FDA-approved prescription eyelash growth treatment on the market that stimulates growth in the hair follicles not currently generating lashes. With that said, you need a prescription to obtain it. Other over-the-counter eyelash serums aren’t FDA-approved, which means their safety and efficiency are not entirely known.

Even so, many have been ophthalmologist-tested, clinical trials have been conducted, and are favored by dermatologists. While these serums won’t necessarily stimulate new growth, per se, they will help strengthen and condition lashes, which leads to less breakage and loss — especially during the delicate catagen phase. If you’re not ready to make a prescription-strength commitment, look for an OTC option with lash loving ingredients such as biotin, castor oil, hyaluronic acid, and peptides, among other active ingredients.

Be patient; it can take 2-3 months to start to see results (even with Latisse), only when used as directed, which is typically 1-2 times each day. Once you stop using the serum, your eyelashes will go back to their original appearance.

The 10 Best Eyelash Growth Serums

The Best Overall: Latisse Eyelash Serum, $120-140
The best eyelash growth serum on our list is the only FDA-approved formula made with an active ingredient called bimatoprost. Not only does it precipitate existing lashes to become longer, but it also encourages growth within the hair follicles that aren’t currently generating lashes. As Latisse is a pharmaceutical drug, you’ll need a prescription, so be sure to speak to your doctor about potential side effects such as darkened eyelids and itchy, red eyes.

Best for Prevention: neuLASH Lash Enhancing Serum, $150
Prevention is the best way to maintain healthy lashes, so don’t wait until you start to notice thinning to take action. This eyelash serum is formulated with various impressive ingredients, including peptides, biotin, panthenol (key players), panthenol, pumpkin seed extract, sodium hyaluronate, and copper peptide to protect, strengthen, and boost hydration while promoting thick eyelashes.

Best Multi-Use: Pronexa Hairgenics Lavish Lash Eyelash Growth Enhancer and Brow Serum, $28.99
There are several multi-use lash and eyebrow growth enhancers on the market, but this one boasts nearly 40,000 reviews on Amazon (64% of which are five stars), likely because it makes lashes and brows appear thicker and longer in as little as 60 days. This formula’s key ingredient is a proprietary botanically-derived complex that’s been clinically-tested, as well as approved by dermatologists and allergists.

Best for Sensitive Eyes: WooLash Eyelash Growth Serum, $49.95
Many eyelash serums claim to be safe for the eyes. While you should always conduct a patch test first, this formula made with advanced natural, plant-based, and bioactive phytomolecules is recommended by dermatologists and ophthalmologists. It works by naturally stimulating the lash root and the connection between the follicles and dermal papilla. As aforementioned, it’s the latter that nourishes the root to lash growth, but remember, only Latisse can indeed cause lashes to multiply. At best, your lashes will be conditioned, moisturized, and in a healthier state to grow more efficiently.

Best Drugstore Buy: L’Oréal Paris Eyelash Serum with Lash Caring Complex, $15
Sir John, Beyonce’s makeup artist and consulting artist for L’Oréal, is said to be a fan of this eyelash serum, providing it’s worn with dedication twice a day. It features nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, pro-vitamin B5, and glycerin to promote healthy lash growth.

Best French Pharmacy Find: Vichy LiftActiv Eyes and Lashes Serum, $35
Leave it to the French to create a serum with hyaluronic acid and peptides that nourishes eyelashes and the delicate under-eye area at the same time. While your lashes become fortified and conditioned, crow’s feet and fine lines become softened immediately, and more so over time. Unlike other serums applied with a wand, this one only requires the light touch of a finger.

Best Splurge: Lancer Lash Experience Intense, $150
To be fair, Latisse costs just as much as this serum, yet the splurge aspect is because you’re not paying for a pharmaceutical-grade product. However, it is a high-performance formula composed of biotin, panthenol, glycosaminoglycans, and pumpkin seed extract to moisturize and promote healthy, lush looking lashes.

Best for Luster: Rapid Lash Eyelash Serum, $49.95
This award-winning “rapid” eyelash enhancing serum has a worldwide cult following. While polypeptides are responsible for strengthening weak lashes, it’s the soybean oil base that provides a healthy-looking luster while boosting their appearance. The formula is ophthalmologist-tested and clinically proven to be safe and effective to promote more substantial and resilient lashes.

Best Post-Extension Formula: HydroPeptide Lash Serum, $98
There’s nothing wrong with trying a trend such as eyelash extensions, providing you’re willing to pay for the consequences. From the same brand that brings you incredible hydrating, skin-plumping products for the face comes this fortifying and hydrating lash serum formulated with hair-volumizing biotin and peptides. As a bonus, it’s void of gluten, parabens, phthalates, and sulfates.

Best Natural: LashFood Phyto-Medic Eyelash Enhancing Serum, $78
While this Ecocert certified formula is deemed natural, it was created by a team of cosmetic scientists and is clinically proven to improve lashes’ appearance. Thanks to a Phyto-Medic Complex (LashFood’s proprietary eyelash enhancing system), expect improved thickness, increased strength, and resilience.

Popular brands include Babe Lash, Grandelash and Younique Lash Serum.

The Final Word

As striking as mascara may make one’s eyes look, the reality is, regular use can cause eyelash loss — though there are other contributing factors, including eyelash curlers and extensions, and particular eye conditions. With that in mind, a growth serum can promote strong, healthy, and lustrous lashes. The growth and loss pattern happens in three stages: anagen, catagen, telogen. The catagen phase is a delicate one because any lash loss can not be recouped at this time.

Latisse is the only FDA-approved prescription eyelash growth treatment on the market that stimulates growth in the hair follicles that are not currently generating lashes. With that said, you need a prescription to obtain it. While over-the-counter serums won’t necessarily stimulate new growth, per se, they will help strengthen and condition lashes, which leads to less breakage and loss — especially during the delicate catagen phase.

Remember, no matter which formula you choose, it can take 2-3 months to start to see results (even with Latisse), only when used as directed, which is typically 1-2 times each day. Once you stop using the serum, your eyelashes will go back to their original appearance.

References:
U.S. Population: Do You Use Mascara?,” Statista, November 2020.
United States of America USA Population,” Countrymeters, current.
The Eyelash Follicle Features An Anomalies: a Review,” U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
Why Are My Eyelashes Falling Out?,” American Academy of Ophthalmology, February 2019.
Is There a Medication to Thicken Eyelashes?”, Mayo Clinic.

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