Babies seem to be blessed with long full lashes. They use them to charm us into doing practically whatever they want. Eyes are key when trying to gain someone’s trust and lustrous lashes make it easy to pay attention just long enough to convince our audience we are worthy of theirs.
Eye lashes, like hair, tend to thin and lose volume as we age. Typical lash cycle lasts between 30 and 60 days. As lashes fall out, they replace themselves with new ones. Like skin and hair on our heads, lashes are sensitive to sun exposure, smoking, pollution, chemical exposure and diet. Keeping them thick, healthy and shiny may take a bit of consideration. Our diet, products we choose and the way we care for our lashes in general can affect how they grow and thrive despite our genetic and hormonal predisposition. Once you have assured you are eating a balanced diet, have no hormonal or health related disorders affecting your lash health or loss, it’s time to figure out what we can do.
So with a billion dollar lash product market out there….which products should we trust?
Can a product help make our lashes healthier, longer and fuller as they claim? From the grocery store to the doctor’s office we see dozens of lash products promising us all we need to revive the lashes we once had and really give our eyes the beautiful frames they deserve.
Below I have outlined for you the some of the best reviewed on the market. These are the products that I thought, had some of the best studied ingredients and therefore had clinical validity. Some are aimed at both stimulating new hair growth and optimizing growth potential while others are simply conditioners to help promotes healthier and more beautiful lashes.. I list their users claims, their key ingredients, price and some other valid considerations.
Here I list my top 10 lash enhancing products. I made sure to have a nice mix of medicial, aesthetic and natural products. Scroll down below and I give you a glossary of all the clinically valid ingredients used in lash serums and how they can help restore or improve lash growth and health. With this information I give you the tools to decifer which lash product may be right for you!
M2 Lashes by M2 Beaute
- Claim: Lustrous lashes without side effects. Use MDN, claimed to be safer prostaglandin derivative. Prolongs growth phase and delays their loss. Result is longer, fuller lashes in 6-8 weeks.
- Ingredients :MDN**, Biotin, Hyaluronic acid, Prodew 300 moisture binder, Hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycan (GAG)
- Other/Buying info: Use prostaglandin analog**. Sold without prescription in Europe and Asia. Not sold in USA.
- 120 Euros. 3 month supply.Clinics, Online
Latisse by Allergan
- Claim: Prescribed for treatment of hypertrichosis (intentional or unintentional lash pulling) or inadequate lashes. Thicker longer and darker lashes in 6-8 weeks.
- Ingredient: Biomatoprost ** is the only listed active ingredient
- Other/Buying info: Uses prostaglandin analog **. Sold in US only. Allergan dispenses Lumigen in Europe and Asia, identical in composition but prescribed mainly for glaucoma patients.
- $120 .By prescription only.4 week supply. Dispensed in Physician offices.
NeuLash by Skin Research Laboratories
- Claim: Transform dry brittle lashes. Improves overall health and condition of lashes. Creates optimal environment for growth
- Ingredients: Peptides, Provitamin B5, biotin, Pumpkin seed extract amino acids biotin hyaluronic acid, New formula without Isopropyl cloprostenate (IPC).
- Other/Buying info: Celebrity endorsements. Not much clinical support. Had problems because included IPC and never reported. Recently removed from formulation.
- $95 Online. 6week supply
- Claim: Conditioning moisturizing and strengthening serum. Improves the overall appearance of eyelashes and eyebrows.
- Ingredients: Peptides, Sodium Hyaluronate,Biotin, Panthenol, Glycosaminoglycans, Allantoin, Cucurbita, and Licorice extract. New formulations without Isopropyl cloprostenate!
- Other/ buying info: Valid Ingredient list with good price. Little clinical validation behind claims but good consumer ratings
- $50 Retailers, Websites
Marini Lash by Jan Marini
- Claim: Conditions, prevents premature breakage, giving better volume and texture.
- Ingredients: Peptides, biotin vitamin B12, copper, panthenol, folic acid white tea leaf and cinnamon bark extract.
- Other/Buying info: Lots of clinical research but Low concentration of peptides.
- Claim: Grow long thick full lashes. Beauty meets science philosophy.
- Ingredients: Peptides, Sodium hyaluronate, folic acid, biotin, amino acids
- Other/Buying Info: Money back guarantee. Can also use on eyebrows.
- $98 Retailers, Online
MD Lash Factor by Dr Susan Lin
- Claim: Longer, denser lashes in 4 weeks using non prostaglandinformula.(53% increase)
- Ingredients: Copper peptide technology, biotin, sodium lactate, sodium PCA
- Other/Buying info: Created by physician using medically validated Cu peptide technology. Like products with prostaglandin ingredients, can cause skin and iris darkening.
- $100-140. Cilnics, Online
MaxoLash by Dermagevity Cosmeceuticals
- Claims: Natural, non-irritating formula to promote healthier and fuller-looking brows.
- Ingredients: Protein complex and vitamins hyaluronic acid, ProVitamin B5
- Other/ Buying info: Unlike most lash enhancers, wear like mascara.
- 100% Natural, No Parabens, No preservative, No irritation
- $79 Online
Tarte Multiple EYE Lash Enhancer by Tarte
- Claim: A natural lash enhancer that increases the appearance of lashes.
- Ingredients: Plant Peptides, protein emulsion, amino acids, and vitamin C.
- Other/Buying info: All natural but may cause irritation in some with sensitive skin
- $65 Sephora,Online
- Claim: Lengthening day mascara and lash-boosting serum for night. Claim to have similar results to expensive treatment serums.
- Ingredients: Fortifying amino acids, panthenol, ceramide and centella asiatica extract.
- Other/Buying info: Economical conditioning and strengthening system. Won’t grow lashes but support health.
- $20 Drugstores, Retailers, Online
All these are credible products. Which is right for you depends on your personal philosophy (pro or anti medicines, doctor vs spa dispensed ect.), where you live and your pocket-book. I personally have tried M2 Beaute on one eye (while leaving the other untreated) and was amazed at the results. I also love Jan Marini products and believe in the restoration properties of the copper peptide technology (MD Lash Factor). And for those who just want to treat their lashes with a little extra love without breaking their pocket book….L’Oreals product seems like the obvious choice. Most products are applied once daily above the upper lash line. Click on the product name for more details. Below you have ingredient info to help you understand how each help you get the most of your lashes.
Lash Enhancing Ingredient Glossary: The Key Players
The Ones that Enhance Growth: Prostaglandin analogs, Polypeptides, Copper Peptides
- Prostaglandin Analogs– Bimatoprost, Isopropyl Cloprostenate and MDN. Prostaglandin derivatives which have been clinically studied and proven to increase eyelash growth. This effect found by accident by glaucoma patients who were prescribed this to treat their medical condition. Naturally we can produce prostaglandins only if we assure we have enough fatty acids, omega 3’s and omega 6’s. Like all medications the drawback is risk of side effects. Although rare prostaglandin analogs can be linked to any of the following: discoloration of the eye lid skin or even iris (may change blue or green eyes to brown), an itchy or burning sensation affecting the eyes, dryness of the eyes or watery eyes, dizzy sensation or general feeling that something is in the eye.
- Peptides– Increase eye lash growth by stimulating keratin (the protein of hair) production for longer thicker lashes. Also linked to promoting collagen production therefore supporting structure of hair follicles creating ideal new hair growth environment.
- Copper peptides– Peptides with additional anti-inflammatory properties which promote wound healing and overall skin health. By inhibiting the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can prevent age related hair thinning and loss. Also can enhance health of hair follicles so can grow healthier thicker hair. Precaution when combining with Vitamin C products as both can cause skin irritation, especially in combination.
Peptides are the preferred growth enhancers by purists who believe them to be a more natural way to stimulate growth without side effects of drug controlled ingredients such as those derived from prostaglandins. However, more clinical data has shown effectiveness of prostaglandin sources in stimulating hair growth.
Health and Beauty Enhancers:
The following ingredients promote the ideal environment for best quality lashes to grow and reach their optimal growth potential. They may also contribute to repairing damaged lashes.
- Allantoin– A plant-based ingredient to help sooth calm and protect lash skin.
- Alphalfa extract– A great protein source that conditions and increases metabolism to promote lash skin healing.
- L-Arginine– An amino acid (building block of protein) which has several added beneficial effects including waste elimination, creatinine production (muscle-building), and causing vasodilation of blood vessels or improved circulation. This benefit of improved circulation in theory is thought to help with tissue repair, circulatory related issues (heart and other vascular diseases) and in skin related issues and hair loss.
- Biotin (Vitamin B7)-Promotes faster hair growth and stronger, less brittle hair. Also helps prolong hair growth phase and delay shedding. Vitamin B7 is necessary for metabolism of amino acids (building blocks of protein). Without deficiency, hair loss is inevitable.
- Calcium– Enzyme activator which linked to stronger hair follicles. Works with Copper to promote eyelash growth.
- Centella Asiatica– Herb used in African, Indian and Chinese Medicine for improved circulation benefits. Thought to stimulate hair and nail growth. No clinical studies exist to support use for any condition.
- Cinnamon Extract– Prevents hair breakage and reduces hair loss. Stimulates skin and hair follicles to improve circulation and promote healthy hair growth.
- Folic Acid– Aids in red blood cell production and therefore proper circulation and metabolic function of healthy cells. Folic acid has been linked as a key player in healthy hair growth and therefore in eyelash health and growth
- Glycols– Used as vehicles to deliver active ingredients into the skin where can work. Problem is that they leave skin greasy and make difficult to apply make up after. May also cause irritation to some sensitive skins
- Hyaluronic acid– Promote hydration to eyelashes so that they are more resistant to breakage and environmental aggressors.
- Hydrolyzed glycosaminglycan (GAG)- Moisture binder and ensures greater elasticity, flexibility and strength.
- Licorice extract- Contains calming and brightening properties to shield against irritation and redness. Helps soothe and brighten the eye area.
- Olive. Emu or Castor Oil– These oils condition hair to protect and nurture hair growth, health and shine.
- Pathenol (ProVitamin B5)- Coats the lashes and brows and seal in moisture and nourishment for improved overall appearance Strengthen eyelashes allowing them to reach maximum growth potential. Promotes flexibility and durability. Soothes and calms the skin.
- Protein complex – Since hair in general is made up of proteins (keratin to be specific). Supplementing with protein assures we have what we need to grow strong thick hair.
- Pumpkin Seed Extract– Contains fatty oils with linoleic and oleic acid. Excellent source of vitamin A, B6 and C. Also contains zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron and a unique amino acid, cucurbitin which can help in balancing hormones. This function on hormone mediation has shown positive on hair growth.
- Resveratrol– Potent polyphenol antioxidant found naturally in red wine (grapes), peanuts, pine trees and plants. Has anti- inflammatory properties which are beneficial to skin and hair health. Since premature hair loss linked to inflammatory injury to hair follicle, resveratrol has been shown to help prevent loss ad stimulate regrowth of injured follicles.
- Sodium Hyaluronate– Moisturizing and protective skin agent derived from hyaluronic acid that because of its smaller size can penetrate skin easier and therefore ideal component of topical skin products.
- Vitamin A– Another powerful antioxidant is responsible for new cell growth and generating keratin (the protein which hair is composed of).
- Vitamin C and E – These can help increase circulation for ideal growth environment. Vitamin C and help form collagen to provide structure and support for eyelash growth. Vitamin E protects hair from free radicals (environmental stressors and is also vital in helping repair and heal damaged, dry and spit hair).
- White tea leaf extract– Antioxidant promoting health skin environment. Promotes ideal hair structure and strength.
Although fake lashes and dramatic mascaras can mask unhealthy appearing lashes, their effects are temporary and many times appear unnatural. In addition they dont treat the source of the problem, are costly and may even damage your lashes further! Its important to be aware of what IS good for your lashes and how you can invest wisely in their beautification!
I hope this guide helps empower you to start picking better products for your eyelash health. Remember if you are going to pick between a slower process of healing and restructuring, or just the instant flash superficial fix-up…..always invest in core health practices and the beauty will follow naturally!