I could not pay attention to anything of my friend the brunch table said. I was too distracted by the long, enviable, Bambi-like eyelashes fluttering in front of me. “I hope it’s okay to ask, but your eyelashes…are they”—but before I could finish, she whispered it as a secret, “Latisse.” Since its FDA approval in 2008, the Allergan product has been the gold standard for how to grow longer eyelashes. (I’ll never forget them Brook Shields commercials.)
“Latisse’s active ingredient is bimatoprost, a prostaglandin analogue that has been shown in clinical studies to make eyelashes grow longer, thicker and darker,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. “It works by extending the time the follicle remains in the growth phase.”
But even 15 years later, Latisse is still only available by prescription. So for anyone looking for alternatives, we asked Dr. Kong how to get longer eyelashes. In return, she responded with all the tips, secrets, products, serums, treatments and natural remedies.
Selected image of Blue-green Thomsen.
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The best eyelash growth serums
Hands down, the best option is Latisse. But if you want to try something over-the-counter, eyelash serums from brands like GrandeLASH and Dr. Lara Devgan regularly gets good reviews.
Another option for over the counter eyelash growth
Although Dr. King generally warns against over-the-counter cosmetics that are advertised to increase the length and fullness of eyebrows and eyelashes (their effectiveness has not been critically evaluated), if you use a product, be sure to apply them to a completely cleansed lash line with an equally clean brush.
“Latisse provides single-use applicator brushes because this is the safest way to ensure minimal risk of bacterial or fungal contamination and infection,” says Dr. The king takes note.
The dermatologist points out another promising option, although the potential side effects may outweigh the benefits.
Based on a 2012 Journal of Dermatology study, “Rogaine appears to increase eyebrow growth modestly and is comparable to Latisse,” says Dr. King, who notes that a subsequent investigation concluded that Rogaine can be a safe and effective treatment for eyebrows.
“However, Rogaine often causes irritation when applied to the scalp, and the eyelid skin area is generally more sensitive, so this is also possible when used on eyelashes,” she adds. “Side effects of applying Rogaine to the eyebrow area include burning, dryness, itching, redness, and peeling.”
Go the all-natural route
Want to completely avoid chemicals and the Sephora post? A potential eyelash growth aid can probably be found somewhere in your home. Vitamin-dense products like aloe vera gels, olive oiland green tea can supposedly help grow strong, long lashes, while moisturizers like shea butter and coconut oil nourishes strands and prevents breakage.
But the most prominent home remedy to stimulate eyelash growth is wheel oil. And while no studies have been able to prove that castor oil causes hair growth, it certainly can’t hurt.
“Castor oil is not harmful to the hair and can provide some conditioning that improves the flexibility of hair fibers. Castor oil has also been shown in one study to increase hair shine,” says Dr. King.
Consider a Lash Lift or Perm
The trendy treatment has all the durability of eyelash extensions without harmful adhesives. Plus, it cuts down on the use of potentially harmful curling devices. (Even Camille is a lash lift regular.)
Protect your eyelashes
It doesn’t matter how much attention and care (or money) you put into your lashes if you don’t take preventative measures to keep them healthy.
- Remove mascara before bed so your lashes don’t break off on your pillow.
- Speaking of pillows, consider a silk pillowcase for less tilt-compromising friction.
- Limit the use of false eyelashes or eyelash extensions, as adhesives can weaken the eyelashes and cause breakage.
- Brush out your eyelashes regularly to distribute natural oils.
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of protein, iron, and biotin.
- Try a solid hair growth supplement (that extends to eyebrows and eyelashes). Nutrifol is nutritionist-approved.
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