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Why You Need An Eyelash Serum (And The Best Lash Growth Serums That Actually Work)


Forbes posted "Why You Need An Eyelash Serum (And The Best Lash Growth Serums That Actually Work)" and features Visha Skincare founder, Dr. Purvisha Patel's expert commentary on how lash serums work, if they’re safe for everyone, and her top picks.

Raise your hand if you'd like to have fuller, flutterier lashes. Now, raise your hand if you want to achieve that without using falsies or eyelash extensions (come on, I can't be the only one!). Turns out, there is a way to get doe-like lashes for real. Enter: Lash growth serums.

First things first, are eyelash serums worth the hype?

If you're a brow-raising skeptic like me, you might wonder if these fancy little tubes that promise to give you Bambi-like lashes are actually worth the hype? The short answer is: Yes.

Various factors like genetics, aging and menopause often result in hormonal imbalances that cause thinning of the hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, says Dr. Dean Vistnes, Bay Area-based plastic surgeon and Medical Director at SkinSpirit. "Rough treatment around the eyelashes such as vigorous scrubbing while removing your makeup can also result in the loss of eyelashes over time," adds Dr. Vistnes. Now, this is where lash growth serums step in to save the day (err, lashes). Packed with hydrating and growth-stimulating ingredients like vitamins and peptides, eyelash serums help boost the volume, length and overall health of your lashes over time.

How do lash growth serums work?

"Eyelash growth serums work to hydrate and condition your lash hair as well as stimulate the lash hair follicle to grow by keeping the follicle in the telogen (i.e growth) phase," explains Michigan-based board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Fatima Fahs.

In addition, lash serums also contain peptides that specifically act on the skin cells of lashes to create a healthier foundation and boost volume, says Dr. Purvisha Patel, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare.

However, it's important to note that not all eyelash serums are created equal. "Most over the counter lash growth serums work by conditioning the lashes—allowing them to appear more hydrated and volumized— but may not contribute to actual growth," notes Dr. Fahs. If you're looking specifically for a growth-inducing serum, check the ingredient list for bimatoprost, isopropyl cloprostenate or some other prostaglandin analog—a group of fatty acid compounds that extend the phase of hair growth," explains Dr. Fahs.

Some OTC lash serums also contain biotin—a B vitamin—that helps eyelashes grow longer and thicker and stimulates the growth of additional lash follicles, adds Dr. Patel. 

And how long does it take to see the results?

"Because it takes time for eyelashes to grow, it will usually take about eight weeks of regular application for lashes to appear noticeably longer, thicker and darker," says Dr. Vistnes. "Once you are in 'maintenance' mode, you can usually get away with using the serum four nights per week rather than every night. However, consistency is the key," he adds.

Lastly, are eyelash serums safe for everyone?

Short answer: No, not everyone.

"Lash serums should not be used by those with skin allergies or sensitive skin," tells Dr. Patel. "Even though they are applied on the lashes, they can irritate the skin of the lash line," she explains. Besides, if you have a history of increased eye pressure in the eye exam, using prostaglandin or its derivatives can be harmful as it can result in acute blindness, adds Dr. Patel.

Even if you don't have the conditions mentioned above, keep in mind that some lash serums may cause irritation. "So if you develop itching, burning or redness, you should discontinue use immediately," says Dr. Fahs. Also, note that "prostaglandin analogs can cause darkening (hyperpigmentation) of the eyelid skin as well as darken the eye (iris) color, especially in those with hazel or green eyes," tells the dermatologist. While the issue of eyelid pigmentation usually resolves after discontinuing the use of the serum, darkening of eye color may not, notes the skin specialist.

Besides, "always apply the serum to clean, dry lashes," advises Dr. Patel. And lastly, "be careful where you are applying the serum as unwanted hair growth on the face may occur," warns Dr. Fahs.

The best serums for fuller, longer lashes

Now, are you ready to get the lashes of your dreams? Good! Here are six expert-approved eyelash serums to try:

RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner ($150)

Both Dr. Vistnes and Dr. Fahs recommend this lash growth serum. Formulated with the brand's proprietary BioPeptin complex, this lash growth serum conditions and strengthens your lashes while shielding them from environmental damage. "It works similar to Latisse, but also offers the extra component of creating a natural curl in the growth pattern of the lashes," tells Dr. Vistnes. What's more, even Meghan Markle swears by this ophthalmologist-developed serum. Need I say more?

GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum 2mL ($65)

Dr. Patel swears by this cult-favorite serum that's enriched with lash-enhancing ingredients such as peptides, vitamins and amino acids. Its ophthalmologist-tested, cruelty-free formula promises to give you naturally longer and fuller-looking lashes in just three months.

RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum ($49.95) 

Both Dr. Patel and Dr. Fahs recommend this award-winning lash growth serum. Packed with potent ingredients like biotin, panthenol, amino acids and polypeptides, this ophthalmologist-tested serum conditions and fortifies your lashes while boosting their growth and appearance. And the best part? You can use it on your brows too—so you can achieve both lush brows and lashes in one go.

LASHFOOD Phyto-Medic Eyelash Enhancing Serum ($78)

Recommended by Dr. Fahs, this vegan and organic lash-enhancing serum is loaded with amino acids, soy protein and the brand's proprietary blend of herbal extracts that strengthen and nourish sparse lashes while promoting lash regrowth. The Ecocert-certified serum is formulated without harmful chemicals like sulfates, parabens and phthalates. Plus, it promises to deliver noticeable results in four to twelve weeks.

vegaLash Volumizing Serum ($59.95) 

Vegamour's bestselling lash enhancer features a cocktail of clinically-tested plant actives that feed intense hydration to sparse, brittle lashes and stimulate lash regrowth in as little as 30 days.

Envious Lashes Lash Conditioning Serum ($45)

Created by celebrity eyelash expert, Clementina Richardson, this eyelash conditioner is suitable for those who already have lush, healthy lashes and want to keep 'em that way. Formulated with natural ingredients, this intensely nourishing lash conditioner feeds hydration to eyelashes that need some TLC, giving you soft, supple and stronger lashes.

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