Posted by Bridget Reed on 27 October, 2022
You want long, luscious, fluttery lashes naturally, but sometimes nature just doesn’t cooperate. It happens. You’re left asking what you can do to give nature a hand.
You might’ve seen ads for lash serum, or maybe you heard your favorite beauty vlogger give a review of her faves. A miracle liquid that can give you perfect lashes sounds too good to be true, but you might be surprised! Lashify® is here to investigate.
What Is Eyelash Serum?
Eyelash enhancing serum is a highly concentrated cocktail of oils, proteins, vitamins, and other ingredients designed to stimulate the hair follicles that make up your lash line to produce healthier (read: thicker and longer) lashes. It’s like a powerful vitamin taken directly to the lashes.
Different brands of lash serum contain different ingredients, and not all brands have the same quality of standards. With one exception, eyelash serums are not approved or regulated by the FDA. Since there really aren’t any regulations or even industry standards for this product, it’s left up to consumers like you to diligently check the ingredient list of any lash serum you consider buying.
Many view eyelash serums as an alternative to eyelash extensions, but it may be more constructive to view them as a precursor to extensions. Serum and extensions shouldn’t be used in tandem because the oil in the serum may disrupt the bond of the lash extension.
However, spending a few months using a lash serum to strengthen your lashes prior to getting extensions may improve your eyelash extension experience because the falsies will have stronger, thicker lashes to bond to.
Eyelash serum works by targeting two specific phases of the eyelash’s growth cycle. In those phases, the serum works to extend the life of individual lashes through follicle stimulation and hydration.
What Is an Eyelash’s Growth Cycle?
The typical eyelash growth cycle lasts roughly 90 days. Not all of your lashes are at the same point in the cycle. In fact, it would be very unfortunate if they were because it would mean your eyelashes would all fall out in unison every 90 days, and how strange would that be? Let’s take a moment to be grateful we don’t live in that world.
Each individual lash is somewhere different in its growth journey. There are three phases to your eyelash growth cycle.
The anagen phase is the growth phase. This is the part of the cycle where lash growth serum can get to work with stimulation.
During the anagen phase, most serums use peptides to stimulate the hair follicle, prompting greater hair growth. Serums that work during the anagen phase can help you achieve longer lashes.
During the catagen phase, the lash is fully grown. It has reached the maximum length and maximum diameter, so think of this as the maintenance phase. Here, it’s your job to keep the lash hydrated, nourished, and clean so it can live a longer life.
This is the phase that nourishing and hydrating ingredients were included to assist. The more you can slow down this phase of the cycle, the longer you’ll maintain your healthy lashes. Serums that work during the catagen phase can help you achieve fuller lashes.
This phase marks the rebirth of your lash. The lash falls off naturally (make a wish!), and the hair follicle gets set to begin the cycle anew. Think of this as the recharge phase.
The beautiful thing about a cycle is that it means there’s never a bad time to start.
Does Eyelash Serum Benefit My Natural Lashes?
Yes! However, “benefit” does not necessarily mean “makes everyone’s lashes longer and fuller like magic.” Eyelash growth serum might help you develop longer or fuller lashes, but there’s no way to 100% guarantee it.
What lash serums do promise, though, is to benefit the overall health of your natural lashes by keeping them saturated in nutrients and moisturizers. Even some improvement in lash health is a benefit. However, some serums have ingredients that can be harmful to your eyes, so it’s worth checking out that ingredient list before you make any purchases.
When you ask, “Does lash serum really work?” try to specify what you mean by “work.” How do you want it to work for you? Set goals for your lashes. If you want healthier lashes, then yes, some options really work! If you want longer and noticeably fuller lashes, some brands may work, others may not, or over-the-counter lash serum may just not work for you at all.
Remember, your lashes’ growth cycle is 90 days, so it generally takes at least 90 days of consistent use to see results. Consistency is key.
Who Should Use Eyelash Serum?
If you’re keeping your lash line and eye area clean, not picking at your lashes, and still experiencing excess or constant breakage of your natural lashes, lash serum might be a great tool for you to improve lash health.
You may be thinking, “This sounds amazing, is there anyone who should not use a lash serum?” There are several people who should not use a lash serum. First, anyone with sensitive skin or known allergies to cosmetics might want to avoid a lash serum. Lash serum may cause inflammation, itching, or allergic reactions.
People who are pregnant or under 18 should not use lash serums that contain parabens or prostaglandin analogs. If you experience glaucoma, or increased pressure in the eyes, as diagnosed by a medical professional, you should not use lash serums because they may cause acute blindness.
If none of the above applies to you, and you’ve decided lash serum is for you, then good news: it’s super easy to apply. It’s just like mascara: use a spoolie or an included applicator, depending on your brand, and swipe it along your upper lash line and across your lashes.
When Shopping for Lash Serum, Which Ingredients Are Good and Bad?
No matter what cosmetic you’re purchasing, you should always read the label.
First of all, you obviously want to keep an eye out for toxins and other icks you want to keep away from your face. You also want to make sure you’re getting a product that can do the most! Here are some rockstar ingredients you want to find in a lash serum before you add it to the cart.
The Good Stuff
Keratin is a structural protein. It’s the primary building block of hair and nails (and feathers and horns and claws and scales … ), so without keratin, you literally wouldn’t have any eyelashes. Luckily, your body naturally produces keratin; the keratin in the lash serum is supplemental.
In lash serum, this vitamin is most commonly present in the form of panthenol, which is a great moisturizing agent.
AKA vitamin B7. This is the stuff that gives your lashes strength. It helps make the individual lash fibers thicker and more resistant to breakage. Notably, the absence of vitamin B7 in the body often results in thinning hair and hair loss.
Your body normally gets this vitamin from foods, like legumes, sweet potatoes, avocados, nuts, mushrooms, and eggs. Getting more biotin in your diet can help strengthen your hair and your nails as well as your lashes.
This might sound strange. For many people, “castor oil” conjures up images of cosmetics from the back of your grandma’s cabinet, but hear us out.
Castor oil has been a go-to remedy for hair loss for literally hundreds of years for good reason. No, it doesn’t aid in the growth phase of your lash cycle, so it won’t make your lashes any longer. However, it’s an amazing moisturizer, and it gives your lashes a healthy, lustrous glow.
Peptides are the molecular building blocks of protein, and polypeptides are really just a chain of peptides. Both of these are good for your lash health.
Amino acids work really hard on the molecular level of your lashes to help repair damage and nourish the roots. Among the amino acids you may find in your lash serum is arginine, which increases your natural production of keratin. We love a team player!
Pumpkin Seed Extract
Pumpkin seed extract is a serious multi-tasker. Not only does it contain a vitamin B complex, but it also acts as a lash conditioner to make your lashes soft and smooth. Eating pumpkin seeds is also a great way to get all your B vitamins, as well as vitamins E and K.
You know it, you love it, you’ve seen it in all the award-winning skin care lines. Hyaluronic acid is a hydration helper extraordinaire.
Similarly, you’ve probably seen collagen before in your skincare routine, especially in products designed for your most delicate skin areas. That’s because collagen increases elasticity. Collagen contains proteins that strengthen the lashes from the inside out. Brittle eyelashes can benefit greatly from added collagen.
Ceramides are lipids, they’re found all over your skin. You probably have heard of them before from your skincare products. They can help you retain the moisture in your lashes too.
In summary, your eyelash growth serum needs some key components: First, you need a stimulator to help your hair follicles run your lashes up to greater lengths. Second, you need protein and vitamins to keep your lashes healthy from the inside. Third, you need a squad of great moisturizers to protect those lashes from breakage. Finally, you need some lipids to lock in that amazing hydration.
The Bad Stuff
Steer clear of isopropyl cloprostenate, a synthetic prostaglandin analog that serves as the active ingredient in many over-the-counter eyelash serums. Essentially, when brands tried to mimic a prescription-strength serum with this ingredient, they found themselves in hot water with the FDA, and most have ceased production due to lengthy lawsuits. Prostaglandin analogs can cause severe side effects, like irritation and hyperpigmentation. Ophthalmologists strongly advise against its use.
As usual, parabens are on the list of dangers in your beauty products. Despite being a common preservative in cosmetics for the past hundred years, many scientific studies have suggested that they are hormone disruptors that can have negative impacts on fertility and reproductive organs. They have also been linked to breast cancer. Parabens build up in your body over time, so avoid them wherever you can.
Where Can I Get Lash Serum?
You can get lash serum anywhere you buy beauty products. Over-the-counter lash serums will work for most people, but if you’ve tried a number of quality brands and still had no luck, it may be time to talk to a board-certified dermatologist.
Your dermatologist may be able to offer you a prescription-strength solution that is FDA-approved. You can’t purchase this product and it’s not meant for everyone, since you need to get a prescription for use.
A prescription option may contain a medicine called bimatoprost, which is mainly used in medication for glaucoma. It’s still somewhat controversial among ophthalmologists, so you may want to consider any preexisting conditions you may have before talking to your doctor about this treatment.
Lash Serum for the Win
Lustrous, healthy lashes should be attainable for everyone — even if you don’t want to use a lash serum. We at Lashify want you to love your lashes, whether you grew them yourself or they came in a case.
Do Lash Serums Work? Two Experts Weigh In | Chatelaine
What Are Parabens, and Why Don’t They Belong in Cosmetics? | Environmental Working Group
Why You Need an Eyelash Serum | Forbes
How to Find the Best Lash Growth Serum | RealSimple
10 Best Eyelash Growth Serums - Products for Longer, Fuller Lashes | Good Housekeeping
What You Should Know About Eyelash Growth Serums | American Academy of Ophthalmology
6 of the best eyelash serums for growth and thickness | Vogue Scandinavia
The Top 10 Biotin-Rich Foods | Healthline
Does Castor Oil Make Eyelashes Grow Longer? | Cosmopolitan
The Lash Serums That Experts Recommend (and Actually Use) | Vogue