Everyone wants to go to the extreme to look beautiful. Jessica Rabbit lashes seem to be the length to beat. Celebs seem to magically roll out of bed and onto the red carpet with perpetually elongated masterpieces. Their secret, however, seems to be out: lash growth enhancers are so hot and so 2009! With promises of longer, fuller lashes, what's not to love? With budgets tightening, however, are these pricey new finds worth the splurge or will lash glue and a wand's worth of DiorShow do?
If your eyes truly are the windows to your soul, it seems only fitting that you'd want the curtains to those portholes to look extra nice. While Tammy Faye Bakker might have had it all wrong with miles of goopy mascara and fake lashes that cramped every inch of her crowded lids, she did know the best way to get noticed. She wanted everyone to recognize her and did so by decorating her blinds with the same gusto as you would a Christmas tree.
Your lashes are your eye's calling cards. They frame your face’s most important feature and the way you wear them lets people know what kind of mood you're in. Long and dark = mysterious and sexy. Thick and full = Flirty yet coy. Winged and curled = Dramatic and spontaneous. It’s no secret the finishing touch to any look is a swipe of mascara or securely attaching your favorite pair of fakies.
In fact the world wide annual expenditure on mascara alone is more than $5 billion. That money is spent on tubes that will only temporarily enhance your eye's appearance. More recently there’s been a boom in lash growth formulas that guarantee a more permanent, naturally longer and thicker look.
Among the most popular brands are Revitalash and Latisse but there's no shortage of other names popping up with their own concoctions. Peter Thomas Roth, tarte and FusionBeauty are some of the other labels vying for the attention of consumers. With so many products out there promising longer lashes it’s hard to know what really works. Beauty hubs are stocked with products claiming you'll have Bambi lengtheners but which brands are worth the money and most popular? How do they actually work and how can we compare them in value, effectiveness and longevity with our tried and true methods? Are these products safe to use and what are the side effects? Furthermore, is it best to invest in one of these new solutions or skip it and settle for five dollar fakes and your favorite mascara?
Lash Lengthening Boom:
Eye doctors had been regularly noting the side effects of some of the drugs used to treat patients with Glaucoma-a debilitating eye disease. Patients using certain medications to treat the disease consistently grew long lush lashes.
Revitalash was developed two years ago by an ophthalmologist for his wife whose lashes were damaged after intensive chemotherapy. What he developed worked so well that soon after it hit the market, people were clamoring for the wonder-tube.
Latisse was developed by Allergan; a company that produced the drug Lumigan, eye drops to help control the progression of Glaucoma. Allergan then began developing a formula, renamed Latisse, strictly for cosmetic use which was the first of its kind to receive FDA approval (last December). Bimatoprost is the active ingredient in the formulation of Latisse. It's a synthetic but natural-like compound or prostaglandin that is believed to stimulate the enzymes in your hair follicles, causing growth. Essentially, Bimatoprost are like seeds that when spread not only helps flowers to grow but also help the soil they're in to be extra fertile. Unlike other products available, you need a prescription to buy Latisse-a comfort to some and pain to others.
In discussing popularity, reliability and visibility Revitalash (skinstore.com) and Latisse (latisse.com to find a doctor near you) come out as clear favorites. Both were developed by medical professionals, have been tested the most and are most popular with consumers.
In fact, Allergan’s chief executive predicted that the long-term worldwide sales of Latisse should exceed $500 million. While Revitalash’s Marketing team declined to discuss their annual profits, the buzz on the product is palpable.
Others have also developed lash stimulants. Here are our favorites:
The MultiplEye Lash Enhancer by tarte ($65, sephora.com) is great. NYC based, Celebrity makeup artist, Beau Nelson says actress Lindsay Price loves the way the affordable, chicly-packaged product makes her lashes look.
$65.00 by Tarte at Sephora
Peter Thomas Roth's Lashes to Die For ($125, Sephora) offers a three month supply and promises longer, fuller lashes. The conditioner uses Vitamins A, C, E and B5 to increase hair growth.
Peter Thomas Roth Lashes To Die For Night Time Eyelash Conditioning Treatment
$125.00 by Peter Thomas Roth at Sephora
These boosters work by taking the brush-like applicator and lining it along the bottom of your lash line on a nightly basis.
For Revitalash a thickener keeps the solution from dripping or getting in your eye while Latisse provides disposable applicator to make things neat and easy.
Revitalash takes six weeks before you see any results. Put it on once a day for two months and then 2-3 times a week after that. Jacquie Champagne, a cosmetics boutique manager from Boston, said she saw a significant difference after a month. “My lashes have grown so much longer and darker that I don’t feel like I need to wear mascara. People ask me all the time if I've gotten eyelash extensions", she says.
With Americans spending almost $1.3 billion on mascara alone last year, the idea of someone feeling like they don’t need to wear mascara seems almost unthinkable.
It may take a little longer for the results to show while using Latisse, which asks patients to apply it by lining the lid at the base of the eyelashes with an applicator, but show they will. A clinical test done by the company and approved by the FDA showed that eyelashes grew 25 percent longer, 106 percent thicker and 18 percent darker while using the drug after sixteen weeks.
While Revitalash does not make any such guaranties they do have a strong following, especially among celebrities (Paula Abdul, Fergie and Rihanna to name a few). Hannah Murray, the company’s VP of Marketing, says celebrities love the product because of its effectiveness.
Latisse also has a strong star backing in the brand’s spokesperson, Brooke Shields. Nelson who also works with Shields told us how much she loves the product. While the gorgeous star is naturally striking, the formula has made her lashes grow in only a month and the difference is significant. “Her lashes look absolutely incredible”, Nelson says.
Launch Party for LATISSE - Arrivals
Side Effects and Safety
While none of these products have been on the market for that long, both have been poked and prodded by researchers.
Since both treatments use a variant of the same solutions to treat Glaucoma, there is a risk of experiencing some of the side effects those patients encounter. Red eyes, itching, a darkening of the eyelids and possibly the iris color are some of the possible results. After testing, Allergan did note about 3 percent of the patients experienced itching and red eyes but no one in the 100,000 people tested experienced a change in their iris color.
Dr. Leslie Baumann, Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at the University of
Miami, says that after seeing such dramatic results (and no problems) in her patients, she started using Revitalash for herself. She did note, however, that since the compounds in Revitalash have changed (due to the rights Latisse has on using Bimatoprost, Revitalash has had to alter their solution to something similar but different) she now prefers Latisse. There has been a rare report of patients using Glaucoma drops experiencing a swelling of the retina, which blurs the vision. This, however, is extremely uncommon and usually encountered by people with pre-existing eye conditions.
Budget Friendly or Splurge Worthy?
Pain is beauty and it’s kind of a pain to part with dollars right now…unless it’s worth it. Revitalash is $150 but lasts for six months. So it ends up being about $25 per month. Latisse is $120 for a one month supply but, unfortunately you don’t usually see full results till 4 months of use, so it’s more than the initial investment. Think of it, though, as the equivalent of buying a cup of coffee every day and the money you’ll save on mascara replenishment.
Others range from $65 to $140 so either way you're gonna be plucking down cash.
Formulas or Fakes?
These treatments can be used with fake eyelashes and mascara. Nelson says if you’re not up for taking these tools out for a ride, try drugstore brand fake eyelashes (4.99, drugstores) and heavy mascara like YSL Faux Cils ($28.50, sephora.com) or L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara, ($7.49, drugstores). You’ll achieve the sultry drama you want and both mascaras don't smudge and look great on everyone.
$28.50 by Yves Saint Laurent at Sephora
Avoid eyelash extensions. Some users complained that the heaviness of the fake lashes became uncomfortable. Others said their eyes felt irritable and maintaining the look every month is far too costly (sometimes $400 an application).
There are plenty of options out there to create a look that screams sexy and hot! The resources are out there, it’s just a matter of deciding which avenue suits you best.