How Do Eyelash Growth Serums Work?

by Véronique Raymond
How Does Eyelash Growth Serum Work?

Eyelash growth serums are products that people use in order to achieve longer, thicker, and/or fuller lashes.

It is an excellent replacement for eyelash extensions, since it will mimic the look naturally with a little bit of time and effort.

There are two methods of application; one works exactly like mascara and will be brushed through the lashes, and the other style is similar to eyeliner application with a brush across the lash line.

It is therefore easy for everyone to apply the serum effectively. Let’s get into how these serums actually work to achieve the results people crave.

How Does Eyelash Growth Serum Work?

Is Eyelash Growth Serum the Same as Eyelash Conditioner?

Growth serums and lash conditioners are NOT the same product. They contain different ingredients and are designed for different purposes. Conditioners are used for the same purpose as conditioner for your hair: moisturizing and protecting the hair from breakage and other damage.

Makeup products can often dry out or damage your lashes; using a conditioner can help repair and prevent that damage since it will hydrate and protect your lash line.

Lash serums, on the other hand, are designed for enhancing growth. They can make your eyelashes longer, thicker, and initiate the growth from more follicles to create a fuller lash.

If you struggle with every aspect of your eyelashes, using these two product types in combination is an excellent idea.

It is important to note, however, that most products marketed as growth serums are actually just really effective conditioners that mimic the effects of a true lash growth serum.

Ingredients In Eyelash Growth Serum and How They Create Fuller Lashes

Unless you are using a prescription growth serum like Latisse, there will not be an active ingredient that directly influences the growth of the lash.

Latisse contains a synthetic hormone called bimatoprost that improves lash growth, and since that hormone is a pharmaceutical agent, it requires a prescription for use.

However, the ingredients in over-the-counter brands do a pretty good job of improving lash appearance and health without that active ingredient.

Every over-the-counter brand of lash conditioner/serum will have a different ingredient list. They can vary quite considerably as well, which is why it is a good idea to try a few different brands if you aren’t seeing the results you expected or you have an adverse reaction to the ingredients in one of them.

There are a certain group of ingredients that are included in almost every lash growth serum, so we’ll discuss those ingredients first. Amino acids such as arginine are one of the main ingredients in these serums, and they help build healthy hair follicles and maintain the appearance of each hair.

This helps prevent the lashes from looking sparse or thin. Peptides are also included in the formulation in order to provide a nourishing effect to lashes as they grow.

Biotin is another popular ingredient that strengthens keratin, thereby improving the health of each individual lash, and this is usually the main active ingredient providing noticeable effects in over-the-counter models.

Some ingredients that aren’t quite as important are ceramides and panthenol. Panthenol is a hydrating agent that can help prevent breakage, and ceramides help lock in moisture to ensure that hydration is long lasting.

Vitamin B5 is another ingredient you may see, but it is the same as panthenol. Seed extracts may also be used in certain formulations, as well as oils such as castor oil, for nourishing effects.

Castor oil can even be applied on its own to enhance the look of natural lashes, but it is more user-friendly when combined within a serum.

Most of these ingredients will be most effective during the anagen phase of eyelash growth, since this is when each hair is actively growing.

Protecting and nourishing the lashes at this stage helps prevent breakage, which is why the serums are effective at producing longer lashes.

Some serums will contain ingredients that shorten the telogen phase of lash growth, which reduces the amount of time a lash spends in the rest phase and returns the follicle to growth faster.


How Long Does It Take?

Depending on the formulation in your lash serum and how often you use it, you can begin to see noticeable results in as little as two weeks.

Some serums will take longer than others to work, but no matter what, you should be seeing real progress in hair growth within a few months.

If you don’t notice any improvements with your eyelash enhancing serum within this time frame, you’ll need to choose a different brand.

How Safe Is Lash Growth Serum?

Since lash growth serum is applied very close to your eye, the safety of the serums is a valid concern that many users will have at first.

It is important for you to know that all lash serums are designed to be as safe as possible. However, as with all beauty products, there is always the chance that your body may not tolerate the components in the product.

Ingredients in serums include proteins, biotin, amino acids, small peptides and polypeptides, vitamins, oils, prostaglandin, and more.

Any of these compounds can cause irritation and adverse reactions, but most people will not experience any side effects.

While lash serums are generally safe, there are some precautions you can take to ensure you don’t have a bad experience. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Avoid using the serum while wearing contacts. Remove your contacts and wait for 15 minutes at least before putting them back in after applying the serum.
  2. Consult your doctor if you are being treated for glaucoma, as your medications can alter the effects of the serum.
  3. Don’t allow the applicator to touch any surface other than the solution in the bottle and the site of application on your lash line.
  4. Avoid use entirely if you have any existing eye conditions such as uveitis, conjunctivitis, or macular edema.
  5. Be consistent with your skincare routine so you are always applying serum to clean lashes.
  6. Perform a spot test on a patch of skin away from the eyes to rule out allergy.

How Does Eyelash Growth Serum Work?

Side Effects Of Lash Growth Serum

Some common side effects of growth serums include red, dry, or itchy eyes, and localized swelling in the area of application.

Other side effects can include discoloration/darkening of the skin on your eyelid and even allergic reactions. All of these side effects will disappear if you discontinue use of the product.

The only potential side effect that may be permanent is the appearance of brown pigment on the iris, but this is not very common and is primarily seen with use of prescription serums rather than over-the-counter brands.

Prescription vs. Over-The-Counter Serums

Most lash serums available in today’s market are over-the-counter models. This means you can purchase them from any store with beauty products such as Sephora, or even from online retailers such as Amazon.

Popular over-the-counter serums include GrandeLASH, an md-lash enhancing serum, RapidLash, and an all-natural, vegan-friendly serum known as Lashfood.

Over-the-counter brands will not be quite as effective as prescription serums and may take longer to produce results, but their formulas will also be safer, especially for those with sensitive skin.

Most brands will be dermatologist-recommended, so you know they are trustworthy. The first, and only, prescription serum on the market is called Latisse, and it is the only product that includes an ingredient proven to boost lash growth.

Latisse Explained

Believe it or not, the creation of growth serums was an accident, not a planned alternative to lash extensions. Individuals being treated for glaucoma with a drug called bimatoprost (Lumigan) noticed a surprising side effect: their eyelashes grew longer.

The active ingredient causing this change was prostaglandin analog, so the drug-makers took that ingredient and designed a prescription serum targeted at improving the growth phase of existing eyelashes and activating the growth cycle in hair follicles that were not currently growing a hair.

Latisse was the first FDA-approved treatment for people with inadequate lash growth, and it remains the only prescription-strength serum on the market.


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