The past few years have triggered a lash craze. Just walk down the street and you will see all kinds of women—from teens to seniors—with long, dark, fluttery lashes.
Lush lashes give a youthful appearance and enhance our eyes. “However, as we age, aging hair follicles slow down the production of new lashes, causing them to thin out,” says Chicago-based board-certified plastic surgeon and creator of JF Aesthetic MD Formula skincare Dr. Julius Few.
Available by prescription only, Latisse is one of the most effective products on the market to grow lashes. The FDA-approved eyelash lengthener contains bimatoprost, a drug used to treat glaucoma, and clinical results show that you can double eyelash fullness and darkness in eight to 16 weeks. Latisse is applied like eyeliner with a small brush to the upper lash line once a day. A one-month supply costs $120 and must be used on a daily basis to start working. Once lashes have lengthened, the product can be used every other day to maintain fullness. However, there are side effects such as irritation, dryness, and possible iris color change for those with light-colored eyes.
If you are not ready to commit to a prescription product, but still want glamorous, dark, natural-looking lashes, lash extensions may be the best option. “Even though new mascaras on the market promise to enhance lashes, women just love the convenience of extensions—they wake up and look gorgeous,” says Courtney Akai, owner of Courtney Akai Lash Boutique in New York City. “It is such a time saver, not to mention that unlike mascara, extensions do not clump and they give a much cleaner look than you get with mascara.”
Extensions are customizable and range from high-quality synthetic fibers to mink lashes. Akai explains that lash extensions last through a full growth cycle of natural eyelashes, typically six to eight weeks. “That said, because each person’s lash growth is somewhat variable, I suggest light lash maintenance every three to four weeks to maintain a full look.” The cost for extensions run steep; for a full set at Courtney Akai Lash Boutique, expect to pay $250 to $550; $125 to $225 for a half set.
Makeup companies are cashing in on the long, fluttery lash craze with mascaras that mimic falsies and lash-enhancing serums that condition and strengthen lashes so they don’t fall out as easily.
A new mascara that promises the look of falsies is L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Shocking Extensions Mascara ($9.95). The 200-rubber-bristle brush coats every lash for extreme lengthening and separated volume without any clumps.
To condition lashes and prevent breakage, By Terry Mascara TERRYBLY ($44) contains plant glycoproteins to promote lash growth and collagen and hyaluronic acid to nourish lashes. The thick bristle brush creates a wide-awake look with sexy volume.
Apply a coat of Lancome Cils Booster XL ($23) right before mascara and watch how this micro-fiber and vitamin E rich lash base magnifies lashes and helps it stay put all day.
Essence Volumizing Lash Powder ($3.49) contains mini-fibers that are brushed on in between coats of mascara for mile-long lashes.
Lash Enhancing Conditioners
Only Latisse is clinically proven to grow longer, thicker darker lashes, but over-the-counter lash enhancers can help keep lashes healthy. “There are several over-the-counter eyelash products available today that act as “conditioners” for dry, brittle lashes, which through protective factors, may prevent premature breakage and thereby promote fuller, healthier eyelashes,” says Few. Look for ingredients such as peptides, plant botanicals, vitamins, and minerals. Remember, if you stop using these lash stimulating products, lashes will go back to their original state.
City Lash ($79.99) features SymPeptide™, which is clinically shown to increase lash lines up to 72% within 42 days, resulting in longer, darker, and fuller lashes. It can also be used to enhance eye brows.
A high concentration of patent-pending prostaglandin analogue complex in PeterThomasRoth Lashes to Die for Platinum ($125) works to increase length, thickness, and fullness in eight weeks. Nourishing vitamins A, C, and E, and pro-vitamin B5 help strengthen and condition lashes. Prevage Clinical Lash and Brow Serum $98 treats lash breakage with a triple peptide complex, vitamins, and antioxidants for healthier, fuller lashes in as little as two weeks. Plant-based peptides and soy and amino acids in Tarte MultiplEYE Lash Enhancer ($65) help grow and condition lashes in as little as four weeks.