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Are new lash-growth serums the end of mascara as we know it?

Imagine that your eyelashes have grown so long and thick you actually toss your mascara tube in the trash! No more clumps, raccoon eyes, or messy mascara remover. Sound like a fantasy? It’s not. There really are products that can create long, lush, mascara-free lashes! But don’t throw out your mascara and invest in miracle eyelash growers until you read what Dr. Michelle Calder-Cardwell of Urban Optiques Vision has to say on the subject:

"Eyelash growers are shown to work for patients who suffer from Hypotrichosis or thin, inadequate eyelashes. They’re also widely used by those who want to enhance their normal eyelashes. These products can create long, lush lashes that don’t need mascara to look beautiful. A myriad are on the market—some work—others don’t. Many are simply conditioners that help prevent eyelashes from falling out or breaking. Several claim to make lashes grow, but so far, the only product approved by the FDA is LATISSE™, which contains bimatoprost, a drug traditionally used to treat glaucoma. Most eyelash growing products are available in stores or online, except LATISSE, which requires a doctor’s prescription."

Many eyelash growing products work to thicken eyelashes and are generally considered to be safe. But if you’ve tried over-the-counter eyelash growing products and are thinking about asking your doctor for a prescription, make sure you know the potential risks:

  • Itchy, red eyes
  • Unwanted hair growth in areas the product repeatedly touches
  • Darkening of the eyelids
  • Reduced eye pressure, which could mask glaucoma
  • Permanently increased iris pigmentation, which could irreversibly turn your light eyes brown, especially if your irises are hazel or green

Most symptoms will slowly disappear and your eyelashes will return to their previous appearance several weeks after you stop using the lash-growth products. But, before you reach for your wallet, you should know that eyelash growing products usually aren’t cheap. Prices vary, but if you opt for a prescription, expect to shell out more than $1,000 per year—and remember insurance won’t cover the costs.