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Eyelash Enhancers Eyed by FDA

Is a Solution for:
Eyelashes & Brows
Reviewed by Sunil April 29, 2011 1 Comment
The last time we reported on the FDA, they were going after stem cell face creams for their claims of helping you look younger. This time they’re back at it, warning RapidLash Renewal Serum, neuLash Eyelash Technology, and neuveauBrow Eyebrow Technology. Of the group, neuveauBrow Eyebrow Technology and neuLash Eyelash Technology come from the same manufacturer- Skin Research Laboratories.

As with the stem cell face creams, these products are in violation of the Cosmetics Act. In other words, these three products are making claims that will change you physiologically. Essentially, if they want to continue to talk about growing hair, they’ll have to find a new category that isn’t branded as cosmetics.

The three brands are also coming under fire for using the active ingredient isopropyl cloprostenate. The ingredient came into the spotlight after it was used in an eye drop version for glaucoma but side effects showed that it made your lashes grow. However, not all versions of this ingredient are created equal but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from featuring it.

Researching reviews for neuLash, it seems as though there are many people who claimed it worked and a small number that say it either didn’t work or reported stinging. neuveauBrow also had somewhat positive reviews. RapidLash is the most popular of the bunch having been featured in multiple publications and television programs. It is also the cheapest at $49.95. After searching the web and even reading comments from users on the Truth in Aging site about this product, I found mixed reviews.

It’s a good sign that the FDA is coming down on companies like this, but I’d rather them do it for other reasons. Rather than just addressing the Cosmetic Act, they should be forcing companies to show their clinical studies before selling it. neuveauBrow is retailing for $85.00 yet in their Clinical Results section, all I can find is “Coming Soon.” We as consumers are entitled to the research they’ve conducted because we are the ones putting these products on our body.

The FDA, in addition, should have companies make their ingredient labels more accessible. If calories are now front and center on cans, why not put ingredients on sites and bigger on packaging. After doing some mild digging around on these sites, I couldn’t find the ingredients, I do not doubt that they’re there, but shouldn’t they be a bit more accessible and more important than where these products have been featured. I don’t care if Tyra Banks talked about it; I want to know if this stuff is going to make my eyelids fall off.

And why isn’t the FDA better investigating ingredients? Isopropyl cloprostenate is a prostaglandin analogue, but in a NY Times article, Dr. Amy Wechsler, a New York dermatologist, noted that all aren’t created equally as I mentioned before. I think we, as the consumer, can be a little too trusting in brands when they show us partially appealing ingredients like Isopropyl cloprostenate (only partially because of it’s side effects) and it would be better off if the FDA could help weed out the good brands, from the bad. Then again, maybe if that were the case Truth in Aging would be out of business. Check out our look at the best eyelash and brow growth products for 2010, not surprisingly, none of the three brands targeted by the FDA made our list.
  • April 29, 2011

    by Jaysie

    Thanks for this post, Sunil. The FDA has always been sorely lacking when it comes to policing cosmetics. They seem to rely on "claims" made by companies, rather than on the more important full disclosure, to go after manufacturers/sellers.

    At the very least, I'd like to see the FDA require cosmetic companies to do the following:
    1) More complete information on the packaging for ingredients and especially esoteric ingredients, e.g., showing that isopropyl cloprostenate is a prostaglandin analogue. It's ridiculous to expect the average consumer to understand scientific terms of the myriad compounds used. There are many ingredients that have multiple scientific names so some common ground needs to be created so consumers can recognize a "chemical family" for these ingredients. Cosmetic labels should be as easy to read as food labels.
    2) Establish a label Certification Stamp, something that guarantees that the ingredients listed are actually in the product.

    The other thing I wish the FDA would require - both on food & cosmetic labels - is to show Source (lab, plant, animal) and Country of Origin (other than the U.S.) for all ingredients. And all of the info should be easily readable. Is this too much to hope for?

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