This post has been updated June 2009.
I know that batting her eyelashes is supposed to be the best weapon in a girl's artillery, but I can't get over the amount of interest in eyelash growth products. Ever since I wrote about Jan Marini's Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner being recalled by the FDAand then the product coming off the market altogether a couple of weeks ago, this is by far the most popular topic on Truth In Aging.
So I have decided to do a quick summary of eyelash growth products available and note whether the ingredients are safe and whether they really work.
Jan Marini Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner. It certainly worked; my eyelashes were growing like weeds after three weeks of use. However, it was yanked off the market at the beginning of January. It contains prostaglandin (an analogue to be precise), a powerful drug used to treat glaucoma. The positive side effect is that it makes your eyelashes dark, thicker and longer. Bad side effects can be burning/itching and change of eye color. I stopped using it as soon as I found out about prostaglandin.
UPDATE June 2008: Marini Lash. Jan Marini has a new lash product without prostaglandin. You can read about it by clicking here. And look out for my review in about three weeks (I've just started using it).
MD Lash Factor. This product also reportedly works. It too contains prostaglandin. See Jan Marini, above.
Revitalash. Some reviewers report a burning sensation when using Revitalash. If it doesn't bother you, it does seem to work. Revitalash used to be based on an ingredient called bitamoprost (this is what prompted the FDA recall of Jan Marini's original product). Revitalash (like Marini) reformulated the product to use prostaglandin.
Keracyte-B. Keracyte-B uses elastatropin, a synthetic form of elastin. There are some anti-aging ingredients mixed in too. It does not contain prostaglandin. I haven't tried it, but have heard that it works.
Renew Eyelash Revitalizer. For some reason, persons under 18 can't use Renew without a doctor's prescription. I haven't used it and haven't come across anyone who has. Renew doesn't contain prostaglandin. It really seems as though it is a hair regrowth product that is being marketed for eyelashes. The main ingredients are: tripeptide-1, a kind of protein used to prevent the breakdown of collagen; biotin, a B vitamin used in hair regeneration products.
RefectoCil Longlash. This has the benefit of being cheap (about $20) and RefectoCil does not contain prostoglandin. I can't imagine that it works since it is just a concoction of plant extracts. If your esthetician tries to get you to try it, bear in mind that the maker markets it to salons by saying they can expect a 300% profit margin when they sell RefectoCil.
Lilash.This was developed by a doctor in Scotsdale. I haven't been able to find anything about it other than it makes a big deal out of not containing salt. Deathly silent on what it does contain, however.
UPDATE: 6/23/2008 A reader sleuthed the ingredients for Lilash and it contains a prostaglandin analogue.
Talika. The best thing I can say about Talika is that it comes with a nice origination myth (a young French doctor treating World War II casualties in Paris in 1948 finds her potion of plant extracts heals wounds and makes eyelashes grow). I have read a review saying it doesn't work. Quelle surprise.
Mavala. This product is applied like mascara (most of them are applied like an eye-liner). Anyway, it doesn't work.
Lumilash. Reportedly in the works by Allergan. Not yet on the market.
Dermaquest's Dermalash. I recently tries this and it does work - although not quite so spectacularly as Jan Marini. On the other hand it does not contain drugs.
FNS Nutrilash. I spent a month trying this. It didn't work at all for me. Perfectly safe though, using amino acids and vitamins.
Peter Roth Thomas Lashes To Die for. Contains a prostaglandin analogue.