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Eyelash growth products - are they safe and do they work? 2009 UPDATE

Reviewed by Marta June 27, 2009 31 Comments

There seems to be a new eyelash growth product every week and the old ones keep changing their formulas, so here's our latest and greatest eyelash (and brow) growth product round-up. The major distinction between them is whether they contain glaucoma drugs called prostaglandins. These will certainly make your lashes grow, but there are potential side effects, such as irritation, damage to sight, or even change of eye color.

Give us a shout if you know of any products that we've missed and we'd love to hear what works (or doesn't) for you.

Ardell Brow and Lash Growth Accelerator ($2.98). Well you can't quibble with the price. The main ingredient is peony extract with some wheat protein. Not terribly convincing - although the reviews (if they are genuine) are raves.

Water (aqua), Paeonia Suffruticosa Extract, Panthenol, Polytetrafluoroethylene, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, VP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer, Polyquaternium 37, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PPG 1 Trideceth 6, Ricinus Communis Seed Oil (Castor), Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, DMDM Hydantoin

Billion Dollar Brows ($20). I haven't tried this, but my guess is that it might work. Saw palmetto extract is strongly associated with hair growth as is biotin. Proline is one of four amino acids that have used in hair growth trials. Glycosaminoglycans are naturally in skin and hair follicles and the amount varies throughout the hair growth cycle.

Deionized Water, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Propylene Glycol, Saw Palmetto Berry Ext, Biotin, Saw Palmetto Lipidic Sterolic, Proline, Glucosaminoglycans, Water (and) Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, (and) 3 Aminopropane Sulfonic Acid, (and) Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Riboflavin 5 Phosphate, Hydroxyethylacrylate / Sodium, Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, (and) Squalane (and) Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Citric Acid, DMDM Hydantoin, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

B Kamins Chemist Lash Fortifier ($72-$90) Natural ingredients of the kind found in hair growth products. More details here.

Cargo Lash Activator ($35). A mascara that claims to grow lashes by 169%. The peptide that is supposed to prevent eyelash loss is at the very end of the ingredients. The peptide in question, biotinoyl tripeptide-1, turns up in quite a few hair growth products. More info on Cargo LashActivator.

Dermaquest Dermalash ($95). This also worked for me (see review). Longer lashes and some new growth. It has done a very good job of filling in my eyebrows as well. No glaucoma drugs (it uses amino acids and vitamin B) and I had no allergic reactions to it. In addition to neutral, there are color formulas that will look as if you have applied eyeliner.

Enormous Lash Eyelash Enhancing Serum ($95). Made by Intuit Beauty, which has brought out a new prostaglandin-free, paraben-free formula.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerine, Potassium Olivoyl PCA, Arginine, Alanyk Glutamine, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Phospholipids, Sphingolipids, Panthenol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Isopentyl glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Trisoium EDTA.

FNS Nutrilash Lash & Brow Enhancer ($41.99). I tried this and it didn’t work after four weeks (read the review here). Perfectly safe though.

Folligen ($17.99). This is a copper peptide solution that I have found works well for hair, eyelash and brow growth. The color is a but alarming , but fear not as it does not stain.

Hydropeptide Lash ($130). I tested this for a month and my lashes got longer and blacker - read my review of Hydropeptide here.  Prostaglandin-free, this has heavy-duty moisturizers with inositol, which is a vitamin B complex nutrient that has a direct impact on hair growth. Biotin is also associated with promoting hair growth. There are also a couple of hexapeptides, synthetic peptides that behave like growth hormones.

Keracyte-B ($98). This is a scalp conditioner that uses elastatropin, a synthetic form of elastin. This is aimed at stimulating the hair follicle. There are some anti-aging ingredients, such as matrixyl 3000,  mixed in too. It does not contain prostaglandin. I haven’t tried it, but have heard that it works for brows.

Jan Marini Marini Lash. Jan Marini virtually pioneered the eyelash growth market and about a year ago launched a new lash product without prostaglandin, the glaucoma drug that was in the original formula. I posted a review after trying it for three weeks. It works and it’s safe.

Lashfood Eyelash Conditioning Stimulant ($115). Annie, our reader reviewer, took photographic evidence to demonstrate that it, well, doesn't really work. Prostaglandin free. Read our review here.

Latisse. Made by Allergan (the nice people behind Botox), this has FDA approval for prescription-only sale. It contains Bitamaprost, a glaucoma drug. Check out the side effects here before you head to your doctor.

Lilash Eyelash Growth Stimulator ($119). This was developed by a doctor in Scotsdale. Thanks to a reader’s sleuthing skills, we now know that the ingredients for Lilash contain a prostaglandin analogue. Librow (for brows) is a similar formula. Mixed reviews (our comments range from the delighted to the disappointed victims of allergic reactions).

Lipocils Eyelash Conditioning Gel by Talika ($40). The best thing about this botanical cocktail is that it comes with an origination myth - supposedly invented by accident by some French nurse during the Second World War as she tended to a wounded soldier. It doesn't work.

Mavala Double Lash ($11.54). This product is applied like mascara (most of them are applied like an eye-liner). Anyway, it doesn’t work.

Metics Renewlash Eyelash Stimulator ($68.99).  This product has been reformulated and no longer contains a prostaglandin. However, one reader complained of blurred vision.

Water (aqua), glycerin, sodium hyaluronate moisturizer, mineral oil, apigenin, palmitoyl oligopetide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, camellia sinensis, horsetail extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, nettle extract, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) gel, biotin, methionine, panthenol (vitamin B5), tocopherol acetate, retinal palmitate (vitamin A), hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans, phenoxyethanol, cyclopentasiloxane, benzoic acid, triethanolamine and sodium EDTA.

MD Lash Factor ($99.99). This product reportedly works. It too contains prostaglandin.

ModelCo Lash & Brow Growth Stimulator ($42). Prostaglandin-free, this is a new find. It looks a bit like Hydropeptide Lash with its hexapeptides, biotin and inositol.

Water (Aqua), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Dipropylene Glycol, Phenethyl Benzoate, Polysorbate 20, Pentylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Hydrogenated Lectithin, Inositol, Glyceryl Laurate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Hexapeptide 17, Biotin, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Leaf Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Folic Acid, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Citrus Medica Linonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alchohol, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben.

Neova Advanced Essential Eyelash Conditioner ($140). Neova's signature ingredient is copper and has center stage in this eyelash product. Copper does have a proven track record of stimulating hair follicles and speed up the hair growth cycle. For a cheaper version, see Skin Biology's Folligen below.

Water (Aqua), Panthenol, TEA-Carbomer, Alanine/Histidine/Lysine Polypeptide Copper HCl, Hydrolyzed Glycoaminoglycans, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, Copolyol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate

Peter Thomas Roth Lashes to Die For ($119). This contains a prostaglandin analogue listed in the ingredients as 17-Phenyl Trinor Pge2-Sa.

Rapid Lash Eyelash Renewal Serum ($48). This contains a prostaglandin analogue called isopropyl cloprostenate. There is some evidence that copper tripeptide-1 improves hair growth by strengthening the follicle and speeding up the growth cycle. Indeed, I have used Folligen, a copper peptide lotion on hair and lashes with great success.

Refectocil Longlash ($20). This has the benefit of being cheap 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.

Renew Eyelash Revitalizer ($80). 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, and biotin, a B vitamin used in hair regeneration products..

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 reformulated the product to use prostaglandin. The newest version is claimed to be 100% safe. Read Copley's review here.

SD Lash & Brow Conditioning Gel ($90). Supposedy developed by an RN, this has natural ingredients with the active being hexapeptide 11 (derived from yeast). Some readers have reported good results.

Water (Aqua), Glycosaminoglycans,  Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Betaine, Hexylene Glycol, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinesis Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Hexapeptide-11, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root  (Peony) Extract, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Tromethamine, Disodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin.

Skin Research Laboratories Neulash $139).This contains prostaglandin analogue. More details here.

Skin Biology’s Folligen ($17.99). A copper peptide cream that is primarily designed for hair growth. It works by strengthening the hair follicles. I have had really good results on brows and lashes.

Tarte Multipleye ($65). This claims to be all natural and has no prostaglandins. However, Copley was less than impressed in her review.

  • August 1, 2013

    by lori

    I've been using revitalash for over a year and love the results but just stopped since learning about the side effects. I'm trying to do all my research before buying another lash enhancer. It's been 4 days since I stopped ueing revitalash and don't want to lose all my lashes and don't want my blue eyes to change..So I am seeing from the above the only products that DON'T have prostaglandin or ingredients like it that actually work are:
    hydroPeptide, Metics, KGF, mavala and fabulash? with this be correct. I would love a list of the safe ones so I can decide - it all gets so confusing. please answer and help!

  • September 23, 2011

    by Cosmetic Formulation Products Science Technology » Beauty Product Reviews For Women & Men

    [...] After scouring the internet, I found this article the most helpful. It is very comprehensive and pretty much covers the majority of all eyelash conditioners on the market as well as includes client reviews: [...]

  • September 14, 2011

    by Do All Eyelash Growth Products Contain Drugs to Make Them Work? « Idollash

    [...] After scouring the internet, I found this article the most helpful. It is very comprehensive and pretty much covers the majority of all eyelash conditioners on the market as well as includes customer reviews: [...]

  • August 3, 2011

    by Do All Eyelash Growth Products Contain Drugs to Make Them Work? | Corrective Make Up

    [...] After scouring the internet, I found this article the most helpful. It is very comprehensive and pretty much covers the majority of all eyelash conditioners on the market as well as includes customer reviews: [...]

  • December 26, 2010

    by Do All Eyelash Growth Products Contain Drugs to Make Them Work? | Eyelash Growth Products

    [...] After scouring the internet, I found this article the most helpful. It is very comprehensive and pretty much covers the majority of all eyelash conditioners on the market as well as includes customer reviews: [...]

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