I do judge a book by its cover but try not to form an opinion about a beauty product based on its packaging. But when the packaging is also an applicator, it has to be take into consideration. In the case of Novalash Lash+Doctor ($115), an eyelash growth stimulator, the applicator is a major design flaw. This is a shame because the product seems to work.

Of course, it could just be me, but I found Lash+Doctor’s applicator almost unusable. Most eyelash growth products use something akin to an eyeliner brush so that product can be applied in a fine line along the lid at the base of lashes. Lash+Doctor’s applicator is a plastic paddle that is about a quarter inch across. Its just about OK for sweeping across eyebrows, but for lashes I found it near impossible to use without getting globs of product in my eye, or dripping down my cheek. I resorted to using a finger.

Despite this, I have persevered and after three weeks can report that I do have lashes that are darker, thicker and a little longer. And all this without any prostaglandins. Lash+Doctor majors on botanicals, amino acids and a peptide called biotinoyl tripeptide-1, that also shows up in quite a few hair growth products, such as Chella’s Lash Full-fillment, OOKISA shampoo, Librow for eyebrow growth and Cargo’s eyelash growth mascara.

Biotinoyl tripeptide-1is part of a concoction made by Sederma (the same company makes Matrixyl 3000) for treating alopecia that also includes butylene glycol, PPG-26-buteth-26, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, apigenin, and oleanic acid. According to Sederma, it helps to slow aging effects by lessening the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) to improve the irrigation of the hair follicle. Studies (by the company) showed the product to: increase hair growth enhance adhesion molecules stimulate hair strengthening genes increase the proportion of anagen hair.

Panax ginseng is a dominant ingredient and there is a Korean study on mice that demonstrated ginseng accelerated the recovery of hair cells and prevented apoptosis in hair follicles. There’s also budock (arctium majus) that is associated with circulation and follicle stimulation.

There are several amino acids, including ornithine HCL, which also crops up in B Kamins Lash Fortifier. And there’s not much to dislike except the potential irritant disodium EDTA and retinyl palmitate. Lash+Doctor proved to be incredibly benign and I suffered no irritation even when struggling to apply it and getting most of it in my eye.

I was given Lash+Doctor as a free sample but I am afraid that I wouldn't buy it unless Novalash changes  the applicator to something more conventional.

Ingredients: aqua/water/eau, panax ginseng root extract, arginine, acetyl tyrosine, arctium majus root extract, hydrolyzed soy protein, polyquaternium-11, PEG-12 dimethicone, calcium panthotenate, zinc gluconate, niacinamide, ornithine HCL, citrulline, glucosamine HCL, biotin, glycerin, glycoproteins, butylene glycol, PPG-26-buteth-26, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, apigenin, olealonic acid, biotinoyl tripeptide-1, acer saccharum (maple isolate), phospholipids, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, ascorbyl palmitate, panthenol, 1,2- hexanediol, caprylyl glycol, carbomer, glucamine, disodium EDTA.