Is there anyone out there who is actually satisfied with the length of her naturally endowed eyelashes? With the increasing popularity and prevalence of eyelash growth products, I find this hard to believe. I, for one, need to allocate the most time out of my morning beauty routine to the mascara wand. But as much as I try to fake long, lush lashes, it's discouraging to know that, as soon as I rub on eye makeup remover at night, my lashes will return to sorry stubs that can't even keep pace with my boyfriend's doe-like set. So when I heard about a promising new eyelash growth product from tarte, the MultiplEye Natural Lash Enhancer ($65), I shut my eyes and prayed for a successful, safe, and simple lash lift.

The product's lack of frightening prostaglandins (the culprit behind the eyelash growth controversy) and clinically proven performance got my research of MultiplEye off to a promising start. According to tarte's clinical results, 100% of subjects reported an increase in lash length and health, while 90% of subjects reported an increase in lash thickness. Overall, there was a reported 152% change in the appearance of lash length after 6 weeks. I wondered how tarte could achieve these results while at the same time forfeiting the main active ingredient in many other effective lash enhancers. So I scraped to the bottom of its formula to find out exactly what each of its components do and where they got their inspiration.

Tarte touts its secret sauce as a proprietary HydroPlant Peptide, in which soy and amino acid proteins combine to form a superprotein base infused with cellulose (a plant-derived thickening agent) and vitamin C (an antioxidant). This complex is designed to fortify and nourish lashes. Sounds rather harmless, but does it work?

MultiplEye's second ingredient after water, hydrolized soy protein, is a vegetable source protein that is known to help hair retain moisture while adding shine and conditioning. DermaLash by DermaQuest and Folligen cream also contain hydrolized soy protein. Next up is magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a water-soluble derivative of vitamin C. A far superior alternative for skin that is sensitive to the exfoliating effects of the high acid content in vitamin C, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is non-irritating and more effective at boosting skin collagen synthesis. This ingredient can be found in Beautylash MD Eyelash Conditioner and StimuLashFusion Intensive Night Conditioning Lash Enhancer.

The addition of adenosine (a special carrier molecule of energy) is interesting, especially since research on topically applied adenosine triphosphate is just beginning. Adenosine seems to have strong potential as a cell-communicating ingredient and inflammation modulator. Less notable is sodium chloride, otherwise known as table salt, which simply stabalizes and preserves the formula. You'll find it in Jan Marini Eyelash Conditioner, RevitaLash MD, and ProCyte MD Lash Factor Eyelash Conditioner. Another stabilizer and preservative, disodium EDTA is present in Xtended Beauty Eyelash Conditioner and SD Lash and Brow Gel.

Instead of bimatoprost or any other prostaglandin analogs, the active ingredient in MultiplEye is myristoyl pentapeptide-17, which is also the star of Jan Marini Eyelash Conditioner. Peptides are believed to stimulate hair growth at the follicle, but it needs to be stressed that all peptides are not created equal. Though certain peptides have shown to stimulate epidermal cell and hair growth in mice, myristoyl pentapeptide-17 does not seem to crop up in any peer-reviewed, independent studies documenting hair growth. On the other hand, Jan Marini is known for impressive in-house research studies and must have a substantiated reason for its choice of ingredients.

The ingredients proceed onward with polyaminopropyl biguanide, a synthetic polymer that acts as a preservative, and hydroxyethylcellulose, a multi-purpose plant-derived amino acid, also in Glominerals GloLash Enhance Eyelash Serum and Enormous Lash. Polyhexamethylene biguanide HCI is a disinfectant that protects against microbial infection. Widely used in acqueous personal products like eye drops and contact solution, this disinfectant appears to be very safe. Unfortunately, it is paired with the inescapable preservative phenoxyethanol, which crops up in LiLash, RevitaLash MD, Enormous Lash, ProCyte MD Lash Factor Eyelash Conditioner, and DermaLash by DermaQuest.

It looks like tarte has borrowed recurring elements from an array of eyelash growth products. Do the elements tarte has chosen add up to a winning formula? I will have to report back when I am finished with my trial. For now, the proven ingredients occurring in other lash growth products appear promising, and the clinical results speak for themselves. But, alas, sufficiently long lashes are in the eye of the beholder.

Ingredients:

Aqua, hydrolyzed soy protein, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, adenosine, sodium chloride, disodium EDTA, myristoyl pentapeptide-17, calcium chloride, polyaminopropyl biguanide, hydroxyethylcellulose, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, polyhexamethylene biguanide HCI.