- Eyelash serum is a liquid lash product meant to condition and nourish eyelashes, as well as promote lash growth when certain ingredients are used in the formula.
- Apply lash serum like a liquid eyeliner.
- Using lash growth serums, you should expect to see results in 5-6 weeks.
Eyelash serums promise the world (or at least that’s what it seems like when you have short or sparse lashes), but do they really deliver? We set out to investigate exactly how lash growth serums work, and whether they can truly help the lashes grow longer. We get into the nitty-gritty about how different lash serums work as well as whether they are safe or not. We’ll also explain how to use them to achieve the best results.
In this article:
- What Is an Eyelash Serum?
- Do Eyelash Growth Serums Work?
- Are Eyelash Serums Safe?
- How to Use an Eyelash Growth Serum?
- When Will You See Results?
- How to Remove Lash Growth Serum?
What Is an Eyelash Serum?
Just as we’d use a serum to nourish our skin or hair with light, quick-penetrating ingredients, we can also use a lash serum to nourish the lashes. Eyelash serums are meant to moisturize and strengthen the lashes and their follicles, and many formulas also include ingredients that are meant to improve lash growth.
When it comes specifically to lash growth serums, the most effective ones include special ingredients that impact the lash growth cycle and stimulate the follicles. These ingredients are prostaglandin analogs, and they are lipids with hormone-like effects. Since the hair cycle (including the lash cycle) is influenced by hormones, it follows that only hormone-like ingredients can alter it.
Do Eyelash Growth Serums Work?
Well, sort of. There is only one lash growth ingredient that is absolutely proven to increase eyelash growth, and it’s called bimatoprost. However, because it’s so intense, it’s only available in prescription drugs like Latisse. You would have to speak to your doctor about getting a prescription for it.
As for other eyelash serums, it really depends on what kind of results you expect. Anything that includes a prostaglandin analog will likely give longer, thicker lashes after a few weeks or months of use.
Lash serums made with peptides and natural extracts are not guaranteed to give results. Some users notice an increase in lash growth, but not all of them, and the research that exists isn’t conclusive. Some peptides have shown the ability to improve hair growth in limited studies, but these studies haven’t been done on the lashes.
Those prostaglandin-free serums are more likely to give overall healthier lashes, even if they won’t necessarily stimulate lash growth. They can condition the lashes and the skin, which helps fortify the lashes and prevent breakage, which is a different way of enhancing them and improving their condition.
Are Eyelash Serums Safe?
Using anything so close to your eyes comes with an inherent risk, but in general, eyelash serums are relatively safe. If the eyelash serum gets in your eyes, you might experience some momentary stinging, but that will go away once the serum is clear from your eyes.
The serums that contain prostaglandin analogs do come with a few more risks than less active formulas. The most common side effects, like mild irritation, stinging, and swelling, are still quite rare and can be easily remedied by rinsing off the serum with cold water. Some users notice their skin along the lash line darkening a bit, but that’s even more unusual.
Since these lash serums are intended to have hormone-like effects, it’s also important to avoid using them if you’re pregnant or nursing.
With prescription lash growth serums that contain bimatoprost, one side effect that has been reported is the eye color darkening, but we haven’t found any cases of this happening with a non-prescription eyelash serum.
How to Use an Eyelash Growth Serum?
The type of eyelash serum you choose to purchase will influence how you’ll apply it. When it comes to lash growth serums, you’re looking for them to influence your lash follicles rather than the lashes themselves, so you should apply them as you would a liquid eyeliner, with a simple, light strong along the upper lash line.
Do this when your eye area is totally clean, and wait a few minutes before applying any creams to the area in order to allow the serum to totally absorb into the skin. With most eyelash serums, using them once a day in the evening is best, although you can also opt to use them twice a day for faster results.
Some lash serums (usually ones without prostaglandin-analogs) are meant to reinforce both the lashes and the skin, in which case they usually come with spoolie applicators instead of brushes. In that case, apply them to your lashes just as you would a mascara.
When Will You See Results?
The types of results you will see depend on the eyelash serum you choose as well as the effects you expect. With a more active lash growth serum, you can expect to see a change in your lashes after 5-6 weeks. You will see maximum results after 5 months or so.
At that point, you can keep using your eyelash serum for maintenance, or you can stop for a few months and see what happens. Usually, the lashes go back to their normal cycle after about a month or so, so after that point, you may want to go back to using a lash growth serum.
How to Remove Lash Growth Serum?
In general, you’re not supposed to remove a lash growth serum. You simply apply a thin layer at night, let it soak in, and by morning there is nothing to remove. However, if you experience irritation from the serum or the formula is a little more fixative, you might want to actively take it off.
For most lash serum formulas, simply using cool water to rinse the eye will suffice, especially if you’re dealing with irritation. You can use a damp cotton pad, as well, although be careful not to rub too harshly since that can irritate your eyes.
If your lash serum is a fixative or a two-in-one primer or mascara, then you will need makeup remover to take it off. Simply soak a cotton pad with your favorite makeup remover and hold it over the eye for a few seconds to break down the product. Finally, wipe it off in downward motions.
Photos via @melissapicken, @pamarias, Instagram