The best eyelash growth serum
The trend for thick, long eyelashes is growing, but that doesn't mean you have to apply falsies or pay for expensive extensions to get the look. Eyelash growth serums enhance your natural lashes by stimulating the hair follicles along the lash line to grow new hairs or by conditioning and strengthening existing lashes, reducing breakage and preventing them from falling out.
While there are a number of these serums on the market, not all deliver results. Our buying guide breaks down the different formulas offered as well as what ingredients to look for. Our top pick is Pronexa Hairgenics Lavish Lash, which both activates growth and nourishes lashes.
Considerations when choosing eyelash growth serums
Stimulating eyelash growth serum: Stimulating formulas fall into two categories: over-the-counter and prescription. OTC formulas use peptides, while prescription formulas use FDA-regulated ingredients like hormones to extend the active growth stage of lashes, resulting in longer-than-normal eyelashes.
Conditioning eyelash growth serum: Though not technically growth serums, conditioning formulas moisturize and strengthen your lashes so they're less likely to fall out or break. While they are not clinically proven to grow your lashes, they will make your eyelashes appear thicker and glossier.
Eyelash serums either come with a spoolie (like a mascara wand) or an eyeliner-style applicator (either a felt tip or fine-tipped brush). The spoolie applies the serum to the entire length of the lash, whereas the eyeliner-style applicator allows you to apply the serum to the lash line directly.
Some eyelash serums perform double duty as eyelash primers. Others work to thicken eyebrows. Some with an eyeliner-style applicator actually function as eyeliner and deposit color and serum at the same time along the lash line.
Over-the-counter lash serums feature these non-pharmaceutical ingredients to grow and nourish your eyelashes:
Peptides: Stimulating formulas contain peptides -- amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. Select a serum with copper peptides for best results.
Biotin: This B vitamin is widely popular in many hair growth formulas for its ability to strengthen the proteins that make up lashes and hair.
Castor oil: This natural plant oil nourishes lashes by coating them with a glossy sheen and making them appear thicker.
Honey: Not just for consumption, honey used topically conditions lashes by enhancing moisture absorption.
Kelp: Believe it or not, this type of seaweed is used to thicken lashes, so they look denser.
Nettle: This botanical ingredient strengthens lashes to prevent breakage.
Green tea: This popular antioxidant widely used in beauty and skincare products protects lashes from breakage and environmental damage.
Wheat proteins: Like biotin, wheat proteins strengthens the lashes and plumps them up.
Eyelash growth serums range in price from $5 to $150. Conditioning formulas are less expensive than stimulating ones, which can cost between $100 and $150 for a prescription-only formula.
Q. How long does it take to see results using an eyelash growth serum?
A. If you're using an eyelash growth serum once a day or as directed by the manufacturer, it can take up to two months to see noticeable results.
Q. Are there side effects to using an eyelash growth serum?
A. Over-the-counter eyelash serums may cause eye irritation, such as itchiness, redness, watery (or dry) eyes, or darkened lids. Prescription serums that stimulate growth at the hair follicles also carry these risks and may change the color of your irises.
Eyelash growth serums we recommend
Best of the best: Pronexa Hairgenics Lavish Lash Eyelash and Brow Serum
Our take: A highly rated growth serum that doubles as an eyebrow serum.
What we like: Formula contains peptides and biotin, resulting in longer and lusher lashes. Can be used on brows to stimulate growth. Hypoallergenic.
What we dislike: Results are mixed, but a money-back guarantee makes this a risk-free purchase.
Best bang for your buck: InstaNatural Eyelash and Eyebrow Boost Serum
Our take: A versatile and affordable growth serum featuring organic ingredients.
What we like: Contains peptides for growth and organic botanical extracts for nourishment. Can be used on the brows. Good track record in delivering results.
What we dislike: Speed of results varies from two weeks to more than a month.
Our take: Castor oil serum that's a totally natural alternative to growth serums.
What we like: Only ingredient is organic cold-pressed castor oil, which boosts lash and brow growth with its omega-6 fatty acids. Chemical-free. Comes with applicators.
What we dislike: Castor oil is thick and messy. May not be as effective as multi-ingredient formulas.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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