Eyelash Growth Serums: Do They Work?

image source: talika | lo’real | lilash | babble

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Well, so, it’s a long story…

It started innocently enough, with a pair of cheap false lashes from the drug store. Drug store false lashes are THE BEST the best the best. Two thumbs up! I got a little bit accustomed to seeing my face framed by enormous lashes and so suddenly, one day, it wasn’t enough to glue them on every day. I wanted something more… permanent. That’s when it got progressively more serious, with some at-home DIY lash extensions experiments (which I don’t not recommend trying, but which I also can’t totally recommend, either… ??), and then when those DIY lash extensions started falling out and taking my real lashes with them by the angry clumpful …

Right. You see what I mean?

My mother was using Latisse at the time, a prescription-only eyelash growth serum and, having seen the results in person, I decided it was high time I start doping my lashes so they’d come back in with vigor. Except I didn’t really want to go to the hassle of convincing my doctor to write me a scrip, and also, no insurance on the planet is going to cover this, and also, a single tube clocks in at around $130. Not to mention the copay.

So, I played around a bit with the various drugstore options available before letting my curiosity win out and ordering some Lilash (a non-prescription version of Latisse).

Specifically I was looking for: insane, insane lash length, boosted volume, and hopefully no weird-o side effects (eye color changes, I’m looking at you). Do any of these serums deliver? Would I go blind? Would my green eyes turn poopy brown?

Here’s the short answer: YES AND NO. 😉


Image Source: Natalie Holbrook
Image Source: Natalie Holbrook

Here are my sad, stumpy, thinned out lashes in all their pathetic glory. And is this not a terribly unforgiving angle? I know.

1. Talika Lipocils Eyelash Conditioning Gel

I first tried Talika on a recommendation from the girl at the drug store. She said she wore cheap-o drug store lashes daily and used this to keep her eyelashes strong. (This is New York, where shoot, wearing fake eyelashes on the daily don’t really cause anyone to bat an eyelash … and did I just go there? Cheese.) I liked that it seemed to be pricey enough to indicate that it’d work, without being so pricey that I felt like a chump for buying it. But after using it for four weeks, the only change I noticed in my eyelashes was that they were now pokey. Like, spike eyelashes. They weren’t longer, they weren’t thicker, they just seemed… aggressive. It was really weird. In case this is the look you’re going for, you can buy your own lash weaponry on Amazon here.

2. L’OREAL Lash Boosting Serum

I’ve actually used this one before, a few years ago when it first came on the market. It does a pretty spectacular job, considering it’s only 11 bucks. It comes with this funky wand that reminds me of a banana split, and you’re meant to apply it like you would mascara, to both upper and lower lashes. It doesn’t cause any real growth, but in a quick turnaround your lashes DO look a lot healthier, and when applied before mascara (wait a minute or two for it to dry first) it does help your mascara to go on smoother. It’s great for what it is. Zero side effects. Easy to get at the drug store (or online from Amazon). Unlike other serums I’ve tried the results seem instant but do not improve over time. Obviously, I wanted more. I wanted the dream!

3. Enter the LiLash

I finally took the plunge and bought a tube of LiLash in May, and started using it as directed once a day. You apply it like you would a liquid liner, just along the top of your lash line. (The pamphlet strictly forbids using this on your lower lash line.) It takes a minute or two to dry, and I usually apply it at night. Side effects? Yes. Your eye area does darken, similar to if you’ve had a particularly non-restful night of sleep. And weirdly, it looks like I’m always wearing a subtle eye shadow (my mom reported this same side effect with the Latisse… also an errant hair or two growing on her upper cheek bone, she assumes from sleeping on it before it’s dry and causing the serum to smudge on her pillow… weird, and AWESOME, right?). I haven’t noticed any change in my actual eye color. And it DOES take a while. I think I started noticing a difference at four weeks, with a couple lashes reaching astronomical lengths. It was actually kind of funny and awkward, like the eyelash equivalent of a gangly teenager. The company promises full results in six weeks, and true to their claims, at six weeks in I was suddenly like “WOAH HOLD UP.” They were l o n g. Long, but not any thicker (bummer). But sooo long! Let’s take a look, shall we?


Image Source: Natalie Holbrook
Image Source: Natalie Holbrook

See? Not bad! At one point they got sort of unwieldy. I was all, How do you mascara these puppies without looking ridiculous? They were long enough to touch my eyebrows. Not kidding. (I also found a better self-portrait angle by this point. Way to go, me!)

After two months of using the serum nightly, I switched to every other day to make the tube last longer. LiLash appears to work by causing your follicles to hold on longer than normal, which is how your lash is able to get so long. I did notice (and this is weird to say) a certain kind of achiness along the lash line at times when I’d rub my eyes at night, like the follicles were possibly working harder than they were used to. A kind of fullness at the root, almost. And of course, your lashes can’t stay in there forever (though a friend’s sister used the LiLash and it apparently got so out of control she had to TRIM her EYELASHES. YES.), and at the four month mark I noticed a few eyelashes falling out here and there (which is COMPLETELY NATURAL. We all lose lashes pretty much all the time without realizing it.)

Pardon the crummy photo, but yes, that is my eyelash. You could make, like, six wishes on it, it’s that long.

Image Source: Natalie Holbrook
Image Source: Natalie Holbrook

And now I know you’re going to want to know where you can get the Lilash. It was available for a while on Amazon, but seems to have run out of stock? For now, I’ll direct you to the official website. here. 

(And P.S. — LiLash also sells a brow version, which I’m assuming is the same serum with a different wand. Never fear, just this week I started using the LiLlash on my eyebrows. I will report back.)

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