Try Lash Enhancers for Longer, Thicker Eyelashes

You can throw mascara aside with these new lash enhancers

Credit: Flickr / bettina n

These lash enhancers will not only make your lashes thicker and longer, but softer too

These lash enhancers really do work and might even tempt you to toss out your mascara

Eyelash enhancers used to be a niche product but the market is now saturated with dozens of offerings. They claim to help eyelashes grow thicker and longer, enhancing your own lashes without the use of mascara. They also prolong the lifespan of eyelashes, giving them more time to grow longer and thicker, so your fluttery fringe has a fighting chance to develop into lush, doe-eyed lashes.

I don’t normally wear mascara, unless it’s for an evening out when I know it only has to last a few hours. Most mascaras smudge on me and I’d much rather go without than deal with racoon eyes. So if there’s a product that can give me naturally luscious lashes mascara-free, well, that sounds like heaven.

The Surprising Secret Behind (Most) Lash Enhancers

Before you rush out to buy a tube of this magical serum, you should understand that most eyelash enhancers rely on active ingredients such as bimatoprost, lantanoprost or another type of prostaglandin, which are all used in prescription eyedrops for treating glaucoma.

That’s right, glaucoma. Doctors and patients realized that one of the side effects of this medication was that patients were left with lovely, long lashes. However, other side effects can also include darkening of the colour of the iris (as dramatic as blue eyes turning brown), swelling of retina (leading to blurry vision), red or brown rings around the eyes, itchy eyes and general irritation. Some of the side effects can be permanent and if you happen to actually need glaucoma medication later on, prolonged use of prostaglandin-based lash enhancer could lead to your body’s resistance to the drug.

As scary and dangerous as all this sounds, this is not to say you’ll definitely experience these side effects. And it should be noted that, like all other cosmetics on the market, these products have all passed strict US FDA regulations to ensure they’re safe (within reason) for use around the eyes.

Prostaglandin-free Lash Enhancers

Since pro-prostagladin products dominate the market, I’d like to highlight two that are prostaglandin-free, using natural active ingredients and that actually work. I liked both serums and found that both worked well, giving me longer, fuller lashes. If, like me, you avoid mascara but love the look of lush lashes, these are definitely worth a try.

Talika Lipocils Expert

(10ml, $56.44)

(Image: Lipocils)

Packaging: It looks like a traditional mascara tube but the wand has both a spoolie and a sponge doe-foot tip, like for lipgloss. Use the sponge tip to apply the serum to the base of your lashes, then brush through your lashes with the spoolie. Apply twice a day on clean lashes for 28 days, then taper off to once a day.

Claims: Based on the original Lipocils formula, established in 1948 in France, the new Lipocils Expert has been shown through independent clinical studies to produce improvements in the appearance of the lash length (+36%), colour (+50%), and curl (+50%). It will naturally lengthen, darken, and curl your lashes in 28 days, safely and without any negative side effects.

Performance: I saw noticeable results after two weeks. My lashes were definitely longer and noticeably softer, and they held a curl much better and longer. I took about a week to get used to the new routine and generally applied it only once a day, so the results would likely be even more dramatic if I followed the directions.

Also, once I got into the routine of putting this on, I came to really enjoy the process. Because I don’t wear mascara very often, I find its application very clumsy and often messy. But putting on the Lipocils Expert gave me a chance to practice the motion of applying mascara, risk free.

Once dried, I found it layered well with mascara and didn’t seem to interfere with performance.

Would I repurchase? Yes! At this price point, it’s one of the less expensive lash enhancers you’ll find. It works, it’s a cinch to use and I found the ritual of combing through my typically neglected eyelashes zenfully relaxing.

Available from Talilka.

B. Kamins Eyelash Fortifier

(4ml, $99)

(Image: B. Kamins)

Packaging: Looks like a large tube of mascara. At one end is a clicky dial that dispenses the product when rotated. At the other end is a flat, flexible silicone tip with a tiny pinhole where the product comes out.

At first, the delivery system seemed very awkward and a bit confounding, but then I came to appreciate that the potent (and expensive) serum was actually protected with this setup. Instead of pulling out a wand and exposing all the product to air and potential bacteria, only the tiniest bit of product was dispensed per application, leaving the rest safely encased in the tube.

There’s less product in this tube than in other eyelash fortifiers, but keep in mind there’s no wastage, no evaporation and there’s no fear of contamination.

Claims: B. Kamins has developed a lash fortifier that is natural and made without prostaglandins. It helps to boost microcirculation at the hair follicle, as well as condition and protect delicate lashes. Other points of interest:

  • Strengthens lashes and brows to help prevent lash loss and breakage
  • Promotes naturally thicker, fuller-looking eyelashes and eyebrows in 6-8 weeks
  • Conditions eyelashes and helps protect them from environmental damage and breakage
  • Specially formulated and pH balanced to be non-irritating to eyes
  • Ophthalmologist tested and safe for contact lens wearers

Performance: It worked! My lashes were longer, seemed thicker and were definitely softer. However, it took a bit longer to see the effects of this eyelash fortifier than with others.

The first time I was trying to get product out, it required several dozen whirls of the clicky knob. I actually thought I had a defective product but kept on clicking and finally the product dribbled out. And after that it’s been great, dispensing one tiny drop per click. So don’t fret if your new tube is a bit stubborn at first.

According to instructions, you’re supposed to use the applicator tip to directly apply a very small amount of gel to the base of the upper lash line and then pat gently with a clean fingertip to distribute evenly along the roots of the lashes and onto the eyelashes themselves. That seemed fussy and uncomfortable to me so I started dispensing the product onto my very clean fingertip then holding my finger up to my eyelashes and blinking down into the product, effectively sweeping them through the product.

As for eyebrows, I did pat some on with the leftover gel on my finger, but I can’t say I’ve noticed much of a difference in this particular area.

Use nightly, on clean eyelashes and eyebrows, just before bedtime. As for maintenance, you can wean yourself off this product, once the desired effect is achieved, by tapering off to three days on, three days off.

Would I repurchase? Yes! The product definitely worked and I appreciate the hygienic dispensing mechanism. It might take a little getting used to, but it’s a nice ritual to get into. This product, along with a lash lift, would be my ideal combination.

Available in-store and online at Spa Boutique, 3630 W.4th Ave.