Lash Growth Serums
When Latisse entered the market in 2008, women were no longer beholden to mascara or lash extensions to have long, lush lashes. But how does Latisse work? And what are the side effects? Also, what about the other lash serums on the market?
How does Latisse work?
Latisse contains a prostaglandin called bimatoprost, which was first used under the brand name Lumigan as an eyedrop to treat glaucoma. A convenient side effect of the medication was eyelashes that were longer and thicker, and the manufacturers quickly leveraged this into a prescription medication FDA-approved to increase the growth of eyelashes.
Although we don’t know the exact mechanism of Latisse, we do know that it has several effects on eyelashes. First, it lengthens the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle, which is the period in which eyelashes are actively growing. This results in longer lashes. It also increases the number of hairs, and makes the hairs darker.
What about the other lash serums on the market?
The biggest competitor for Latisse is Revitalash, a product sold by Galderma. Revitalash contains a different prostaglandin called latanoprost, in a slightly lower concentration, which means it is available over the counter. Because the latanoprost is in a lower dose, it may take a little bit longer to work compared to Latisse. But it has other benefits that we’ll discuss in a bit.
How do I use Latisse or Revitalash?
Latisse is sold in a dropper bottle with separately packaged brushes used for application. In comparison, Revitalash comes in a bottle similar to a liquid eyeliner, with the brush incorporated into the cap. Both products are applied at night to the upper lash line only. They will diffuse down into the lower lashes, so you don’t need to apply along the lower lash line. You’ll see improved length and thickness starting in about a month, though it will likely take a couple months to see the full effect. Both medications are temporary, so if you stop using them your eyelashes will slowly revert to their previous length.
What are the side effects of Latisse and Revitalash?
Both Latisse and Revitalash can cause eye irritation and darkening of the eyelid skin or even the iris. This darkening is due to increased melanin production. The darkening of the eyelid skin is temporary and fades when the medication is discontinued. But changes in color of the iris are permanent. This is a side effect many people find concerning, but in ten years of using Latisse I’ve not seen any changes in color of the iris. I suspect this is because you use such a small amount, the medication doesn’t enter the eye itself. Side effects may be less frequent with Revitalash, because it’s a lower concentration of prostaglandin. If you’ve had skin irritation with one product it’s still worth trying the other one; they have different additives that may be contributing to irritation.
Who should not use Latisse?
People with increased pressure inside the eye, a condition called glaucoma, should not use Latisse. This is because they may already be on medications that decrease pressure in the eye, and Latisse is the same type of medication. If you have inflammation of the eye, called uveitis, you should also avoid Latisse. Finally, if you wear soft contact lenses, be sure to remove those before applying Latisse. The benzalkonium chloride it contains can be absorbed into soft contact lenses.
Notice I didn’t mention Revitalash in these contraindications. Because it’s available over-the-counter it has slightly different safety recommendations. There are no firm recommendations against using it if you have glaucoma or uveitis, but I would definitely check with your ophthalmologist first. Neither medication has been studied in pregnancy or breastfeeding, which means the official recommendation is to only use them if benefits outweigh the risks. I personally used Latisse while pregnant and breastfeeding, but I would recommend sticking with Revitalash, since it’s a lower dose of prostaglandin.
What do Latisse and Revitalash cost?
A 5ml bottle of Latisse retails for around $150, and this is enough to last you 6 months. A 3.5ml bottle of Revitalash costs about the same, and oddly enough will also last 6 months. I suspect the difference is because the brush included in Revitalash is much finer, so you lose less of the medication during application.
What about my thinning eyebrows?
Latisse and Revitalash can both be used on the eyebrows. And Revitalash even comes as a brow formulation with a small foam brush that makes it a snap to apply.
Which is better, Latisse or Revitalash?
I’ve used both products for at least a year, and I personally prefer Revitalash. I find that the extra step of opening up a new brush makes me less likely to put Latisse on at night. I also love the brow formulation of Revitalash. And I think the side effects are less likely with Revitalash, because it’s a lower concentration of prostaglandin.
In conclusion, both Latisse and Revitalash are a cost-effective way to achieve longer, fuller eyelashes. The side effects are minimal, and they’re safe for the vast majority of people.