The Lash Serums That Experts Recommend (and Actually Use)

    November 9, 2022

    Photographed by Steven Klein, Vogue, March 2018

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    Some of the best lash growth serums of 2022 no longer require a prescription, meaning that shopping for a suitable formula often won’t require a trip to the dermatologist. In an effort to understand the formulas in a sea of modern options, we tapped experts to weigh in on their picks for products they actually use, and the ingredients that make a difference. “Eyelash serums work when used properly,” says board-certified dermatologist Purvisha Patel, founder of Visha Skincare, who recommends a consistent routine of daily application, adding that “it takes at least a month to see results.” Essentially, this isn’t an instant gratification situation (unless you’re working with a serum primer like Pacifica’s under-$15 formula below).

    For those who want a supernatural, super clean option, a dose of straight-up castor oil can make an impact. “I’ve been using castor oil on dry eye patients for years to help soothe their painful symptoms,” says board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Twenty/Twenty Beauty Dr. Diane Hilal-Campo, MD. “After seeing many of them develop thicker, longer lashes over time from this treatment, I decided to make it the star ingredient in my serum.” She points out that it’s important to first protect your lash foundation. “If the root of your lashes or brows is dead, there is no product that can bring them back,” she warns. ”Certain beauty practices can kill them, so for healthier hair, I recommend avoiding treatments like lash lifts and extensions.” Instead, consider fortifying the building blocks of healthy hair with supplements that fill in the nutrition blanks you may be missing. “Nutrafol is a supplement taken to grow scalp hair, and can help with lash growth as well,” says Dr. Patel. Part of the reason serums can be helpful, though, will sound familiar: hydration. “If you’re prone to dry, brittle lashes, that hydration can help stave off breakage for healthier growth,” says Dr. Hilal-Campo.

    According to board-certified dermatologist Blair Murphy-Rose MD, FAAD, key ingredients in some lash serums, prostaglandins, or PGAs, are still mysterious. “Latisse contains a prescription-strength prostaglandin called bimatoprost that is known to stimulate growth though the exact mechanism is not well understood,” says Dr. Murphy-Rose. “Over-the-counter prostaglandin-based serums contain a weaker prostaglandin—the benefit to using a weaker prostaglandin-based serum is that the risk of side effects is also lower.” Hilal-Campo recommends avoiding PGAs entirely, which have been in the collective conversation this year (not to mention TikTok feeds) for their side effects—they often have powerful results—but with a risk. She notes that there’s a 20% chance that users of serums with PGAs will experience side effects. “It's easy to identify PGAs in an ingredient list — look for ingredients with “prost” in them, like isopropyl cloprostenate,” she explains. “Keep in mind that because these ingredients aren't regulated by the FDA like prescription-strength bimatoprost is, they may be stronger, and the risks of side effects could be even greater.” When side effects include fat atrophy and discoloration of the skin and iris color, it makes sense why clean formulas like the new brow and lash-enhancing Kosas GrowPotion serum and Dr. Lara Devgan’s Platinum Long lash serum are on the rise.

    Below, 14 serums that experts (and users) recommend to help boost your lash growth potential.

    Augustinus Bader The Eyebrow & Lash Enhancing Serum

    Augustinus Bader The Eyebrow & Lash Enhancing Serum
    $150 AT SEPHORA

    “This formula contains sunflower oil, biotin, panthenol, and castor oil — all ingredients that support healthy hair growth,” says Dr. Hilal-Campo of Augustinus Bader’s new lash serum, which can double as a brow treatment. In a 12-week clinical trial of subjects with self-perceived sensitive skin and eyes, lash length was said to increase by 34%, while lash and brow prominence increased by 130%. On top of the brand’s signature TFC8 complex (basically their version of concentrated nutrition for healthy cells), it provides a dose of moisture. “Hyaluronic acid and aloe help draw moisture into dry lashes,” Hilal-Campo notes.

    Augustinus Bader The Eyebrow & Lash Enhancing Serum

    Kosas GrowPotion Fluffy Brow + Lash Boosting Serum
    $48 AT KOSAS

    “Kosas uses panthenol and amino acids from wheat and soy to promote healthier growth as well as biotinoyl tripeptide-1, an ingredient that helps prevent hair loss while stimulating new growth,” says Dr. Hilal-Campo. “It even contains clover extract, which has been shown to help promote hair growth in those with alopecia. I also like the applicator — the sponge tip allows for really targeted application to areas that are particularly sparse.” After three months of use, the brand shares that an expert-graded study showed that 97% of subjects saw measured improvement in brow length and lash volume, and 90% agreed it restored the appearance of overplucked brows.

    Twenty / Twenty Beauty Get Growing Lash and Brow Serum

    Twenty / Twenty Beauty Get Growing Lash and Brow Serum
    $52 AT AMAZON

    “I created my clean formula,Get Growing, to support ocular health as well as healthy lash and brow growth,” says Dr. Hilal-Campo. “Castor oil is the star ingredient, which not only helps nourish dry eyes but features growth-stimulating ricinoleic acid to encourage thicker lashes and brows.” The formula also contains linoleic acid-rich argan oil and antimicrobial coconut oil—with another thoughtful formulation: “Because it is an anhydrous mixture of oils, it does not need preservatives, which can be very irritating to eyes and can cause and exacerbate dry eyes,” she explains. “It's naturally effective as well as incredibly soothing on the entire eye area.” She recommends applying it nightly for the best results.