If you just can’t seem to get your eyelashes to stay full and thick, you might consider an eyelash enhancer. But before you try just about anything that claims to help your lashes “grow,” it’s helpful to know how they really work and how to pick the best one. “Over-the-counter lash enhancers work by preventing lashes from falling out and conditioning them so they don’t break as easily,” says Rebecca Kazin, M.D., of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology. “The conditioning agents strengthen lashes against daily stressors like mascara and curling.”
So if you use mascara daily and/or curl your eyelashes often, chances are you’re damaging your lashes and might benefit from the conditioning aspects of lash enhancers. On the other hand, virgin lashes may not see as much of a result, though it certainly won’t hurt you to use one (assuming you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients). With continued use, you’ll see stronger lashes that are less prone to breakage and fall out at a slower rate.
When searching for the one that’s right for you, Dr. Kazin recommends finding one with biotin and antioxidants. “Biotin is known to strengthen hair and nails, and plant extracts high in antioxidants and vitamin B help protect, nourish and revitalize,” she says. Plus, the antioxidants neutralize free radical damage and slow the breakdown of the hair follicle. But be careful to avoid any ingredient that might cause irritation. Your eyes are sensitive, so you might try on a small area first to ensure that you won’t have a negative reaction.
For optimal results, use these types of products on bare lashes. “Consistency is key. It can take a full eight weeks to see any sign of results, so be patient,” says Dr. Kazin. “Take before and after pics and compare after eight weeks to see if progress is being made.” She also recommends stopping the damage you’ve already done by avoiding mascara, curling your eyelashes and professional lash extensions, which can pull lashes.
Ready for stronger, fuller lashes? Here are the best eyelash enhancers as picked by Dermstore.com editors:
For use on both lashes and brows, this serum contains polypeptides to improve the look of length, thickness and volume of the hair while protecting against breakage. One Dermstore.com user noted that even though it took about six weeks to take effect, she was very impressed by the results.
This serum harnesses a unique combination of multiple peptides, vitamins and conditioning agents with its new Widelash™ Technology formulation, which helps enhance both lashes and brows. Free from hormones, this product is ophthalmologist- and dermatologist-tested and safe for sensitive eyes and contact wearers.
Reveal healthier, more lustrous lashes with this formulation of polypeptides, sodium hyaluronate and pumpkin seed extract, which creates fuller, thicker-looking, more voluminous lashes.
If your lashes are looking dull, sparse or fine, give them a volumizing boost of active botanicals. This lash conditioner contains panthenol to stimulate, sweet almond extract to hydrate and wheat proteins to thicken and lengthen.
With biotin, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, aloe vera, panthenol and peptides, this nutrient-rich eyelash conditioner encourages healthy follicle growth, helps to repair environmental damage and promotes a full, voluminous lash line. Each order contains a six-month supply.
This clear, gentle treatment nourishes and enhances the natural beauty of your lashes. It’s designed to strengthen and support each hair fiber with its formulation of plant extracts and lecithin.
Great for either eyebrows or eyelashes, this fast-acting formula uses special peptides to create a fuller, thicker, more luminous lash line. One Dermstore.com user said she noticed a difference in as soon as two weeks.
If your lashes are prone to breakage, this eyelash tonic locks in moisture and improves elasticity and lash strength. The formula contains aloe, watercress and comfrey and glides on easily and evenly with a curved applicator brush.
Using a combination of peptides, biotin, hyaluronic acid and folic acid, this lash conditioner extends the life of each follicle and prevents thinning. Its lightweight formula moisturizes to minimize breakage and brittleness, and the antioxidants protect against environmental damage.
Formulated without prostaglandin analogues, which can irritate eyes, this eyelash conditioner is a good option for those with sensitive eyes. Depending on the state of your lashes, you may even see results as soon as two weeks, with full results by week eight.
For those who have experienced eye irritation from lash enhancers before, LashFOOD might be for you. Dermatologist-tested and approved, this lash enhancer makes use of ingredients that have been naturally sourced, without harmful chemicals and synthetic dyes that could potentially irritate your skin and eyes. Featuring a powerful blend of medicinal herb extracts, this enhancer transforms thinning lashes into longer, thicker, stronger and healthier lashes in just four to eight weeks