We updated this article in April 2022 to include additional information about lash growth serum safety following the settlement of three class-action lawsuits made against Rodan + Fields Lash Boost, and removed five products that contain isopropyl cloprostenate. The remaining lash growth serums below have been vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute's Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab.
Left and right, beauty products are promising consumers the natural lashes of their dreams, but the truth is that most of those products won't work in the long-run or even at all unless you use a prescription product.
"An eyelash growth product should help stimulate the growth of hair of the eyelash," explains Birnur Aral, Ph.D., director of the Beauty Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. "For hair growth, a product’s actives must reach the hair follicle, and as such ... should be regulated as a drug." The FDA allows lash growth products to be marketed as both a drug and a cosmetic as long as they comply with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) requirements for both.
Are eyelash growth serums safe?
It's a good question: Like eyebrow conditioning treatments, lash growth serums that make strictly cosmetic claims (such as “nourishing” or giving lashes “the appearance of fullness”) should be safe for most people to use. But recently, Rodan + Fields faced scrutiny over its Lash Boost for using the ingredient isopropyl cloprostenate, a derivative of the active ingredient in Latisse. A federal class-action lawsuit was filed, stating that it violated consumer protection laws by failing to disclose the use of this specific ingredient, since it has drug-like activity in a cosmetic product but is not regulated by the FDA. In March 2022, the company settled for $38 million and agreed to make changes to Lash Boost labeling.
Do eyelash growth serums really work?
The conditioning treatments in lash serums contain ingredients like peptides to promote healthy hair follicles, vitamins like biotin to strengthen lashes, and amino acids, plant extracts, and oils (such as pumpkin seed extract and castor oil) that may prevent existing lash hair from falling out. These ingredients work by moisturizing and strengthening existing lashes and the surrounding skin, which in turn helps promote healthier and fuller-looking lashes.
To find the best lash serums, the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab combed through marketing claims and product ingredient lists to ensure that these cosmetics do not contain any bimatoprost derivatives, making them safe for general use. Not sold? A surefire way to achieve fuller, longer lashes is with cosmetics: find a great mascara, get eyelash extensions, wear magnetic eyelashes, or use an eyelash curler. Otherwise, here are the best serums for eyelash growth:
- Easy to apply
- Has potential side effects
- You can't buy in-store
Latisse is the only FDA-approved eyelash growth serum on the market, making it the best prescription-strength eyelash growth serum available. It's a prescription drug so you'll need to see your doctor to get ahold of it. If using, make sure to only apply on the upper lid, since spreading it elsewhere will trigger hair-growth wherever it's applied.
Just note: there have been a few reports that Latisse turned blue and green eyes brown, but this is a disclosed side effect of this prescription treatment and the generic version of Latisse, bimatoprost.
- Nourishes lashes
- Easy to apply
Biotin and peptides are the star ingredients in this eyelash growth serum. "I would say this serum thickens the eyelashes and lengthens them," says one reviewer. "When I look to the side and into the mirror I can see how long they have gotten. From the front, they look thicker and shiny even. Easy to apply, and I just apply once a day." To use, apply it like you would a liquid eyeliner.
- Easy to apply
- Innovative design
Behold: the 2-in-1 applicator we have all been waiting for. Instead of having to choose between a wand and a brush, this dual brush allows product to reach every lash. The serum uses an 11% peptide-based complex that claims to dramatically enhance lash length, thickness, density and fullness.
- Repairing formula
Repair damaged lash hairs with a restorative serum like this one. It uses arginine, an ingredient that helps with blood flow, which in turn helps stimulate follicles and therefore revitalizes hair.
- Targeted application
Use this serum on both your upper and lower lashes to hydrate existing lashes. The mix of vitamins and active botanicals support the natural lash cycle, helping them look healthier and fuller. “The fine tip is great for precise application so that product doesn’t run into eyes and is not wasted in the process,” says Aral.
- Natural formula
- Nurtures lashes
This nourishing product uses ingredients that are 100% plant-derived and/or organic — such as aloe and castor oil — which help to nurture and enhance existing lashes. Even more: you can use this eyelash serum even if you have extensions.
- Natural formula
- Easy to apply
The peptide-infused eyelash treatment helps to strengthen and nourish existing hairs with a 99.49% natural formula and claims to provide longer and thicker lashes. Simply sweep the brush along the upper lash line the same way you would with eyeliner, and apply every night for best results.
- Can be applied twice daily
- Brand says it's good for sensitive eyes
This lash serum helps fortify lashes to make them healthier and stronger. Packed with amino acids, this is perfect for anyone suffering lash damage from lash extensions, lash curlers or daily makeup use. "I've been using this product for a few weeks and I have fallen in love with it," one reviewer says. "It has not only grown my lashes out a bit, but I feel like they are thicker too."
- Helps firm and moisturize entire eye area
- Gentle formula
Unlike many lash serums, this one is also formulated for use around the entire eye area as an anti-aging product. "I have noticed my lashes are longer and thicker after using this product for a few months," says one reviewer. "It is very gentle, unscented, and non-irritating and I have sensitive skin and tolerate it well. "
- Peptides help repair damaged lashes
This is perfect for those who want to test out lash serums without committing to a pricier product. The peptides in it help repair damaged lashes by strengthening existing hairs, giving them a fuller-looking appearance.