This one is tricky, so we asked an expert. Here’s the truth. In a word, yes, lash serums do work. It’s how they work that’s important. Let’s keep it simple with five key points, shall we?
1. Lash serums can extend the growth cycle of the lashes you already have
Like the hair on our head, lashes grow a little every day (around .12mm) and go through a specific cycle:
- Growth phase (anagen): 1-4 months of growth, with about 15-40% of lashes in this anagen phase.
- Mature phase (catagen): a short transition step, when lashes stop growing and stay in place for a few days.
- Inactive phase (telogen): the sad stage, when lashes fall out. It takes about four to nine months for the next lash to come through, and 60-85% of lashes are in this telogen phase.
What do those numbers mean? “We only have 15-40% of the potential number of eyelashes,” explains Talika’s Asia Pacific president François Laurent. A lash serum can help by shortening the telogen phase and speeding up regrowth, and extending the catagen phase.
2. They will not produce lashes where they never existed
“It’s not possible to make an eyelash grow if there is no existing ciliary bulb,” states Laurent. The end. Don’t believe any product that promises otherwise.
3. Read the label
Are you holding a lash serum or a lash conditioner? “A lash conditioner doesn’t treat the concern but gives a cosmetic effect on the surface of the eyelash, so it appears healthier,” explains Laurent. Think of serums like skincare, and conditioners like primers.
4. Now flip it over and read the back
Steer clear of controversial ingredients like hormone derivatives or prostaglandin, and look for natural ones. “Toning plant extracts (like ginseng, horse chestnut, arnica, allantoin) stimulate cellular metabolism and microcirculation, reduce micro-inflammation, strengthen growth and limit loss, while peptides can improve the skin quality at the root to anchor the eyelash,” explains Laurent. Other good ones: vitamins B6 and B12, and amino acids (methionine, arginine, glutamine, cysteine) to strengthen, keratin, and nourishing silk proteins. Bonus points if you find one with peptides (acetyl hexapeptide-1) or plant extracts like coleus forskohlii, which stimulate melanin synthesis. Why? These help “lashes become visibly darker, especially at the almost invisible tips of those with blond or chestnut colouring,” says Laurent.
5. Shop around for a serum with clinical trials
This means the serum’s efficacy has been tested by independent and qualified laboratories. It’s all well and good for a brand to believe their product works – but science doesn’t lie.
Ready to try an eyelash serum?
These are a good place to start.