what really works?

what really works?

More and more eyelash booster serums are popping up on the cosmetics market, promising length and density. Experts disentangle the true from the false on these “mascaras” which treat the look.

“If your eyelashes are thin, flat, sparse or spaced out, it’s a matter of genetics first and foremost. We are not all born equal at this level”, announces Dr. Séverine Lafaye, dermatologist in Paris and member of the French Society of Dermatology (SFD). Rather than wearing makeup or extensions to sport eyes deer, some rely on cures of care to boost eyelashes. These products cosmetics increasingly popular, which are similar to mascara care-packed transparencies are said to make eyelashes grow faster, longer and stronger.


Among the most famous formulas that launched the eyelash growth care market in the 2000s, some have been strongly attacked for their composition. And this, because of the side effects, sometimes serious, that they could cause. On the bench of the accused, one ingredient in particular: prostaglandin (located in the list of ingredients by the mention “prost”). “These are hormonal derivatives, the same ones that are used in eye drops formulas to treat glaucoma. In particular, they can cause opacification of the lens, spots, a change in color of the iris, or irritation,” confirms Sophie Strobel, cosmetic biologist. The latter is surprised that this ingredient is still authorized in the industry today and believes that it should be banned. In February 2022, the European Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCCS) also concluded in a official report that the use of prostaglandin analogues in cosmetic products could actually pose a risk to human health. However, this report has no legal value and several years may pass before a ban comes into force.

“Certainly, these formulas work very well on eyelash growth and quite quickly. The results are really visible”, recognizes the expert, before listing the many disadvantages of this controversial ingredient: “First, the eyelashes grow straight, which is not necessarily very aesthetic. Second, users often report falling as soon as they stop treatment. And in the worst case, they can also suffer side effects, some of which are not reversible. It was time for the European Union to take an interest in it. There are real problems with these derivatives, it is proven.

Another ingredient has also drawn the wrath of fervent defenders of the “clean beauty» : phenoxyethanol. And for good reason: the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) has long recommended that it no longer be used in hygiene products intended for the seat of children under 3 years old. Before retracting in 2019. “Under the conditions of cosmetic use, preservatives and in particular phenoxyethanol are safe for health”, assures Sophie Strobel, who recalls their role: “Whether they are of natural origin or not , they are essential for the preservation of products in cosmetics because they prevent bacteria from growing”.

The right ingredients, the right gestures

Luckily, the beauty industry is full of other ingredients proven to work on lash health and maintenance. “There is no need to resort to eyelash serums containing hormones and other ultrachemical ingredients,” insists Dr. Séverine Lafaye. “If you want to strengthen and sheathe them, you can apply pro keratin-based treatments with a bottle brush that will nourish them and improve their quality. You can also moisturize the hair fiber of your eyelash by simply using neutral emollient products, such as petroleum jelly.

Our selection of eyelash growth serums

To boost growth, biologist Sophie Strobel confirms the effectiveness of peptides, a safe bet in this area: “They are contained in most eyelash serum formulas today. They stimulate the synthesis of collagen and firm the skin, which allows the eyelash to be better anchored on the bulb”, explains the specialist, who generally recommends amino acids in these compositions, as well as biotin and provitamin B5. . “All of this will make it possible to ‘wake up’ dormant eyelashes during the telogen phase of their cycle, during which they fall. It’s not new eyelashes that you create out of thin air, because that’s not possible. It’s just existing eyelashes that we put back in the growth phase, ”she continues.

The experts are unanimous: there is therefore no miracle product, but only good actions to adopt on a daily basis to beautify your eyelashes, to be combined with regular care treatments rich in ingredients approved by institutions to reinforce these effects.


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