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Do eyelash serums work? Experts weigh in on the popular treatment

This might be worth a spot in your beauty routine if you're looking for longer, fuller lashes.
Woman putting on Eyelash serum
Kara Birnbaum/ TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

If you're dreaming of doe-like lashes but can't be bothered with falssie and extensions, you may want to consider an eyelash-enhancing serum. But what exactly do these treatments entail?

To get the scoop on everything from how they work to the right way to use them, Shop TODAY consulted a few experts. Plus, we've rounded up a few popular lash-enhancing options to consider and other boosting options that promise gorgeous lashes in a snap.

How do they work? | The right way to apply it | More application tips | Eyelash serums | Falsies and mascaras | Meet the experts

How do eyelash serums work?

“They generally contain ingredients like panthenol and argan oil to smooth and condition lashes, humectants such as hyaluronic acid to plump lashes, and peptides to stimulate the lash’s hair follicle," says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

So how do you know which treatment's right for you? That depends on what your end goal is.

"I think the consumer needs to determine if they desire true regrowth or just conditioning and pick ingredients accordingly," says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah. "Serums that do not contain bimatoprost and isopropyl cloprostenate or a comparable prostaglandin are more lash conditioners, which likely make lashes look fuller or longer by hydrating them but don't truly stimulate growth."

“Unfortunately, we don’t have any head-to-head studies comparing the effectiveness of one product to another, so you’ll have to rely on the reputation and science provided by each brand and give them a try,” Zeichner notes.

Both physicians caution users to be careful when trying out any of these treatments. "Apply as directed, avoiding the eyelid and eye itself," advises Shah. "Before using, patch test it on another part of the skin, such as the inner arm."

If you develop a reaction like redness or stinging, wash the product off right away and stop using it. If the reaction is severe, contact your physician.

How do you properly apply eyelash serum?

While most serums have a very similar application process, there are a few out there that apply differently. Celebrity lash specialist Victoria Dinh suggests reading the instructions for your particular product first. “For the most common process, dip the brush or put one to two drops of the serum onto the brush and evenly apply the serum right above your lash line from one end to the other,” she explains.

The second application type is to apply the solution directly onto your lashes near the roots. Depending on the product, the application may differ. So be sure read the instructions before applying.

Tips for applying eyelash serum

To make sure you're getting the most out of your serum, you'll not only want to apply it properly using the guidance above, but also make sure you're following these tips.

  1. Make sure your eyelids and lashes are clean before applying. “This helps the absorption of the serum on lashes and roots, giving you faster and better results," says Dinh.
  2. Make sure it's the final step in your skin care routine. Makeup, oils and creams can make the serum lose its concentration
  3. Avoid getting serum in your eyes. It can cause irritation and redness. If you do get it in your eyes, rinse it out immediately.

Best eyelash growth serums

Pure Body Naturals Organic Castor Oil

If you want to keep it simple, castor oil is a natural option you can use as a lash serum. “It takes longer to see results, but is a very effective option,” Dinh explains. This option from Pure Body Naturals comes with applicators to help you carefully apply the oil to your eyelashes.

jane iredale PureLash Extender and Conditioner

Loaded with stimulating, soothing ingredients like panthenol, wheat protein and sweet almond extract, this serum gives your lashes a volumizing boost while creating a healthy environment for growth.

Vichy LiftActiv Eyes and Lashes Serum

This serum is meant to fortify lashes while acting as an anti-ager to improve the appearance of crow’s feet and wrinkles around the eyes. It’s made of 10% rhamnose, a naturally derived plant sugar proven to renew skin, and hyaluronic acid for extra hydration.

Shiseido Full Lash and Brow Serum

This high-performance serum is formulated with arginine, which helps restore and condition delicate hair like eyelashes, and easily absorbs into your roots. The result? Strong, silker eyelashes rich with shine and sheen.

Neogen Dermalogy Extra Long Lash Metal Serumcara

Instead of using two different products for serum and mascara, opt for the "serumcara" from Neogen Dermalogy. It has a metal wand that's designed to easily coat your lower lashes and the innermost corners. Plus, instead of the brush you'd normally see for either product, the metal wand can be easily cleaned between uses.

Commerce partnerships coordinator Sydney Weber says it "truly kills two birds in one stone in the most effective way!"

Lancôme Cils Booster Lash Revitalizing Serum

Dealing with damaged, over-processed lashes? This lightweight eyelash growth serum from Lancôme touts the ability to reverse the long-term effects of harsh makeup, eyelash curlers and falsies using nourishing amino acids that help condition lash follicles. Plus, the kerasolution formula is suitable for those with sensitive eyes.

RapidLash Eyelash and Eyebrow Enhancing Serum

This formula is designed to enhance the appearance of lashes and brows using polypeptides to improve the length, thickness and volume of the hair while protecting against breakage.

Envious Lashes Luxuriating Lash Conditioning Serum

Loaded with natural and botanical-based ingredients — including organic argan oil, biotin, vitamins and antioxidants — this nourishing formula promises stronger, fuller looking lashes after two weeks of use, according to the company.

GrandeLash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum

Recommended by Dinh, this lash enhancing serum will help you achieve the long, thick lashes of your dreams due to its blend of peptides, amino acids and vitamins. The brand says you'll begin noticing a welcomed change in your lashes in four to six weeks.

Brow Code Multi-Peptide Growth Serum

Want fuller lashes and thicker eyebrows? Look no further. This product has brushes on both ends with a growth serum that contains a triple peptide blend, vitamin B5, hyaluronic acid, pumpkin seed extract and biotin, all to promote growth and volume, according to the brand.

Lashfood Phyto-Medic Eyelash Enhancing Serum

Made with a blend of organic ingredients including herbal extracts, amino acids, lavender water and coconut and aloe leaf juices, this mix is supposed to support regrowth and slow the loss of lash hairs.

neuLash Lash Enhancing Serum

This serum is meant to nourish thinning lashes with a formula that contains moisture-boosting polypeptides and sodium hyaluronate. It also contains pumpkin seed extract, which is meant to make lashes appear fuller.

HydroPeptide Lash Longer, Fuller, Lusher

This lash magnifier aims to improve the appearance of sparse lashes by utilizing key growth ingredients like peptides, biotin and folic acid. Hyaluronic acid provides moisture and minimizes breakage, while antioxidants defend against environmental damage.

RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner

This lash conditioner was developed by an ophthalmologist to address the signs of eyelash aging, including dry, brittle lashes. Peptides, green tea extract, antioxidants, biotin, lipids, ginseng and plant extracts are meant to strengthen and soften lashes and prevent breakage.

Rodan + Fields Lash Boost

Dinh believes this is one of the best lash serums on the market. Meant to be applied nightly, it conditions your lashes overnight and is infused with technology to help enhance the length and volume while building protection against breakage.

Fake eyelashes and mascaras

If you're looking to go the more traditional route to long lashes, we've also rounded up some of our favorite false lashes, mascaras and more.

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous X Fiber Mascara

This unique mascara requires two steps. First, apply the black primer (which contains paraffin and beeswax) to build volume and create a base for color. Then, before the primer dries, flip the wand over and stroke on the fiber-infused pigment to add length and create a lash fringe effect.

Eylure Luxe Cashmere No. 6 Lashes

These “cashmere” lashes are actually made of “mink-effect fibers” — so in other words, hairs that mimic the look and feel of mink. You can apply to the lash line using traditional eyelash glue, then gently peel off at night.

IT Cosmetics Tightline 3-in-1 Lash Primer-Eyeliner-Mascara

The skinny wand on this primer/mascara coats lashes at the root to create a lash-lengthening effect. Simply press the wand along the base of the lashes to deposit pigment which, in effect, lines the eyes and then coat lashes from root to tip.

Kiss Falscara Lengthening Lash Starter Kit

If you just want to fill in certain parts of your lash line to give it a fuller look, this starter kit from Kiss is perfect for you. It has smaller sections of lashes that you can place wherever you desire. Associate SEO editor Kamari Stewart was introduced to the kit by one of her best friends who swears by it. "After her makeup artist used it for her bridal trial, she was obsessed and uses them almost every day," Stewart says.

Arishine Magnetic Eyelash Kit

Invisible magnets line the “upper” and “under” lash strips. You simply place the lashes above and below your natural lashes, and the magnets will lock them in place — no adhesive required. To remove, gently roll your index finger and thumb in the opposite direction and the lashes will slide right off.

Lashify The Control Kit

These DIY extensions, made of synthetic silk fibers, are designed to be applied under your natural lash line (not over like with traditional false lashes) so they blend in with your natural lashes. You just comb the adhesive onto your lashes, position the extensions where you’d like them placed, then clamp the base of the extensions with your natural lashes using the application wand.

Meet the experts

  • Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist. He is Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology and an Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
  • Dr. Sejal Shah, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology in New York City. She practices all aspects of dermatology, with expertise in cosmetic dermatology and lasers, hair loss and ethnic skin.
  • Victoria Dinh is a celebrity lash specialist based in California and the founder of her namesake brand.