This story begins with a happy accident. You know how sometimes something is intended for one purpose and then serendipitously discovered to be perfect for something else?
It’s kind of like how Rogaine’s original purpose was as a treatment for high blood pressure and Botox was first used to treat eye tics. We all know that both these products found other uses.
Well, it’s the same for Latisse. The active ingredient in Latisse is 0.03% bimatoprost, a prostaglandin analog, and it was used for treating glaucoma or ocular hypertension…until ophthalmologists began noticing that their patients were both recovering from glaucoma and sporting longer, darker, and fuller lashes.
And that’s how Latisse, the first FDA approved and seriously effective eyelash growth serum, came on the market in 2008. It skyrocketed to popularity quickly – ’cause after all, who doesn’t want gorgeous lashes – and stayed there because it actually works.
Does Latisse Work for Everyone?
Latisse’s active ingredient – bimatoprost – is impressively effective in promoting eyelash growth, but like all medications – Latisse may not work for 100% of the people who use it.
It does work for the vast majority of people, however (in clinical trials, 78% of participants saw significant eyelash increase by week 16) and as long as you don’t fall into the small percentage of people for whom bimatoprost doesn’t work, Latisse can produce dramatic results in lash length, fullness and darkness.
In one published FDA-reviewed clinical trial, around 140 volunteers’ eyelashes grew, on average, 25 percent longer, 106 percent thicker and 18 percent darker with Latisse than those in the non-treatment (control) group.
You must keep in mind, however, that results do vary from person to person and that the eyelash growth is not immediate. In fact, Latisse takes its sweet time to work.
Also, keep in mind that Latisse comes with side effects, the most notable one being that it can cause your eyes to darken. This means that light-eyed users can experience a darker (browner) eye color change. This side effect is permanent and will not change back even if you stop using Latisse.
So if you have light-colored eyes and want to grow longer and thicker lashes without turning your blue eyes brown – skip Latisse and go for a prostaglandin-free eyelash growth conditioner.
How Long Does it Take to See Results from Latisse?
Bimatoprost works by stimulating the growth of new eyelashes and considering that the natural lash growth cycle is about eight weeks, it can take awhile before you see results.
So expect to use Latisse for at least two months before seeing significant lash growth. You’ll notice around the two month mark that your lashes are longer, darker and that there are more of them.
But since each eyelash has a slightly different growth cycle, it will take longer than two months to see the full effects of Latisse. By the third or fourth month of continued use, pretty much all your eyelashes will have been Latisse-influenced and that’s when you will see the full, dramatic difference in your eyelashes.
Is the Eyelash Growth from Latisse Permanent?
I really wish it was, but unfortunately, you have to continue using Latisse in order to maintain the thick, lush lashes it produces. Once you stop using Latisse, your eyelashes will return to their normal state in a few weeks.
However, after your lashes have grown to their full length and thickness (after about 3 months), you can maintain the results by using Latisse 3 to 5 times a week instead of every single night.
Does Latisse Have Side Effects?
Latisse’s active ingredient, bimatoprost, does have potential side effects but they affect a very small percentage of patients. For example:
- The most common side effect of Latisse is itchiness in the eyes and/or eye redness. These side effects affect about 4% of patients who use Latisse.
- Less common side effects are dryness of the eyes and eye irritation.
- More serious side effects include eyelid skin darkening and redness of the eyelids. This is why you should be careful to apply Latisse only to your lash line and apply just enough to cover your lash line and not get on your eyelids. This eyelid skin change is a result of increased melanin in the skin but it is not permanent and will go away several weeks after you stop using Latisse.
- The most serious, and permanent, side effect is that bimatoprost can cause irises (the colored part of the eyes) to darken. This means that light-eyed users can experience a darker (browner) eye color change. This side effect is permanent and will not change back even if you stop using Latisse. For this reason, I don’t recommend light-eyed people to use Latisse.
- Another potential risk includes a very slight increased risk of glaucoma, although the FDA designated the active ingredient in Latisse as perfectly safe and unlikely to cause glaucoma
My Review of Latisse
My review is rather long, so here’s the short version:
- Super effective at producing dramatically longer, thicker lashes
- Works for about 80% of people who use it
- FDA approved
- Did I mention it works?
- It’s expensive – around $125 a bottle
- You need to get a prescription for it
- It has potential side effects – one of which can be permanent
Okay, and if you want to read the long version…here goes!
Honestly, Latisse is great. It’s the first eyelash growth serum I ever used – and only because my gynecologist (of all people) saw how sparse my lashes had gotten after eyelash extensions and gave me a bottle at a steep discount.
I applied it religiously *almost* every night and prayed I wouldn’t fall in the small percentage of people Latisse didn’t work for. And for about a month, I was pretty convinced Latisse wasn’t working for me ’cause I didn’t notice really visible results. I thought my lashes were getting a little fuller, but it was not enough of a difference to be real. I dismissed it as hopeful thinking.
But around the two-month mark, I started seeing real changes in my lashes. It was uneven at first, with a few long hairs interspersed among my shorter, stubbier lashes but it was enough for me to know that Latisse was working for me.
I continued using Latisse and even though I got really busy and skipped a few days here and there, my lashes were impressively, dramatically longer and thicker in a few more weeks. The third and fourth month of using Latisse was the best – my lashes were at the point where I couldn’t apply mascara without looking like I was wearing extreme falsies.
It was at around this point that my bottle of Latisse ran out (want to know how to make it last a loooong time? See below for tips). My lashes stayed bountifully lush for about a month before tapering off again to their normal length.
All in all, Latisse is very effective at what it claims to do: making your eyelashes grow a LOT. The only downsides to this product are the potential side effects and its price.
For brown-eyed women, like myself, the side effects don’t really matter, but if you have light-colored eyes, I would pass on Latisse and go for a prostaglandin-free eyelash growth conditioner. Those will nourish your lashes so they can grow longer and thicker without the side effects.
As for the price of Latisse, this is a huge downside since it’s already expensive ($125 for a tiny bottle), plus the expense of having to visit a doctor to get a prescription.
If the side effects don’t really apply to you but you’re not able to try Latisse because of the cost, I’d recommend that you go for a Latisse alternative – there are several eyelash growth serums that contain a prostaglandin ingredient that works to grow drastically longer, thicker eyelashes at a fraction of the price of Latisse.
Tips on Using Latisse
- Use Latisse after you’ve washed your face. The best time is after your nightly cleansing routine. Make sure your lashes are dry before applying.
- Use Latisse just once a day. Applying it more often won’t speed up the process and you really just need a little for it to do its job.
- Apply only to the top lash line – not your bottom lash line. Once you blink after having applied Latisse to the top line, a bit of it will get on your bottom lash line anyway.
- Don’t use the applicators they provide – at least not the brush part. That brush absorbs a lot of the serum so instead, either use the plastic end (squeeze a tiny, tiny bit of Latisse onto it and then apply to your lash line OR get yourself a very fine eyeliner brush and use that instead. Again, one tiny drop is more than enough for both eyes.
- In the case of Latisse, good things come to those who wait. It’ll take awhile so be patient and find a good mascara to keep your lashes lush in the meantime.