Also known as eyelash lengthening
The eyes are a focal point of the face. Studies show that long eyelashes and large eyes are considered a sign of youth and beauty. Fuller and longer lashes will emphasize and frame your eyes, giving you a more refreshed, awake or feminine look without the need for mascara, false eyelashes or eyelash extensions. Fuller lashes also provide more protection for your eyes, shielding them from tiny particles in the air that cause irritation.
When to Consider Eyelash Enhancement
- If you have sparse, thin or nonexistent eyelashes
- If you commonly experience eye discomfort or irritation from small particles of dirt or debris in the air
- If you often use false lashes or eyelash extensions
Your aesthetic plastic surgeon will instruct you about the correct method for applying eyelash enhancer serum at home. Usually, you apply eyelash enhancer at night so the product can be fully absorbed and irritation is kept to a minimum. Application generally includes the following steps:
- Before applying any product, clean the face and eye area so that it is devoid of makeup, dirt and facial products.
- Remove contacts and false eyelashes or extensions, if applicable.
- Apply the product using a sterile applicator on the upper eyelashes going from the inside out. Do not apply in your eye or to the bottom lashes.
- Blot any excess and continue with the opposite eye (with either the same or a different sterile applicator).
- It is important to be consistent and to use as directed.
You need to talk to your plastic surgeon about the pros and cons and carefully read the directions that accompany the eyelash enhancer.
Options include nonsurgical eyelash enhancers as well as surgical eyelash grafting of individual hair follicles (see hair transplantation). For those seeking a simple, nonsurgical solution, there are a number of eyelash enhancement options to choose from.
What are the brand names for nonsurgical eyelash enhancement serums?
A large number of popular brands are available for enhancing your eyelashes. Latisse is the only prescription enhancer and is also one of the most well-known treatments. City Lash, Obagi Elastilash Eyelash Solution, Marini Lash Revitalash, SmartLash, neuLash, and Rapidlash are some of the other non-prescription eyelash enhancer serums currently available for lengthening thickening or conditioning your eyelashes.
Where can I obtain eyelash enhancement products? Are they offered over the counter, by prescription or through my plastic surgeon?
Eyelash enhancer serums are offered on the internet, at your local drugstore or department store, by prescription (Latisse, the first federally approved prescription drug) and through your plastic surgeon's office.
Why would I buy these products through a plastic surgeon when I can conveniently order them on the internet?
Safety, effectiveness and truth in advertising are all reasons for buying these products through your plastic surgeon's office. Because these serums are sold as cosmetics, they don't have to undergo the same testing as drugs. Your plastic surgeon can provide the quality control you need to be sure that the product you select is good for you. Your plastic surgeon will only offer those products that he or she believes will safely deliver the results that you desire. Eyelash enhancers are expensive and you want to make the best choice. It is also important that the product you purchase has the right active ingredient in the proper concentration to produce results. Your surgeon will also provide you with important information about the limitations and risks of these products and the need to follow directions carefully to avoid potential complications.
How do these products work?
These eyelash boosters work in two ways. First they contain a molecule similar to bimatoprost in Latisse, which prolongs the hair growth cycle so that your lashes don't fall out as often. They also strengthen your lashes by moisturizing them with ingredients like pro-vitamin B5 and humectants. The over-the-counter lash boosters contain a weaker molecule but it still can be effective if the proper active ingredient responsible for hair growth is present in the proper concentration.
How long will it take before my eyelashes appear thicker and longer?
Results are generally seen within two months, depending on the percent of active ingredients present in the product that you are using. Eyelash thickness is said to increase by the greatest percent, approximately 80% to 100% or more, with length increasing by approximately 25% and darkness by approximately 18%.
It's important to choose your surgeon based on:
- Education, training and certification
- Experience with eyelash enhancement
- Your comfort level with him or her
Members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are experienced and qualified to perform your aesthetic procedure. Learn how to select a surgeon.
After finding a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area who offers eyelash enhancement products, you will need to call the office to see what products are offered and when you can come in to learn more about them and about their effectiveness and safety. Generally, because of the in-depth nature of the consultation, there is usually a cost associated with the initial visit.
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss what you want to achieve through eyelash enhancement. Your plastic surgeon will evaluate you as a candidate for eyelash enhancement and clarify what this treatment can do for you. If there is another product or method that could help your particular situation, your doctor will recommend it and instruct you on proper application (see other related procedures).
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your complete medical history. This will include information about:
- Previous surgeries
- Past and present medical conditions
- Allergies and current medications
If you are a candidate for eyelash enhancement, your surgeon will share recommendations and information with you, including:
- Proper use of the product and how to apply it safely.
- Frequency of application for optimal effectiveness.
- Outcomes that you can anticipate.
- Your financial investment for the treatments.
- Associated risks and complications.
- Before and after photos of patients who have used enhancers and answer any questions.
For a general list of questions to ask your surgeon about his or her background, to find out about plastic surgery safety and to plan your procedure, visit the Planning Toolkit.
We developed these questions to help you:
- Make the most informed and intelligent decisions about your treatment.
- Confirm that you have the right surgeon for your procedure.
- Make your initial consultation as rewarding as possible.
- Understand your options, potential outcomes and risks.
It is important for you to take an active role in understanding this treatment, so please use this list of questions as a starting point for your initial consultation.
- Am I a good candidate for eyelash enhancement?
- Are the results I am seeking reasonable and realistic?
- Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for the procedure I am undergoing?
- What will be the costs associated with my treatment?
- What will you expect of me to get the best results?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my treatment?
- How are complications handled?
- What are my options if the cosmetic outcome of my treatment does not meet the goals we agreed on?
Results will last as long as the treatments are applied on a regular basis. Upon discontinuation of treatment, eyelash growth is expected to return to its pretreatment appearance over the course of several weeks to months.
Maintain a relationship with your aesthetic plastic surgeon
To ensure that you achieve an attractive and safe outcome, it's important to return to your plastic surgeon's office for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times and whenever you notice any changes in your eyelashes. Do not hesitate to contact your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns.
In addition to your surgeon's office visit fee, non-prescription eyelash enhancers can cost anywhere from $40 to $150. Latisse costs an average of $120 per bottle as a prescription. Because eyelash enhancement is an elective procedure, insurance does not cover these costs.
Choose your surgeon based on quality, training and experience—not cost.
See why ASAPS members are widely recognized for upholding the highest standards in the area of aesthetic plastic surgery by viewing their basic credentials, training, and certifications.
Fortunately, significant complications from eyelash enhancement are infrequent. Your specific risks will be discussed during your consultation.
Some of the potential complications of eyelash enhancement are:
- Redness, itchiness, dry eyes, darkening of irises.
- Skin darkening where the product is applied.
- Hair growth in areas where the product comes in repeated contact with the skin.
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your treatment.This article was originally published for Smart Beauty Guide and was legally licensed