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Make up how to: Grow your own lashes

02:00 Mon Aug 15 2011
Melissa Williams-King
Make up how to: Grow your own lashes

A few years ago it would have sounded like science fiction, but today lash-growing cosmetic products are one of the hottest new categories in the beauty market.

For years Revitalash was the only product in the category — this lash conditioner was developed to help a woman suffering from cancer (and chemo-related eyelash loss).

But just a few years ago Latisse burst onto the international market, after doctors discovered a key ingredient in glaucoma eye-drops, the prostaglandin analogue bimatoprost, had the side effect of making patients' lashes much longer and thicker. After gaining FDA approval, this pricey lash growth drug hit the market in the US with help from celebs such as Brooke Shields and Clare Danes (who both showed impressive 'before' and 'after' photos in the ad campaign).

Says Dr Sarah Hart of Auckland's Palm Clinic: "The Latisse secret has spread quickly by word of mouth because of the visibly thicker, darker and longer lashes it gives my patients. Palm Clinic was one of the first to offer Latisse and our early patients had such impressive results their friends thought they'd had extensions. It has been fabulous for those with sparse, short lashes and has also been used to regrow over-plucked eyebrows."

Referring to the recent copycats on the market, she adds, "Latisse costs more but I'm happy to pay extra for the only eyelash treatment that is FDA approved and backed by medical research."

To get Latisse in New Zealand you need a doctor's prescription, but many beauty salons dispense Li'Lash, which also relies on a prostaglandin analogue to achieve lash growth (although it is does not have FDA approval).

Products containing these potent ingredients (prostaglandin analogues) have suffered some backlash lately — occasionally users can suffer side effects such as darkening near the lash line and, in extremely rare cases, a change in eye colour.

Enter a new crop of lash serums that rely on peptides to boost eyelash growth instead. Billed as prostaglandin-free, nonetheless the results claimed in their various research studies are still impressive. We've also been seeing a host of mass-market mascaras — from L'Oreal to Revlon to Rimmel — boasting of lash-boosting benefits.

Here are some of our favorite lash enhancers

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