Do Lash Serums Actually Work?

Do you wish for long, fluttery eyelashes but feel that false lashes are a step too far?  Maybe you weren’t born with full, thick lashes or due to health issues and/or the menopause your lashes aren’t what they used to be and you feel tempted to try a lash serum.  Designed to strengthen, lengthen and pump up the volume of your lashes, serums are more popular than ever—especially now that beauty routines have shifted to be all about the eyes.

There are plenty of rave reviews and celebrity endorsements to be found on Instagram, but do these products actually work?  And more importantly, are they safe for your delicate eye area? Before you take the plunge, read what I have to say about lash serums if you want to give your lashes a boost.  It’s definitely time to make room in your beauty bag for an eyelash serum.  

What are lashes made up of?

Eyelashes, much like the hair on your head, are made up of protein and amino acids.  For long, healthy luscious lashes, you’ll want to strengthen and nourish the condition of your lashes which is where a lash serum can come in.

Eyelash serums work in a couple of different ways.  Some formulas contain specific growth-enhancing ingredients, which are designed to stimulate lash growth.  Whereas others contain ingredients that nourish and help to repair lashes, allowing them to naturally grow longer and stronger, enhancing the appearance and overall condition of the lashes.

Lash serums are lightweight, concentrated treatments that promise healthier, fuller lashes. Some are applied along the upper lash line with a fine applicator, and others are combed through the lashes like mascara.  While many lash serums claim to make your lashes longer, over-the-counter products typically act as lash conditioners.  They may help keep lashes healthy (and help them grow longer by preventing breakage), but they don’t contain active pharmaceutical ingredients proven to enhance lash growth.

What ingredients should you look out for?

Different eyelash serums often contain many similar ingredients, but it’s always good to know which are the stand-out ingredients to look out for.

If you’ve ever taken hair, skin and nail supplements – you’ll have probably heard of biotin.  And it’s a common ingredient within eyelash serums, too.  Biotin is a key B-vitamin that helps to strengthen keratin – the main protein that makes up your hair and lashes.

Another common ingredient within some lash serums is castor oil. This nourishing ingredient helps to moisturise lashes, helping them appear thicker and fuller.  Do beware of DIY castor oil remedies though.  Lash serums go through rigorous testing to make sure they’re safe to use and are delivered in a measured way.  Applying unregulated, neat oil close to your eyes is never a good idea.  Lash serums are commonly packed with peptides – which are believed to stimulate hair growth at the follicle.  They can also increase the flexibility of the hair, which in turn can help reduce any breakage of the lashes, helping them grow longer and stronger.

How do lash serums work?

Many over-the-counter eyelash serums work by hydrating and strengthening lashes so they appear a little fuller and are less likely to break.  Less breakage means that your lashes have a change to grow longer and fuller.  The formulas vary considerably from brand to brand, but some common ingredients found in lash serums are amino acids (to build healthy hair follicles), ceramides (to lock in moisture), panthenol (to hydrate and protect lashes from breakage), peptides (to nourish and strengthen lashes), and biotin (to improve hair’s health by strengthening keratin).

Are lash serums safe to use?

When used correctly (always read the instructions label!), lash serums are safe and easy to use.  As with any cosmetic product, some people might have allergies, so if you experience any tingling, itching or redness – stop using the serum immediately.  You can’t be too prudent as your eyes are your most sensitive organ, and the eyelids have the thinnest skin on the body.

Remember that some people can react to certain peptides, oils or other vitamins, whereas others will not.  Symptoms can include redness in and around the eyes, itchiness, inflammation and irritation.  To be on the safe side, you can check with a tiny amount before trying a lash serum—especially if you have sensitive skin, are prone to developing allergies or have a pre-existing eye condition.

Or you can also do a patch test; before trying a serum on your lashes, dab some on a test spot (away from the eyes) for several days to rule out an allergy.  If you do have an allergic reaction at any point, stop using the product immediately.

How to use an eyelash serum?

The best way to introduce an eyelash serum into your routine is by making it the final step of your skincare routine.  Apply each morning and evening on clean, dry lashes.  Some formulas have a mascara-like wand, making application super simple, whereas others have a fine brush, allowing you to paint the formula onto the lash line.

Can I use lash serums on my brows?

Most over-the-counter lash serums are perfectly safe for eyebrows. (Make sure to check the label and instructions.) Just as there isn’t scientific evidence that these serums grow lashes, there’s no data on how they affect eyebrows. But if nothing else, they’ll leave your brows well-conditioned and, like lashes, less prone to breakage.