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With consistent use, these viral lash serums promise fuller eyelashes that are less prone to breakage. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The secret to a set of fuller eyelashes isn't in trips to the nearest esthetician. Several TikTok beauty content creators bid adieu to lash extensions, falsies and mascaras forever, because of a small tube of growth serum. Results are fast, plain as day and staggeringly impressive - if your lashes need a break, hold off on the beauty products and incorporate a lash serum instead.

We took down firsthand accounts by Kimia Nourtajalli, a Dubai-based makeup artist and stylist, with 12 years of industry experience in editorial and TV commercials, who credits lash serums for offering her a natural, healthier alternative. Our expert, Dr Neetu Chaudhary, a dermatology and aesthetics specialist with Medcare Medical Centre, Dubai, also tells us how you can use it safely, to the best effect.

Do eyelash serums actually work?

Serums for the lashes are not too different from over-the-counter hair growth tonics for the head. They stimulate the follicles and condition the eyelashes with natural ingredients, making them stronger, according to our dermatology expert.

"There are two types of lash serums that are readily available over the counter: peptide-based and vitamin-based. Peptide-based serums condition and strengthen the eyelashes using protein fragments to promote growth. Peptides stimulate the hair follicles as they do with the hair on the head. Vitamin-based serums usually feature biotin, which promotes healthy growth, and nourishing ingredients like panthenol, which is present in hair and nail vitamins for strengthening," explained Dr Chaudhary.

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Ingredients like biotin, panthenol, peptides are usually found in lash serums. Image Credit: Unsplash/Ali Shoaee

Both kinds are completely natural, and therefore, safe to use with no side effects. It's why beauty enthusiasts have no qualms trialling different products, with the hashtag '#lashserum' on TikTok shooting to 1.4 billion views. Nourtajalli said: "The new generation seems to be mostly into natural beauty, and I believe it's one of the reasons why lash serums are trending now. They work by supporting the growth of your lashes, helping them to grow longer and darker."

Medical-grade eyelash growth serums, however, are prescribed in the doctor's office, says Dr Chaudhary. She said: "A prostaglandin-based serum, like the FDA-approved Latisse serum, lengthens the growth phase of the hair cycle. But it has known side effects like dry eyes, discolouration of the skin, permanent eye colour change and more."

Luckily, some skincare brands have prostaglandin-free serums that mostly avoid prescription-strength ingredients. Others might use its derivatives at the end of the ingredients list, so the concentration is much lower.

Which ingredients work in an eyelash serum?

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A handful of lash serums do use prostaglandin for hair growth, so check in with your dermatologist to ensure safe application. Image Credit: Pexels/Shiny Diamond

Before we dive into the recipe for an effective lash serum, consider the severity of your hair loss. While eyelashes do become sparser with age, there are a lot of underlying causes that could need a doctor's attention.

"Most of the time it's because of the shortening of the lash growth cycle. With age, estrogen decreases and, in turn, collagen drops, so lashes brittle out and fall. But sparse lashes can also happen due to eyelash extensions, not using medical-grade lash glue, stress, chemotherapy, thyroid disorders, eczema and such," said Dr Chaudhary.

Over-the-counter lash serums are aplenty, but the ones that will make a difference should contain some of the following ingredients, per our dermatology expert: a moisturiser like hyaluronic acid, panethnol, biotin, phyto-peptides (those derived from plants), plant stem cells to protect from UV radiation and green tea extract that's nourishing to the lashes.

What's the best way to use an eyelash serum?

Nourtajalli also points out that these are familiar ingredients "you'll find in the best night creams and lipsticks". The only downside is that these serums work like vitamins, too - break the daily application cycle and your lashes will revert to their original volume.

"I experienced this twice where I lost the results after I stopped. The solution is to apply daily for at least two to three months to see the full results or else your lashes will return to their normal growth cycle," said Nourtajalli. Once your mandatory three-month application period is over, both Nourtajalli and Dr Chaudhary advise continuing the serum two to three times per week to maintain the best version of your lashes.

Lash serums come with a brush applicator in a mascara-like tube. All you have to do is remove any make-up thoroughly, then dab the upper lash line from the inside to the outer section, and head to bed. "You don't need to apply to the lower lashes as they'll absorb the product from the upper lashes," added Chaudhary.

When it comes to maintaining the health of your lashes at home, natural moisturisers are your best friend. Castor oil, coconut oil, aloe vera gel and vitamin E oil are all excellent products for nourishing the lashes. More expert advice cautions against non-medical lash glue, using old mascaras and rubbing the eyes.

Editor's tip
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We've curated a list of expert-recommended and internet-favourite lash serums below, so that you can finally pocket savings from skipping extensions. It's currently Beauty Week on Amazon, so you're in for some discounted buys. Shop with a Prime membership to get free, fast delivery.

1. Best Overall: Bonilash Eyelash Growth Serum

After trying multiple options, Nourtajalli says the Bonilash serum is the only one that's shown her immediate results. "I was introduced to the product by one of my regular make-up clients, who had longer, fuller lashes from the last time I saw her," she added. Nourtajalli has seen growth in just a little over a month of daily use. However, it is a prostaglandin-derived serum, featuring the active ingredient bimatoprost, which stimulates the growth of new lashes from the follicles, along with biotin, panthenol and urea. Take extra measures and consult with your dermatologist on best practice before adding the serum to your routine.

2. Best Prostaglandin-Free Serum: Olaplex Lashbond Building Serum Eyelash Enhancer

Hair care brand Olaplex has its own version of a prostaglandin-free lash serum. Recommended by Dr Chaudhary, the Lashbond Building Serum harnesses the power of hyaluronic acid, biotin and panthenol to support and sustain the natural growth cycle of your lashes. With a formula that's cruelty-free, vegan, paraban-free and phosphate-free, the serum helps with lash retention in the long run. It's so safe that you can follow it up with your regular make-up 90 seconds after application and apply twice daily. Many reviewers experience no irritation and write about longer, healthier lashes within a week of use. Those with sensitive eyes do report mild itchiness upon waking.

3. Best Premium Serum: LiLash Purified Eyelash Serum

The LiLash serum is another popular product noted by Dr Chaudhary. It's made with natural vitamins and minerals, like panthenol, a plant protein and glycerin, all of which encourage stronger hair follicles to reduce breakage. LiLash is ophthalmologist-tested and safe for sensitive eyes, despite carrying a prostaglandin. This two ml tube will last you three months of daily application, so you'll see results within one purchase. Reviewers notice longer lashes to the point that friends have been inspired to shop their own LiLash serum. People who have sensitive eyes spaced out their application to once every other day and see equally impressive results.

4. Best Budget: The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Lash and Brow Serum

Dr Chaudhary picks The Ordinary lash and brow serum as your most cost-effective option, since lash serums tend to be expensive in general. This multi-peptide product is a good place to start for testing the waters, especially if you want to avoid prostaglandins. It contains 5ml of serum, which is more than six months of supply. The oil-free, vegan formula has 11 active ingredients, from biotin and panthenol to four peptide complexes and caffeine. It's a twice-daily serum that works for both sparse eyebrows as well as lashes. The serum does encourage thicker growth, per reviews, but it can take a month of use to see results. Buyers pick it up after suffering from thinning lashes as a result of extensions and report back longer lower eyelashes, too.

5. Best Internet-Favourite Serum: Babe Original Lash Essential Serum

Babe Original's Lash Essential is a TikTok-favourite serum that uses biotin, amino acids, panthenol and a prostaglandin analogue to give you thicker, longer lashes. Together, the ingredients help with keratin production, nourishing the lash line and soothing the lids. It's meant to go on nightly, with one dip into the product covering both eyes. Lash fallout significantly reduced for reviewers and growth was seen instantly, but some do note irritation from the prostaglandin ingredient, while other five-star reviews say they've not experienced discolouration around the eyes or other known side effects. 

6. Best for Lashes and Brows: Terez & Honor Natural Eyelash Growth Serum and Brow Enhancer 

Here's another prostaglandin-free serum with a short ingredients list that keeps things simple. The Terez & Honor serum has been reviewed by many beauty enthusiasts on TikTok, all of whom sport long lashes after consistent use. It features multiple essential and non-essential amino acids with the addition of ginseng root extract. Reviewers say that their lashes are healthier and less prone to falling out when they remove make-up. Even those who've undergone chemotherapy vouch for this product's effect on their brows.

7. Best Value: Rapidlash Eyelash Enhancing Serum

Much like the Babe Original serum, the RapidLash formula contains a prostaglandin analogue toward the end of the ingredients list. It's preceded by a host of moisturising and strengthening polypeptides, biotin, amino acids, panthenol, soybean oil and pumpkin seed extract. Progress is slow, as reviewers note results after 12 weeks, but certain. They get compliments all around, with people mistaking their lashes for falsies. Many even turn to it after losing their eyelashes to extensions.

8. Best Natural Serum: Live Fraiche Castor Oil (59ml) + Custom Mascara Tube Lash Growth Serum

If you're still wary of lash serums, then opt for an all-natural solution. Live Fraiche offers 100 per cent pure, cold-pressed castor oil and a custom mascara tube for application in a hair growth bundle. The oil strengthens, thickens and conditions eyelashes thoroughly, including eyebrows. Reactive eyes find reprieve in castor oil, with five-star reviewers mentioning how gentle the product is. The key is to swipe the brush lightly along the lash line daily for noticeable results.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.