There isn’t a woman on the planet who wouldn’t like her real eyelashes to be longer. But like naturally airbrushed skin or personal access to Vogue’s closet round-the-clock, some things just can’t be done (okay, maybe for Anna Wintour). Now hold onto your eyelash curlers: Allergan thinks they’ve made longer lashes possible in their prescription growth solution, Latisse. It’s been FDA-approved since 2008, but just got Health Canada approval last year. But before you ditch your mascara, read on: we did the legwork to find out if Latisse is all it’s cracked up to be.
What is it?
Latisse, or bimatoprost ophthalmic solution, is the first and only Health-Canada approved treatment for inadequate, or not enough lashes. It’s a daily solution applied to the top lashes to make them grow longer, thicker and darker. It takes 16 weeks for full results.
It was discovered when patients who were being treated for glaucoma noticed that the drug was making their eyelashes grow, said Dr. Jerry Nolfi, a Toronto-based optometrist.
Does it work?
Celeb spokeswomen Brooke Shields and Claire Danes both vouch for Latisse. The drug’s before and after picture gallery features both Shields’s and Danes’s results, as well as other users’, and states that the promising-looking photos have not been retouched. But does it get the medical seal of approval?
It has a track record of efficacy, so when you apply it, it’s going to work, said Dr. Nolfi. But if you look at a lot of makeup products, they don’t always have the same results, because Latisse is a prescription product.
Is it safe?
Any drug that’s the first of its kind is going to raise a few eyebrows, not to mention safety concerns. Especially since there are all kinds of Latisse rumours about changing eye colour and skin discolouration. We asked Dr. Nolfi to set the record straight:
1. The most common side effects are itching and redness.
2. Latisse can cause hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the eyelid skin. But since Latisse is applied along the lashline, Dr. Nolfi says any dark spots shouldn’t be too noticeable on the upper eyelids.
3. Your eyes should not change colour from using Latisse. When patients on the drug from which Latisse was developed used the eye drop, it caused some blue or hazel eyes to turn more of a brown colour. It wasn’t reversible. But in that case, the solution was being used in the eyes, and Latisse should only be applied to your top lashes. They’ve even recommended you don’t use it on your lower lashes for risk of getting it in your eye.
When used properly, I think that the product is safe, especially considering you’re applying the product to your eyelashes only, not dropping it onto the surface of your eye, said Dr. Nolfi. Because Latisse falls into a prescription category, the drug is deemed safe, but only when a doctor thinks it’s safe for you.
What’s it cost?
Latisse is certainly preaching to the right choir, but it helps that they’re making a killing in collection. Latisse is listed at $120 for a month’s worth. Keep in mind it takes 16 weeks to see full results, and if you stop using it after that, your lashes will go back to normal. It raises some interesting questions about how far women are willing to go when you can buy a decent tube of mascara for around $6.
If my daughter were 19 and she wanted to go on Latisse to grow her eyelashes longer, I would have some reservations about that because I don’t see why you need to use pharmaceutical means, said Dr. Nolfi. It’s amazing to me that people would spend $1500 annually on their eyelashes.