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The seemingly universal desire for longer, more lush lashes is nothing new. Women first started applying, wait for it, beads of wax as an early form of mascara in 1910; there’s also evidence that the ancient Egyptians attempted to emphasize lashes as far back as 4000 BC. Point being, it’s safe to say that women always have, and always will, want longer lashes.
There are of course now plenty of mascaras out there that can deliver such, as well as the option of falsies and eyelash extensions. But if those just aren’t doing it for you, you may want to consider a lash growth serum. To be fair, calling them ‘growth’ serums is a little misleading. There are very few ingredients that will actually stimulate new growth—bimatoprost, the active ingredient in prescription-only Latisse, and prostaglandins are two common ones. While some OTC products used to contain these (and as such had impressive results) a recent crackdown by the FDA has caused many brands to reformulate without them.
But that doesn’t mean that the various options out there are ineffective. Most rely on a long list of moisturizing ingredients and/or follicle-stimulating peptides to leave your lashes stronger and more conditioned—and subsequently looking darker and more dramatic. They’re ideal whether you simply want your lashes to really start to pop, or are trying to rehab them after they’ve taken a beating.
Ahead, we tapped NYC-based lash expert Jas Imani to share what makes for a top-notch lash growth serum and rounded up the best products on the market.
Best Overall: Grande Cosmetics GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum
A cult-favorite with a long list of devoted fans, both Imani and Byrdie Email Editor Karli Bendlin rave about this pick, with Imani calling it, “tried and true.” A combo of vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids work to leave lashes longer and thicker. Skeptical? Try the trial-size, a six-week supply that delivers initial results. (The standard size contains three months-worth, the recommended time to see full results.)
What Our Testers Say
"I've continued to use the serum as directed every single day and am almost at the 90-day mark, and my lashes have grown very full, thick, and long." — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Pronexa Hairgenics Lavish Lash Serum by Hairgenics
Biotin, castor oil, and peptides are the stars of the show in this multi-tasking serum, which has the added benefit of working well on both brows and lashes. It’s hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested, and vegan and cruelty-free, too. Use it daily for at least two months for the best results.
Best Budget: InstaNatural Eyelash Enhancing Serum
Lash serums can be pricey, and understandably perhaps not a category where people are immediately ready to shell out the big bucks. That’s largely why we appreciate this wallet-friendly version. It helps promote a healthy hair growth cycle so that your lashes can both get longer and thicker with continued use. And it’s vegan and cruelty-free, too.
Best Strengthening: RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner
You use a conditioner for the hair on your head, and your lashes are no different. True to the name, this one delivers plenty of conditioning benefits, while also preventing breaking and brittleness, keeping them soft, supple, and strong. In fact, in a six-week consumer study, 98% of participants said their lashes were stronger and looked better overall.
Best Natural: LashFood Phyto-Medic Eyelash Enhancing Serum
Those looking for a cleaner option will appreciate that this choice is free of a litany of chemicals, so much so that it’s even Ecocert certified. It relies on medicinal herbs to reinforce lashes, plus strengthening soy protein, as well as soothing lavender water to minimize irritation. It’s another one of Imani’s go-to's. “You need to be patient because it works slowly, but this is a lash serum I’d recommend for everyone since it’s so nutrient-rich. I’ve seen it make lashes thicker,” she tells us.
Best for Sensitive Eyes: LiLash Purified Eyelash Serum
Irritation around the eyes is the most common potential side effect with any type of these serums. If your skin and eyes are on the sensitive side, consider this one. It’s physician-developed and ophthalmologist-tested to be non-irritating on sensitive eyes (and even okay for contact lens wearers.) Satisfied shoppers—it consistently pulls in top rankings—agree, repeatedly noting that it works without irritating.
Best Fast-Acting: Borboleta Lash Serum
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll have to use any type of lash serum (or brow serum, for that matter) diligently for a few months if you want to see results. In other words, they’re not a quick fix. That being said, this one works faster than others. “This is the one I’m currently using and I’ve seen major growth within just a few weeks,” says Imani. According to the brand, you’ll see the maximum results in just eight weeks, much faster than the claims of many other comparable products.
Best Protective: neuLASH Lash Enhancing Serum
If you want to both improve the condition of your current lashes and help protect them from future damage, swipe on this serum. Pumpkin seed extract makes for fuller-looking, more voluminous lashes (who knew), and it also contains peptides and sodium hyaluronate to protect and strengthen them. It’s an especially good choice if your lashes are sparse or brittle.
Best Splurge: Dr. Lara Devgan Scientific Beauty Platinum Long Lash Serum
This one is a bit on the pricier side, but Imani has personally used this option and can vouch for the legit results: “My lashes grew out longer after about three months,” she says. Vitamin B5 conditions the hairs, while peptides and clover extract supports the follicle. It’s a fan-fave on Sephora too, with reviewers raving about how well it works, and with minimal irritation at that.
Best Multitasker: RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum
Panthenol is the provitamin—a precursor, or substance that the body can convert into a specific vitamin—for B5. It binds to and holds water effectively, moisturizing the skin and helping it maintain softness and elasticity.
The proprietary active ingredient complex in this formula relies on a laundry list of good-for-your lashes ingredients. We’re talking strengthening peptides, growth-supporting biotin, conditioning panthenol, vitamin-rich pumpkin seed extract, and soybean oil to make your lashes look extra lush. Plus, it works equally well on brows, so you get even more bang for your buck.
Best for Extensions: Envious Lashes Lash Conditioning Serum
This serum was created by lash expert Clementina Richardson, whom beauty editors and celebs alike flock to for all kinds of lash needs. She’s known for her amazing extensions, so it’s no surprise that this formula is meant to be used with extensions. The botanical-based formula will keep your natural hair strong and healthy, minimizing the wear and tear extensions can admittedly have. We also appreciate the mascara wand-like applicator, which makes it easy to coat every lash.
If you’re going to try any lash serum on this list, make it the Grande Cosmetics GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum. This cult-favorite is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids that leave lashes longer and thicker—and trust, it really works. It’s also pretty affordable to boot. Another top choice is the Pronexa Hairgenics Lavish Lash Serum, which is infused with biotin, castor oil, and peptides to help your lashes grow healthy and thick. Bonus? It can be used on the brows, too. And finally, the key to maintaining long, luscious lashes is keeping them healthy, which is why we love the RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner. This conditioning serum leaves them soft and fluttery while preventing breakage and brittleness—making it a great choice for anyone recovering from extensions or a lash lift.
What to Look For in a Lash Growth Serum
Imani recommends looking for formulas that contain peptides, which she says are great for fortifying lash hair and helping it grow stronger. Peptides are also great for nourishing lashes that are brittle and frail, so consider them a must if you’ve been too rough with mascara removal or wear waterproof formulas on the regular.
You’re probably already familiar with biotin in supplement form, which is great for helping the hair and nails grow strong and healthy. Imani recommends looking for lash growth serums that also contain this powerful ingredient to help your lashes grow long and strong, too.
In order to maintain long and healthy lashes, you’ll want to look for a formula that contains conditioning ingredients to keep them soft and prevent future breakage. Alternatively, if you’re loving a formula that doesn’t contain conditioning ingredients, you can also purchase a separate lash conditioner to help maintain lash health.
Are lash growth serums safe?
In general, most lash growth serums are considered safe if used correctly and directions are followed closely. However, as Imani explains, it all depends on the ingredients in the formula. If you’re not sure of the safety of a product, she recommends consulting with your doctor about what may or may not agree with your body.
Do lash growth serums really work?
According to Imani, yes, they work! Because eyelashes are made up of over 90 percent protein, many formulas contain amino acids or peptides (the building blocks of protein) to help to nourish lash hair while repairing damage. Some formulas contain collagen, which also helps to repair damage and keep the lashes strong and healthy. These ingredients don't necessarily stimulate new growth, but by strengthening the lash hair, they'll lend your lashes a thicker, fuller, and longer appearance.
Very few formulas contain ingredients that will actually stimulate new growth, such as bimatoprost, which is the active ingredient in prescription-only Latisse, and prostaglandins.
What is in lash growth serum?
While the above-mentioned biotin, peptides, amino acids, and collagen are commonly found in lash growth products, Imani explains that what is in a formula will vary from product to product. “There are 101 different formulas,” she says. “Bimatoprost, which is a very active lash growth serum, can have some questionable side effects like a change in eye color. I like serums that contain biotin and peptides, as well as ingredients that condition lashes regardless of growth-triggering factors.”
Can you use lash growth serums with eyelash extensions?
According to Imani, you can pair lash growth serums with eyelash extensions. She recommends opting for a formula that focuses on lash health in order to strengthen your natural lashes throughout the life of your extensions.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any lash growth serums from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.
Meet the Expert
Jas Imani is a New York City-based lash and brow expert. She’s known for her incredible lash lifts, and often recommends (and uses) lash serums as part of a routine for maintaining beautiful, healthy lashes.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. “Blessed” with short, pale lashes (and an allergy to the glue needed for extensions), she’s constantly rotating various lash growth serums into her nightly routine.