Sometimes, a thicker, fuller, and longer lash can’t be achieved with a coat of your favorite mascara. Or, maybe you’ve noticed that lashes just don’t look as full and luscious as you’d like—and that’s when you need to bring out the professional-grade treatments. The solution? Latisse.
Unlike other lash serums, Latisse is the only FDA-approved solution to combat hypotrichosis, the medical term for having an insufficient amount of eyelashes. If you’re looking for a proven, effective, and safe treatment to grow, thicken, and darken your lashes, Latisse might be an option for you.
Below, we break down everything there is to know before using your first dose of Latisse.
What Is Latisse?
Latisse is an FDA-approved treatment used to grow lashes, specifically for people who have trouble growing hair around the eye, have scant lashes, or are experiencing eyelash loss due to stress or illness. “Interestingly, it was actually an eye drops medication used to treat glaucoma, a condition that can cause vision loss due to high eye pressures,” explains Dr. Ashley Brissette, M.D., Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medicine. “A known side effect of this medication was that it was making patients eyelashes long and thick, so it was re-marketed as an eyelash treatment.”
Dr. Anna Guanche, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and celebrity skincare expert, gives us even more insight. “Latisse is a solution applied to the root of the eyelashes that helps to increase the growth, length, thickness, and darkness of eyelashes. It is beneficial for people who may have a genetic disorder that causes thinner eyelashes by helping stimulate hair growth through the specially created formula,” she says. “The active ingredient in Latisse, bimatoprost, mimics the natural chemical within our body that stimulates hair growth for our eyelashes to assist people who have a deficiency in the natural chemical, prostaglandin.”
Benefits of Latisse
- Increases eyelash thickness
- Encourages eyelash growth
- Can be used with contact lenses
- Safe and effective
Latisse is safe, effective, and suitable for use on most people who experience eyelash loss. The main ingredient in Latisse, bimatoprost, encourages eyelashes to grow thicker and longer. “The active ingredient that assists in eyelash hair growth includes bimatoprost, which is a compound derived from fatty acid that binds to receptors in the hair follicle, increasing hair growth, length, darkness and thickness,” Guanche explains.
You can expect to see results within a few weeks while using Latisse. “The growth cycle of an eyelash is two months, so you need to use it for this amount of time to see full results, but people often start noticing improved growth after a few weeks,” says Brissette.
How to Prepare for Latisse
Before you apply Latisse, make sure your face is completely clean, taking care to remove any eye makeup using a balm or oil cleanser. After cleansing, dry your face thoroughly. If you wear contacts, remove them before applying your treatment.
What to Expect While Using Latisse
Using Latisse is incredibly easy. To apply, simply put a few drops of the Latisse solution to the thin, eyeliner-like brush and gently brush along the base of your upper lash line. Start from the inner corner of your eyelid and draw a line towards the outer corner, just like you’re applying your favorite eyeliner. “I usually recommend getting a thin eyeliner brush from a beauty store (instead of the one that comes with the product), applying the drop to the brush, applying a thin layer right at the base of the eyelashes. You should avoid getting it too much on the eyelid skin or allowing it to drip into the eyes,” advises Brissette. After applying the solution, use a tissue to blot away any excess product. To avoid contamination, you should use a new eyeliner brush for each eye, and dispose of the wand after each use.
Latisse is not one of those “more is more” situations. You should only apply it once a day. Applying more than once a day will not make your lashes grow any faster.
One round of Latisse lasts 16 weeks. After a few weeks of use, you should start to see a noticeable difference in the length and fullness of your lashes. According to Brisette, “The growth cycle of an eyelash is 2 months, so you need to use it for this amount of time to see full results but people often start noticing improved growth after a few weeks.” If you decide to continue with your treatment, you should speak with your doctor.
Potential Side Effects
While using Latisse is incredibly safe, there are a few side effects to be aware of. “Some develop redness of the skin in treated areas, due to increased blood flow. As long as it is not itchy or bothersome, this is a tolerable effect,” Guanche says. “Those who have green eyes should be cautioned about eye color darkening. This was not reported in the studies from Latisse, where it was placed on the skin of the lid, but was rarely reported in individuals using latanoprost for glaucoma. Blue and brown eyed people are unaffected.”
Brissette says that most people tolerate Latisse well, but doesn’t recommend it for people with sensitive eyes or those pregnant or breastfeeding, “I don’t recommend it to people with sensitive skin or eyes as it can lead to redness, dryness of the eyes and even formation of styes in some people. It is also not recommended for use if pregnant or breastfeeding.” There is also potential to experience darkened eyelids where you apply the product, but this can be reduced by making sure to apply only what you need right along the lash line.
Latisse is available via prescription only, however there are numerous websites like Hers, Apostrophe, and Rory where you can purchase Latisse with a free online doctor visit. The average cost of Latisse from these websites ranges anywhere from $99 for a 30-day supply, to $110 for a subscription.
Generic Bimatoprost is typically covered through insurance and medicare, but if you're looking for the brand name prescription, Latisse typically costs anywhere from $50 to $100 through your pharmacy.
Latisse is not a permanent solution to eyelash loss. It is usually only effective while you’re using the solution—so once you stop using it, you might see a decrease in length and fullness after a few months. If you do, you can see a doctor to discuss continuing treatment. Latisse can be used repeatedly as long as you don’t develop any adverse side effects.
If you wear contact lenses, you should wait about 15 minutes after applying the solution to put them back in. You can use mascara while using Latisse, however, you’ll want to make sure that all of your mascara is removed from your eye area while applying Latisse, as it can prevent the solution from fully penetrating your lashes.
The Final Takeaway
If you’re experiencing lash loss or a decrease in lash fullness, Latisse is a safe, effective, and easy way to grow your lashes back to their full glory. After one treatment, you can expect your results to last a few months before possibly needing another round.