The past few years have triggered a lash craze. Just walk down the street and you will see all kinds of women—from teens to seniors—with long, dark, fluttery lashes.
Lush lashes give a youthful appearance and enhance our eyes. “However, as we age, aging hair follicles slow down the production of new lashes, causing them to thin out,” says Chicago-based board-certified plastic surgeon and creator of JF Aesthetic MD Formula skincare Dr. Julius Few.
Available by prescription only, Latisse is one of the most effective products on the market to grow lashes. The FDA-approved eyelash lengthener contains bimatoprost, a drug used to treat glaucoma, and clinical results show that you can double eyelash fullness and darkness in eight to 16 weeks. Latisse is applied like eyeliner with a small brush to the upper lash line once a day. A one-month supply costs $120 and must be used on a daily basis to start working. Once lashes have lengthened, the product can be used every other day to maintain fullness. However, there are side effects such as irritation, dryness, and possible iris color change for those with light-colored eyes.
If you are not ready to commit to a prescription product, but still want glamorous, dark, natural-looking lashes, lash extensions may be the best option. “Even though new mascaras on the market promise to enhance lashes, women just love the convenience of extensions—they wake up and look gorgeous,” says Courtney Akai, owner of Courtney Akai Lash Boutique in New York City. “It is such a time saver, not to mention that unlike mascara, extensions do not clump and they give a much cleaner look than you get with mascara.”
Extensions are customizable and range from high-quality synthetic fibers to mink lashes. Akai explains that lash extensions last through a full growth cycle of natural eyelashes, typically six to eight weeks. “That said, because each person’s lash growth is somewhat variable, I suggest light lash maintenance every three to four weeks to maintain a full look.” The cost for extensions run steep; for a full set at Courtney Akai Lash Boutique, expect to pay $250 to $550; $125 to $225 for a half set.