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Lashing Out: Make Your Eyelashes Grow

It turns out a glaucoma medication can make lashes grow longer. But should you really use it for cosmetic reasons? Joanne Chen does the honors.

LASH LUST: continued...

Latisse consists of at-home drops applied on the lashline of people with healthy eyes - a protocol tested on only 278 adults in a 16-week study. What happens in week 138? I find out that the most common side effects are redness and itching (in 3.6 percent of cases). There's also a slight chance of a darkening of the iris. All of this gives me pause. But I soon remind myself that I'm no stranger to eye irritation (I'll spare you my contact-lens adventures) and that my irises can't get any browner. Besides, the prospect of seeing my lashes grow - 25 percent longer! 106 percent thicker! - persuades me to forge ahead.

The application process takes less than a minute - and isn't as fussy as using mascara. Lee suggests that I proceed with my evening routine as usual and apply Latisse before bed. The first night, I take out my contact lenses, wash and moisturize, then gingerly dab the clear liquid across my top lashline with the disposable applicator provided. I blink, and much to my relief, it doesn't drip into my eyes and I feel no stinging. Even though I'm told it won't stain the sheets, I lie on my back in bed just in case. Feeling pretty pleased with myself - as if I exercised or ate right - I drift off to sleep.

I embrace the chore for many days, but eventually the regimen grows tiresome. I keep checking my lashes each morning: straight on, in profile, eyes open, eyes slightly closed. I've never invested so much time in front of the mirror in my life.

Week one: nothing.

Week two: still nada.

Lee assures me that subjects rarely see a change in two weeks. It takes at least a month. And, in fact, according to the Allergan report, initial changes, on average, don't occur until week eight. I persevere.

Week three: hmm. Could it be? I peer at my lashes in profile and am cautiously pleased. They look a tad longer. I measure them and find they've grown just under a millimeter - barely noticeable with a passing glance, but enough to keep me motivated.

Week four: My lids are feeling as if they're sunburned. I chalk it up to my overly energetic technique. In any case, it's a small inconvenience given that my lashes have sprouted a good millimeter - hardly lush, but an improvement from the set I was born with. Most importantly, a regular lash curler can now easily grasp my lashes and turn them upward, which means I can wear mascara without black semicircles appearing under my eyes as soon as I blink. My cautious joy turns to downright elation.

Even so, by week five, my diligence starts to slide, and I skip Latisse on nights I'm too tired. Don't get me wrong - I love my new lashes, which have grown just past a millimeter by now. But I'm much lazier than I am vain. I foresee Latisse tucked away in the back of my medicine cabinet - along with several mascaras. After all, it's one thing to extend your daily routine to save your sight - it's another to do so solely to enhance your appearance. Without Latisse, my lashes will ultimately return to their hypotrichotic state. But maybe the extra sleep will keep me looking wide-eyed.

Originally published on March 19, 2009

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