My foray into the world of beauty began in 7th grade when I picked up a mascara wand and globbed the product around my lashes to create what I thought was the perfect baby-doll look. While my technique has improved exponentially over the years, my desire for XL lashes has remained the same. I've tested countless mascaras, and have even committed to heating and curling my lashes for the sake of the cause, but I recently noticed that my once-voluminous lashes have started lacking—it wasn't uncommon for me to see tiny hairs on my face or in the sink after washing my face at the end of the day.
Being a beauty writer, I go above and beyond to care for my skin (hello, 20-step nightly skin-care routine) and hair (I haven’t met a scalp treatment or exfoliant that I didn’t love), but my lashes? Not so much. Given the fallout I was experiencing, though, I was ready to stop neglecting my lashes and finally try a serum to help maintain them—and maybe even grow back some of what I'd lost.
But! I had a bit of trepidation about incorporating a lash serum into my already-dense routine, given the anecdotes I've heard about their propensity to cause darkening around the eyes, severe irritation, and iris discoloration. Many lash-growth serums on the market are made with prostaglandins (or their analogs), which is what causes these side effects to happen. So when I heard about Olaplex’s Lashbond Building Serum ($68), which mimics the results of prostaglandins-based serums without actually using the ingredient, I was eager to try it.
What to know about prostaglandins
Prostaglandins analogs, originally used to treat glaucoma, stimulate lash growth and are the active ingredients in the FDA-approved eyelash growth serum, Latisse.
Inna Lazar, optometrist and founder of Pro Eye Care in Greenwich and Darien, CT, explains that though prostaglandins-based serums can stimulate the hair growth phase of lashes, promoting fuller and longer lashes, the reward may not be worth the risk. “Side effects of lash serums include allergic reactions, eye irritation, and pigment changes," she says. "Key ingredients causing these effects can be bimatoprost and isopropyl cloprostenate, which are prostaglandin analogs. They are associated with darkening of the iris, skin around the eyes, unwanted hair growth and atrophy of orbital fat. Other ingredients, like certain preservatives, can cause eye irritation.” What's more, unwanted hair growth can occur on the eyelids, cheeks, or surrounding areas due to incorrect application. In other words, these serums can be an aesthetic nightmare.
Though there are many lash serums on the market that are formulated without irritants (you'll often find these marketed as lash "conditioners" instead of growth serums) Olaplex’s option offers something a little different. Made with Olaplex’s well-known bond-building technology (think Olaplex No.3), it strengthens and grows a healthier-looking lash in a similar way that the technology helps to repair damaged hair.
How does Olaplex Lashbond Building Serum work?
“Olaplex Lashbond Building Serum safely targets five top lash concerns without the unwanted effects: lash length, volume and density, loss and shedding, dry and brittle lashes, and lack of natural lift and curl," says Tiffany Libby, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and spokesperson for the brand. "It is the only lash serum on the market that uses next-generation Olaplex Peptide Complex Technology and exclusive, patented Olaplex Bond Building Technology."
Safe for all skin types and contact lens wearers, this peptide-based serum is also formulated with hyaluronic acid and biotin. “The formula uses chains of amino acids to strengthen and protect existing lashes, reducing breakage and enhancing natural growth," says Dr. Lazar. "They’re generally milder and less likely to cause side effects, but they may not deliver as dramatic results as prostaglandin-based serums. It’s about balancing desired outcomes and potential risks."
To see maximum results from Olaplex Lashbond, Dr. Libby advises using it on clean, dry skin. “I recommend using it twice daily, consistently, and you’ll start to see results within 1-2 months,” she says. To use, simply "dip the brush into the tube once and apply it to the skin along the upper lash line on both eyes. Do not wash it off. Allow to dry for at least 90 seconds before applying other eye products. There is no need to apply to the lower lash line, as the product will migrate to the lower lash line through blinking. Applying the product directly to the bottom lash could lead to irritation in the eye area.”
Olaplex conducted a 12-week consumer perception clinical study on the serum, which showed that most participants who followed Dr. Libby’s use instructions saw healthier-looking lashes after two weeks of use. After four weeks, participants in the study saw fuller-looking lashes. Results will, of course, vary from person to person, but I for one was excited to try the serum knowing that many users experienced notable changes in the density and volume of their lashes.
My Experience With the Product
After using the product for the recommended two full months, both morning and night, I was able to achieve small, yet noticeable, results with my lashes. After two weeks, I noticed less of my lashes shedding. And after a month and a half, they looked slightly longer and more dense. Its effectiveness was most evident when I put mascara on top of it, because very little product made my lashes look almost fake—it seemed as if the serum made for a better mascara canvas. Now, when I coat my lashes in mascara, they look effortlessly long and voluminous. I am extremely happy with the result and intend on continuing to use the product to maintain my results.
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