Lash serums reviewed!
Rapid Lash, Rimmel London Lash Serum, Eveline SOS Lash Booster (aka Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator Concentrated Serum 3 in 1)
Updated version comparing RapidLash and RevitaLash here.
Lash serums claim to be able to make your lashes grow. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews of them across the internet, and couldn’t really find many compare and contrast discussions except for the most popular ones. I did read a very scathing “scientific” review of lash serums in general, which claimed (using what is termed in science a “common sense” conclusion, meaning, a conclusion with no actual evidence to back it up, and based entirely on assumptions, therefore this “scientific” review was really very unscientific) that none of them could possibly work because if they did, they’d be FDA registered as pharmaceuticals, and therefore that only Latisse could possibly do what it said in the advertising spiel.
I disagree with this, primarily because Latisse is only registered as a pharmaceutical product because it has an ingredient in it which is used to treat glaucoma, an eye disease. Think about all the products you can get without a prescription – paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin, cough mixture, athelete’s foot cream… just take a walk around a drugstore, the only reason things get labelled as “POM” or Prescription Only Medicine is if they have a potentially unsafe side effect, or if the condition they are licensed to treat HAS to be confirmed by a doctor, for public health reasons. The potentially unsafe side effect of Latisse is it can turn your eyes brown, although the incidents of this happening have not happened with Latisse, just with the active ingredient in Latisse, which is also used to treat glaucoma. Ergo, Latisse is a POM. Are you still with me?
In order to register something as a POM, it has to be supported by very expensive clinical trials – including mandatory animal testing in many countries. I’d rather buy a lash serum that hasn’t been forced into the eyes of bunnies, so I think it’s a good thing that none of them are licensed as pharmaceuticals. On top of that, there would be no point in any brand of lash serum registering their product as a medicine unless it could perform as well as Latisse, or better than Latisse, because otherwise, who is going to prescribe it to patients, and what patients would use it? As a beauty product, however, they can reach a wider market and achieve their goal – to help women grow their lashes. By not doing clinical trials, they are also saving a lot of money – which is what makes these products a lot cheaper than Latisse. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t assume it won’t work just because it’s not on prescription, and don’t assume it’ll give results that are as good as Latisse just because someone on one of those review aggreggating websites said it was true. With my expectations managed, I made a start with Rapid Lash.
I’d never actually heard about lash serums until I saw Rapid Lash for sale a couple of months ago. Before buying, I researched profusely to find out which one was the best value for money; obviously that’s generally going to be a trade-off against what is most likely to work. I narrowed the choices down to Rapid Lash, L’Oreal’s lash serum, Rimmel London’s lash serum and Eveline SOS lash booster (the Eveline one was my “wildcard” – the one I knew nothing about, hadn’t even heard of the brand, but I wanted to try anyway).
This is the first lash growth serum I had tried. I found it was quite often compared with Latisse so thought it would probably be quite good.
I bought my Rapid Lash from Amazon. It’s also available at Boots in the UK.
When it arrived, the outer packaging was a bit squashed, but when I opened it the packaging of the product itself was fine. It has an opalescent glow to the tube that makes me slightly mesmerised if I stare at it for too long.
The instructions said “use once daily at bedtime,” I wasn’t sure why specifically at bedtime, maybe because it doesn’t combine with mascara very well. I waited over twelve hours until bedtime to try it out. I was very excited, but ready to be disappointed at the same time.
On first application, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It said to apply at the base of the lashes, so I ensured both the eyelid and hairs were coated where they met. It dried my eyes out considerably even the next morning when I woke up they still felt dried out. I also dabbed a bit on my eyebrows where I’ve been trying (completely unsuccessfully) to get them to grow in for over a year.
The second and third applications also dried my eyes out – I think this continued for about the first week of using Rapid Lash. Also I started to get a slightly darkened strip on my eyelid around where I’d applied it, I am hoping this isn’t permanent.
The first week showed no results. Neither did the second week. About halfway through the third week, however, I suddenly noticed a dramatic change in my lash length. I don’t wear mascara during my day-to-day life (or any makeup) because I don’t think it’s great for my skin to be constantly removing it, and have only worn it once during the time I was using Rapid Lash.
In my natural lashes, I noticed after three and a half weeks, some of them were considerably longer than others. When I scrutinised my lashes in the mirror, I realised something profound – I have a double layer of lashes, a la Elizabeth Taylor and Catherine Zeta Jones. I always thought my eyes were my best feature, but I had no idea I had twice as many lashes as most people. It kind of figures though, since I have more hair on my head as well (no, I don’t wear extensions).
I was thrilled that the product was working, but needed to work out how to get it to cover all my lashes, since applying over the top of the base clearly wasn’t getting product onto the lowest layer of lashes on my upper lids. I decided to defy the product’s packaging, since it wasn’t drying my eyes out any more, and started applying it underneath the lashes at the very base, almost like a mascara, except you don’t need to coat the length of the lashes. I also wiggled the brush sideways to get it in between the two layers of lashes as well.
Two more weeks later, and my lashes are even longer. Now that they’re all growing, I look like I’m wearing mascara when I’m not. My lashes have definitely grown although I didn’t see the sort of growth some rave reviewers said they’d had. What’s more, the hair on the ends of my brows has definitely grown in, too. It’s not back to how it was when I was 14, before I plucked every week for 12 years, but it’s definitely an improvement.
Mid-term side effects:
After a week or so, the staining of my eyelid and the drying effect on my eyeballs seemed to have died out, and I haven’t noticed it happening in a while. The eyebrow hairs are growing through quite nicely too. There was a week around week two or three where my under-eye area was irritated, but I think it was because my longer eyelashes were touching part of my face that wasn’t used to having so much contact with hairs (i.e. every time I blinked). I curled my eyelashes for a few days and when I stopped my under-eye area seemed fine again. I haven’t noticed any other side effects.
Some people’s claims about Rapid Lash sound a bit exaggerated, and some are overly skeptical. Basically, it helped my lashes grow, improved their condition, and reduced lash fallout, and I started noticing results about three and a half weeks in, even though the packet said you needed to use it for eight weeks. I will continue to use it (although I do have other lash serums to try out after Christmas, for comparison) until it runs out because I really like what its doing to my lashes, but it is still £20 which is a significant expenditure. If in the next couple of weeks I get “eyebrow length lashes” from using Rapidlash as some people have claimed, I will update y’all. I’m glad I bought this though, even though it was expensive, it is still cheaper and a lot easier than lash extensions (although length and volume aren’t as good). This was the most expensive product I reviewed, as a 3ml tube cost £21.88, which was a stunning £7.29 per 1ml.
Eveline SOS Lash Booster aka Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator Concentrated Serum 3 in 1
Eveline SOS Lash Booster was another find from Amazon, it retails for about a fiver, and there was a matching mascara. Being a complete sucker for sets of products, I bought both. This review is specifically about the Lash Booster (aka Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator Concentrated Serum 3 in 1), not the mascara.
The SOS Lash booster comes in a mascara-like tube, with a mascara wand. When you open it, the brush is coated in white stuff, which coats your lashes. The instructions said “use under mascara.” I liked the packaging design it looks very classy. I was quite excited after discovering I have two layers of lashes, because I thought a product like this that coats the lashes would ensure all my lashes got product on them, something that had been hard to work out with the Rapid Lash (although once I’d worked it out, it was fine).
I read the instructions. Then, like a muppet, I put it on last thing at night before I went to bed. I guess I was missing my Rapid Lash as this was the first thing I tried afterwards (also, it was Christmastime and I was tired and drunk). Whereas Rapid Lash goes on colourless and is completely undetectable on your eyes, this stuff is super-obvious, it coats your eyelashes in white so you look a bit like the Snow Queen out of Narnia. There’s quite a few eyelash primers on the market at the moment, and that’s what this SOS Lash Booster most closely resembles. I left it on overnight to see what would happen.
Initial results were really good, I thought my lashes looked a lot longer over that first week, regardless of whether I was wearing mascara or not. I did coat them more lightly though after that first application, because I was trying to find out if I really needed to wear mascara or if there was an optimal application amount which would be less obvious. There wasn’t. You need to put mascara on top of this or not go anywhere where people will see you. Unless it’s snowing. Which it actually was when I started using this. But it wasn’t snowing indoors so it was still really obvious that I’d got white stuff on my lashes. It really didn’t help with the “you look like Elsa from Frozen” comments I’ve been getting lately, due to my silver hair, and while I love the character and film, it’s still not a good everyday look.
After three weeks, my eyelashes don’t seem to have grown any more than before. If anything, I’d say that without anything on, for example just after I’ve washed my face in the morning, they are shorter now than before I started using this. The white Eveline SOS Lash Booster always makes my lashes look longer and thicker, but I don’t think there’s any long lasting benefit to using this product. It is a really nice first step for under mascara, however. The mascara itself was disappointingly clumpy and didn’t add much length or volume, I think I used it twice, and the second time was an attempt to get a good photo. I prefer to use this Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator (aka SOS Lash Booster) under my L’Oreal Million Lashes Mascara, and it gives an intense result (if I opened my eyes so my eyelashes were flat against my eyelids, I could feel my lashes touching my eyebrows, although it didn’t quite look like falsies), but I don’t think it makes my lashes grow, I think it just coats the lashes. One thing I have noticed though, which also makes this product worth buying, is that it does make mascara removal a LOT easier, as well as reducing the number of lashes that fall out when removing eye make-up.
With nothing to go on, because nobody else had reviewed this product when I bought it, I knew I was taking a risk. While it appears to have done nothing to make my eyelashes grow, it does make them look very long and thick and is the perfect primer to go on underneath the L’Oreal Million Lashes Mascara. I would buy it again as a fantastic primer but not as a lash growth serum.
Rimmel London Lash Accelerator
The Rimmel Lash Accelerator Serum was the cheapest of the lot. I was really expecting nothing from this. Like, I really didn’t think it could have any effect whatsoever that wasn’t just an illusion.
It arrived in a nice tube that showed clearly that the product was colourless. The applicator was an interesting shape. It didn’t smell of anything and the instructions said I could use it more than once a day at any time of day. I was a little suspicious of this after the incredibly specific instructions on the Rapid Lash. The tube was a very generous 11ml of product.
The applicator seemed to bring a LOT of product out of the tube. I had to keep wiping the brush at the top of the tube to try and make sure I wasn’t just dousing my eyelashes in the stuff. I still ended up putting far too much on, and since I decided to give it a first try before bed, it stuck my lashes together and meant I couldn’t roll over and go to sleep until it dried, which took forever.
This didn’t seem to give much of a result for a few days, but as time went on I realised it was having a subtle effect. It didn’t have any kind of reaction or stinging, and didn’t leave a dark line around the base of my lashes like the Rapid Lash did, so that was really nice. I felt under less pressure to get this one on every single lash on each application because it could be used more than once per day, and I did find myself using it morning and evening for first few days.
After about a week my eyelashes stopped growing any further and I noticed much more eyelash loss than I’d had with either the Rapid Lash or the Eveline. I would say the Rimmel Lash Accelerator Serum works more quickly than the RapidLash and has an effect sooner, but its maximum length was less – so if you want medium lash growth in a week, this is the product for you, but if you want longer lashes after about three to six weeks, the Rapid Lash is the better product. I never did get to grips with the crazy amount of product that the applicator dispensed, and as a result, sometimes my lashes looked like they were covered in latex lash glue when all that product dried and left a whitish residue. Not a good look. So while, in theory, this one should be usable without having to put a mascara on top, I didn’t feel confident walking around with residue on my lashes so ended up putting mascara on top anyway. Unfortunately, this seemed to cause a clumping effect. The applicator was a lovely idea but I think it could have been designed a bit more effectively because, whichever hand you write with, you will poke yourself in the nose with the brush whilst trying to cover the lengths of your lashes.
I liked the fact that the Rimmel Lash Accelerator could be used more than once per day and that the results showed quite quickly, and I thought that the length was good as a short term fix, or if you already have fairly long lashes. However, I would have liked a better applicator. If you’re making your decision based on price per product, this one definitely beats the lot at £2.99 per 11ml, or 27p per 1ml of product. NOTE: Since I bought this, barely a month ago, the UK price has tripled to £9.99 per 11ml (plus over £2 postage)! In the US, it’s now around the $11.99 mark. I’d have to say, I wouldn’t pay £9.99 plus postage, making the Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator one the cheapest at around $7.99 on Amazon.com.
The Rapidlash was really the only product that grew my lashes to an impressive length – but at ten times the price of the Rimmel one, I don’t think this product is necessarily going to suit everyone’s budget. I would certainly buy it again and, now that this trial is over, I am going to go back to using the Rapidlash because I felt it was the most effective product, and was the most hassle free application. The Rimmel Lash Accelerator was excellent as a starter serum, having some effect without necessarily being life-changing. It took a while to dry, however, and left a residue, so isn’t great if you’re on the go, and I am still stunned by the price increase. The Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator (Eveline SOS Lash Booster) didn’t do an awful lot to grow my lashes, perhaps because they were quite long and in good condition already from the Rapid Lash , but the Eveline one was certainly a good lash conditioner, a fantastic mascara primer, it did make lashes look longer even if it didn’t grow them, and it made eye-make-up removal really easy, as well as being very conditioning, and so I will keep that as part of my make-up routine. I would have liked some more photos of my eyelashes, but the effects of all of these products don’t seem to show up on camera very well, unless you wear mascara, and it’s so easy to fake an eyelash review picture when you’re wearing mascara that it’s not even worth trying to do a comparison before and after pic, because it’s not a true representation of the results. At the end of the day, they are all cheaper and easier than eyelash extensions, and require less downtime because you don’t need to spend hours at the salon. HOWEVER, if you want a result that lasts and that looks like eyelash extensions, you’ll need to get some eyelash extensions put in. Duh.
August 2015: I’ve written a newer article comparing RapidLash and RevitaLash here
May 2016: I’ve written a NEWER NEWER article comparing Grande Lash MD to RapidLash and Revitalash.