Enhanced eyelashes: prescription and over-the-counter options

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2011 Feb;35(1):116-21. doi: 10.1007/s00266-010-9561-3. Epub 2010 Aug 21.


Women have long strived to possess long, thick, and dark eyelashes. Prominent eyes and eyelashes are often considered a sign of beauty and can be associated with increased levels of attractiveness, confidence, and well-being. Numerous options may improve the appearance of eyelashes. Mascara aims to temporarily darken, lengthen, and thicken eyelashes using a combination of waxes, pigments, and resins. Artificial eyelashes can be adhered either to the dermal margin or to individual eyelashes. Individuals may even use eyelash transplantations to improve the appearance of their eyelashes. The unique properties of eyelashes (e.g., relatively long telogen and short anagen phases compared with scalp hairs, slow rate of growth, and a lack of influence by androgens) may allow for specific aesthetic interventions to improve the appearance of natural eyelashes. Some over-the-counter (OTC) products may contain prostaglandin analogs that can affect eyelash growth, but neither the safety nor efficacy of these OTC cosmetics has been fully studied. Originally indicated for the reduction of intraocular pressure, the synthetic prostaglandin analog bimatoprost was recently approved for the treatment of hypotrichosis of the eyelashes. In a double-blinded, randomized, vehicle-controlled trial, bimatoprost safely and effectively grew natural eyelashes, making them longer, thicker, and darker. Bimatoprost was generally safe and well tolerated and appears to provide an additional option for individuals looking to improve the appearance of their eyelashes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Amides / administration & dosage*
  • Beauty
  • Bimatoprost
  • Cloprostenol / administration & dosage
  • Cloprostenol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Esthetics
  • Eyelashes / drug effects*
  • Eyelashes / growth & development*
  • Female
  • Hair Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Nonprescription Drugs / administration & dosage*
  • United States


  • Amides
  • Hair Preparations
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Cloprostenol
  • Bimatoprost