Short, brittle or sparse eyelashes? This tried-and-tested serum works

Laura Kennedy: I spent more than a year testing eyelash serums. Here are the results

Lash serums have been around for some time now, and they solve myriad problems. My own natural lashes aren’t particularly long, and their mid-brown hue fades to blonde at the tips, robbing me of what length they have. If I were seriously bothered by this (enough to spend time and money on lash services), I could dye them to emphasise every micromillimetre of natural length. I could get a professional lash lift (the results of these are striking and allow you to dispense with mascara entirely). I could even get lash extensions. The problem is that I’m too lazy for all of these.

Lash tints are quick and easy, but they don’t last more than two or three weeks, especially if you like an oil-based cleanser as I do. A lash lift is great, but requires upkeep or you can feel saddened by the sudden re-emergence of your own, less vertically inclined, eyelashes. Extensions are even heavier on upkeep – I cannot abide the adolescent cygnet in-between stages, when the moult has begun but many of the lashes continue to hang on. It gives me a sort of permanently baffled-looking demeanour.

For several years, I’ve used Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner (€130 at with excellent results. Like most first-generation lash serums, it contains a synthetic prostaglandin – an ingredient with hormone-like effects. It delays your lashes’ natural cycle of shedding, allowing them to grow for longer. For me, the result has been lashes which are standardly double their natural length. The hairs are thicker than they were (but not darker), and with added length, they have more of a natural curl. Some people – especially those with already-long lashes – find that their lashes, while significantly longer and curlier, can start to look a bit frayed, or bent when slept on. A bit like a scruffy drunk who has stayed too long at the wedding reception, and is still trying to order gin as the tablecloths are being folded and put away.

However, a host of next-gen lash serums have hit the market in recent years. Rather than using prostaglandin, these are peptide-based. They condition the lashes and strengthen them through the natural growth process, essentially giving your natural lash the best possible chance in (their) life (cycle). They’re also generally much cheaper than Revitalash, which is expensive, but lasts me six-plus months of daily use and has given me excellent results. In the interests of research, I stopped using it about 14 months ago and took a three-month break before starting in with Olaplex LashBond Building Serum (€75 at


It isn’t designed to prolong your lash cycle, but support it, and is a great option for anyone whose lashes may need a bit of TLC after overprocessing, heavy extensions, or even post-chemo (with the okay of your doctor) to support hair as lashes grow. After three months of twice-daily use, this had my naturally fair, shortish straight lashes slightly glossier and more flexible – the hairs were certainly in good condition. However, for me, this was not a serum which lengthened and there are much more affordable peptide serums which give similar results. After using this I took another three-month break from lash serums, and certainly noticed that my lashes were duller and more brittle without daily use of this.

The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Lash and Brow Serum (€15.10 at Space NK) was just the affordable conditioning serum to give Olaplex a run for its money. This is a lash conditioner which, like the Olaplex offering, is prostaglandin-free. It does a lovely job of conditioning your lashes, leaving the hairs plump and glossy, and helping to replace moisture that daily cleansing and mascara can deplete. After eight weeks, this left my lashes feeling noticeably softer to the touch and looking slightly sheeny, on a par with the pricier Olaplex serum. In terms of length and volume, though, again this had no effect for me. I have yet to find a product that rivals the results of Revitalash.

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy is a contributor to The Irish Times