Pharmaceutical company Allergan got FDA approval in late 2008 for Latisse, whose active ingredient, bimatopost, has been used for several years in a product called Lumigan that treats glaucoma.
"The company began studying the potential of using a lower dose of topical bimatoprost to stimulate eyelash growth after Lumigan users developed unusually lush lashes," according to a Scientific American article from Dec. 29, 2008. "It's specifically being marketed as a once-a-day med to treat eyelash hypotrichosis, or lack of hair growth."
Of course, it's also of interest as a beauty-enhancing product. Latisse is expected to be available for prescription in March and cost $120 for a 30-day supply.
So there's real science behind Latisse, but is it worth it for the price?
"David E. I. Pyott, Allergan’s chief executive...suggested that many women would not blink at spending $120 for a one-month, three-milliliter supply of the drug," according to a New York Times article from Jan. 13, 2009. "He compared the cost of longer lashes to a daily cup of coffee.“If you think about it in terms of luxury, it’s four dollars a day,” he said. “We think this is fairly acceptable to a large segment of people even in these times.”"
Keep in mind, the lash-enhancement is not permanent.
"Because the drug works by keeping hairs in their growth phase -- the phase during which hairs become longer, thicker and darker -- lashes return to their normal, genetically determined length within a few months after discontinuing the drug," according to an ABC News article from Dec. 29, 2008.
Reported side effects include itching and red eyes or darkening of the skin by the lash line, where the drug may come in contact with the skin. There's still more extensive testing to be done, though.
On a cool side note...the NYT article linked above quoted a fellow D.C. beauty blogger:
"Jennifer Nobriga, one of a pair of stay-at-home mothers behind the Web site beautyinreallife.blogspot.com, said she intends to stick with plain old mascara rather than splurge on the eyelash drug.
“It would not be at the top of my list,” said Ms. Nobriga of Woodbridge, Va. “I would rather spend the money on a good under-eye cream.”"So what do I think?
It's an intriguing scientific development that I'm curious to learn more about. I think it has great potential, especially for people who've experienced hair loss or lack eyelashes. But it's not going to be joining my beauty arsenal any time soon.
As a young professional, I definitely don't have the cash to spend on Latisse! (Or a $4-a-day latte habit, though when you think of it that way it seems more reasonable.) Plus, I'm lucky to have naturally long, full lashes to begin with, and the suppleness of youth in my face, so I'm probably not the target audience for this product anyway. (I don't mean to toot my own horn too loudly, it just happens that I consider my eyes one of my stronger features.)
I definitely understand its appeal, though, and would probably try Latisse as long as I was confident in its safety. It's not injecting botulism into your face, so to me, it seems a tad less extreme than Botox.
But yeah, I'm going to keep unnecessary prescription treatments away from my eyes and stick to my Maybelline Full 'N Soft.
I'm curious what you all think!