Latisse, an FDA approved medication to promote eyelash growth, came on the market in 2008. It has been very popular because it actually works. It contains a drug called bimatoprost, a prostaglandin analog, which is also used to treat glaucoma. Patients using the eye drop form noticed that their eyelashes became long and thick after a few months of use. Since Latisse was released, there have been tons of other products trying to get in on the action. Some work and some don’t. We get questions about this in the office on a daily basis.
In doing some research on all the products available, it seems there have been some promising substitutes emerge, and then suddenly disappear or change their ingredients. Most of this controversy stems from the use of prostaglandin ingredients like isopropyl cloprostenate or prostaglandin I.C. It seems that several products, including Rapidlash, Neulash and NeuveauBrow were using this ingredient, which is very similar to the active ingredient in Latisse (bimatoprost). They did not have FDA approval and were selling it as a cosmetic additive, not a drug. The FDA, probably egged on by Allergan, the makers of Latisse, warned the companies selling these products to remove this ingredient. Now, when you visit the websites for these products, many don’t list any ingredients and others have been reformulated with lots of herbal and pseudo-scientific sounding chemicals that aren’t proven to do anything.
I’ve compiled a list here of the most popular products still being sold on Amazon.com. Many do have isopropyl cloprostenate still listed in the ingredients. Others show no ingredients on Amazon, but I was able to find an ingredients list elsewhere. All of this information could already be hopelessly out of date as some of the site listings appear to be months to years old. Based on my experience with patients and family members using these products, many did work when they contained isopropyl closprostenate. Revitalash, one of the first eyelash enhancers sold after Latisse came to market, is now banned from sale in the US after a lawsuit by Allergan. If you plan to buy any of these products, you should ensure this ingredient is present and it has been reviewed by lots of other customers who aren’t complaining of skin side effects. I personally would only recommend Latisse as it is proven to be safe and effective in actual clinical trials. That aside, here is the most current information.
Latisse competitors currently being sold on Amazon.com:
Average online reviews (Amazon): 4 stars (1,o43 reviews)
Cost: $30.90 3ml
What is known: Isopropyl Cloprostenate bears a resemblance to the active ingredient in Latisse, so theoretically it can work, but this hasn’t been proven in any FDA trials. It can also have the same side effects as Latisse, including changes in skin color, skin irritation, etc. In 2011, the company that makes Rapidlash was warned by the FDA against using Isopropyl cloprostenate or advertising that the drug makes eyelashes grow.
Before and after photos from Rapidlash.com site. Note: Same photos with different names are used on Neulash website (see below).
GrandeLASH MD Eyelash and Eyebrow Enhancer for Length, Fullness, and Darkness
Active ingredients: Prostaglandin I.C. (Isopropyl Cloprostenate?)
Average online reviews (Amazon): 4.1 stars (213 reviews)
Cost: $37.00 2ml/3month supply
What is known: Prostaglandin I.C., which is presumably the same as isopropyl cloprostenate, may cause eyelash growth and may have similar side effects as Latisse. It is the last ingredient listed, which means it is in low concentration.
Professional Brow & Lash Growth Accelerator Treatment Gel by Ardell
Average online reviews (Amazon): 3.7 stars (641 reviews)
Cost: $5.97 1.6oz.
What is known: None of the ingredients listed above have been shown to increase lash growth.
NutraLuxe MD Eyelash Conditioner
Active ingredients: “Peptides” underlined below (NutraLuxe website doesn’t list ingredients, other sites have incomplete lists. I see Isopropyl Cloprostenate mentioned as an ingredient on other sites, but not officially).
Average online reviews (Amazon): 3.9 stars (346 reviews)
Cost: $53 4.5ml
What is known: It appears NutraLuxe may have contained Isopropyl Cloprostenate at some time, but I can’t find any ingredient lists that show it now. The peptides in the ingredient list have not been shown to increase lash growth.
NeuLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum
Active ingredients*: Isopropyl Cloprostenate (may no longer be part of the product).
Average online reviews (Amazon): 3.8 stars (58 reviews)
Cost: $123.00 6ml
What is known: Neulash doesn’t list their full ingredients anywhere and appear to be hiding it. It did contain Isopropyl cloprostenate as of 2011, per this FDA letter warning them against using it.
*Neulash’s ingredients were found on Nordstrom.com and were not listed on the company’s site. This list may be old and below it was a warning that the ingredients may change and you should get updated info from the manufacturer.
Before and after photos from Neulash website. Same photos appear on Rapidlash website with different names (see above).
Conclusion on Latisse competitors:
In conclusion, based on the information I found, the manufacturing and marketing of most of these products is very suspect. Most of the products have websites with little or no information, others make claims based on their old formulations, and still others are using before and after photos of the same people, showing different names. Most of the ingredients in the current formulations have no proof of efficacy. They are just expensive herbs with no reputable studies relating to the eyelashes. I would be very wary of recommending or having any of my family use these other products. If you have questions or comments, please leave them below.