Chemistry – Ultimate Guide to Lash & Brow Artistry | Ruthie Belle
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Chemistry

by Ruthie Belle

Until now, chemistry is the one subject that has been lacking in information in professional lash and brow artistry world. This has happened because most lash brands don’t have any direct access to chemists – most lash brands just add labels to products that others have manufactured, so their chemistry information is provided for them by manufacturers and not chemists.

We at Ruthie Belle are in a unique situation because we work directly with an expert chemist – we not only manufacture our products but Ruthie also actively takes part in the whole development process from start to finish. We have firsthand knowledge of the latest information and innovations in the chemistry world, and we have chosen to share this information with all lash artists around the world in our Ultimate Guide.

It is super important to know the most critical chemicals in lash and brow artists’ lives. To understand how to manipulate them to make the most out of them and if anything goes wrong to understand what happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

This article explains the most important chemicals used for lash and brow lamination. We will add eyelash extensions chemistry information throughout 2022.

pH

In chemistry pH means “potential of hydrogen” – the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. It’s a scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of the solution. 

Pure water has a pH of 7, which is considered pH neutral; all other solutions are compared against that pH level. Solutions are measured at 25 degrees Celsius: a pH of less than 7 is considered acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are considered basic or alkaline. 

In a normal state, our bodies (skin, eyelashes, eyebrows etc) have a pH value of about 5.5 which is slightly more acidic than water neutral pH so this is called “body neutral pH”. Body neutral pH is therefore 5.5-7 meaning any solution up to 7 is still neutral to our bodies:   

Changing the pH level of lashes or eyebrows opens their cuticles and allows us to make permanent changes in their shape. 

What’s the difference between pH neutral and pH balanced?

pH of 5.5-7 is considered “neutral” since it’s the pH of water.

The pH of healthy skin, eyelashes, hair and nails is around 5.5. So, any cosmetic product that has the same pH level of 5.5 is considered pH balanced. It’s recommended to use pH balanced cosmetics for daily use because they don’t change the pH of skin, eyelashes, hair and nails. Any pH different from 5.5 has an impact on skin, eyelashes, hair and nails. The bigger the difference between the pH of the cosmetic product and skin, eyelashes, hair and nails, the more of an impact the product has.

Because of these reasons we have made it possible to dilute our Clean 11 concentrate in two different ways:

  • Dilute it with distilled water for a pH balanced home use foam (to sell to customers)
  • Dilute with NaCl (saline) for a pH neutral (around 6.8-7) foam for professional use to slightly open cuticles before treatments

Alcohol

Alcohol is widely used in lash & brow products due to its main useful properties:

  • Opens lash & brow cuticles
  • Strips lashes, brows and skin from natural oils
  • Speeds up adhesive curing speed
  • Can lower pH

The downside is that alcohol is very aggressive – it damages cuticles and even burns some cuticles off! Since cuticles lock in moisture inside lashes and brows, damaging them means that lashes (or brows) will become dehydrated and brittle.

Alcohol also makes cyanoacrylate more porous. This means that using alcohol-based products during treatments will make your lash adhesive emit more vapors. This means that your lash adhesive fumes (that are the most irritating part of lash glues) will irritate your customers more than it would if you weren’t using alcohol-based products. Which, in the long run, will increase the likelihood of your customers developing a sensitivity/allergy towards lash adhesive.

This effect is easily observable if you pour alcohol on your glue dot. Look for the whitish color and cracks:

Alcohol also makes cyanoacrylate more brittle. This means that when your customers touch their extensions with fingers or brush them, the glue bond will more likely break, leading to loss of retention.

Because of this I don’t recommend using products that are alcohol based (that means that they have a high % of alcohol in them). Alcohol based products used to be the only option in our industry and a lot of lash artists still use them. However, nowadays you can choose products that achieve the same goal but without the negative side effects.

The main alcohol-based products used in the lash industry that should be replaced by safer alternatives:

Heating Mask

Disposable or re-usable (USB charged) heating masks can be used for lash and brow lifting treatments to make the lotions work more efficiently. They may only be used for products that have a very gentle formula though as adding heat to aggressive products will most likely over process lashes. Use it ONLY if the manufacturer of the products has confirmed that their products are ok to use with heat.

NB! Since heating masks make all lotions work more efficiently, be mindful of lifting lotion processing times as they usually need to be reduced when used with a heating mask

NB! Some products actually require heat to perform like they are supposed to. For example all products that contain keratin need 38-41 degrees Celsius (100-106 degrees Fahrenheit) heat to activate keratin’s beneficial properties!

Chemistry of Lash/Brow Lift Products

As lashes and brow hairs are very similar in their anatomy you can apply the following chemistry information to both eyelashes and eyebrows. 

In order to curl lashes permanently so that the curl doesn’t drop in the presence of water or heat, the cuticles of the lashes must first be opened and pH raised (the end result of the curling lotion stage) and then pH brought back to as neutral as possible and cuticles closed as much as possible (effect of the fixing lotion).  

Before curling
After curling
After fixing

All Lash Lift procedures in the world are based on the same principle: 

  1. Changing the pH towards alkaline with a curling lotion in order to open the cuticle scales and break down disulfide bonds
  2. Then restoring the pH and disulfide bonds with fixing lotion and closing the cuticles

Chemistry of Lash Primers

Just like with eyelash extensions lashes need to be free from natural oils for lifting lotions to penetrate them properly (unless you work with super aggressive products that go through anything with ease). This is the reason we have to prime lashes before starting the lifting phases. 

Primers have a dual purpose – to remove natural oils and to open lash cuticles. They are very effective in achieving these goals but the problem is that alcohol (which is the main active ingredient in primers) is a very aggressive ingredient. Just think about how your skin feels when you pour alcohol on it. If you haven’t experienced this, I highly recommend giving it a try as it teaches a lot about the kind of effect alcohol has on skin and therefore also on lashes/brows – notice how quickly it evaporates and how dry your skin feels afterward. 

Primers fullfill their purpose in just 1-2 seconds and while they achieve their goals fast they do have a negative impact on lashes because they are so aggressive that they actually burn off some of the cuticles and these cuticles will never grow back. The burnt cuticles mean that lashes will be left dehydrated after using primers. 

Also, because alcohol evaporates so quickly, it means that primers don’t have the time to cover all cuticles evenly. So what happens is that when you apply primer onto lashes the parts of the lashes that you touch first will get a strong hit of alcohol, open to 100% in a second or two and then some cuticles that are further away (for example lower level cuticles, bottom layer lashes if you start applying from the top and top layer lashes if you start applying from the bottom row) don’t actually get primed. So some cuticles will open 100% but some only like 75%, some halfway, etc and some don’t lift at all. That is if you apply a regular amount of primer. If you add a lot more then all cuticles will be soaked and open 100% but also a lot more cuticles will be burnt off, never to grow back and lashes would be super dehydrated afterward.

Easy Lift and Adhesive Superdry primers

I had all of this in mind when we started creating a primer for lash extensions (Adhesive Superdry) and our lash lift system (Easy Lift). I wanted to create a product that was at least as effective as a regular primer but without the nasty side effects. So, what’s the difference between regular alcohol-based primers and our Easy Lift/Superdry primers?

Easy Lift & Superdry achieve the same result – they remove all sebum and fully open lash cuticles BUT their working mechanism is very different from regular primers. They only contain such a small amount of alcohol that most of it evaporates before you even reach the natural lashes with the applicator wand.

Instead, they work by regulating the pH of the lashes gently – they both have a neutral pH. In comparison – most primers are either alkaline or acidic and thus change the pH of the natural lashes noticeably more. The first 3 seconds after application Easy Lift/Superdry spreads evenly around lashes (without lifting cuticles) and then takes another 20-30 seconds to lift all cuticles gently. This means that all of the cuticles will be lifted evenly, and lashes will not be dehydrated, nor are the cuticles damaged.

Before Easy Lift / Superdry / Easy Wrap
After Easy Lift / Superdry / Easy Wrap

Adhesive Superdry is meant to be used prior to lash extensions application. It’s used by applying both on the natural lashes and the extensions while they are still on the glue strip. Superdry is much more potent than a regular alcohol-based primer so you don’t need to use as much. A little bit goes a long way! Similarly to a regular primer, it speeds up adhesive curing speed. Bear this in mind to avoid curing lash adhesive too fast. Superdry works with all lash adhesives.

Unlike Superdry, Easy Lift has another function – it makes lashes super soft! This makes it much easier to get them onto the silicone shields for lash lifting. This helps to make that step of the treatment easier for lash artists, especially for clients with very strong and stubborn eyelashes that want to pop off.

NB! Easy Lift is intended ONLY to be used with super gentle Ruthie Belle Lash Lift & Brow Lift product series as it enhances the effect of the curling lotion. If it’s used with a more aggressive Lash lift brand, the lashes can easily over process. Also, do not use Easy Lift before applying eyelash extensions it is meant to be used only as a lash/brow lamination primer.

Curling Lotion

The purpose of the curling lotion is to make lashes super soft (like cooked spaghetti!) to give them a new shape with fixing lotion. Lashes mainly consist of keratin so the curling lotion must contain ingredients that split the disulfide bonds in the keratin to make it possible to give lashes a new shape. Due to this the curling lotion is the most aggressive product of all lotions used during lash lifting and can cause the most damage if used improperly. 

The following harsh ingredients found in curling/lifting lotions are most often used to break down keratin. Usually, a mixture of them is used to achieve the desired result:

  • thioglycolate
  • ammonium bicarbonate
  • anything with ammonium in the name
  • ethanolamine 

Different proportions of these ingredients and how they are mixed together determine how aggressive or gentle a certain curling lotion is for natural lashes. There are MAJOR differences between the effect aggressive and gentle lash lift products have on natural lashes! There are more factors that play a part in the aggressiveness of the products besides the ingredients that have been used so I’ve made a separate paragraph that compares and explains this in detail.

The only thing that all lash lift or ‘lamination’ products have in common is that the pH of the curling lotion is at pH 8.1 – 9.5. Under pH of 8.1 the curling lotion does not break down keratin easily as it’s too close to neutral pH and from pH 9.5 the cuticles start ‘burning’ = dying = that’s where hair removal begins. I had a pH of 7.9 for my curling lotion a while ago and realised that this only provided beautiful results when the tiniest amount of adhesive was used so I changed the pH for a little bit higher for the products to always give a nice result, even when using more glue.

Can lash lift curling lotion be used on eyebrows too?

Since lash lift curling lotion (the only aggressive product in the lifting process) has been developed to not touch the skin it may absolutely NOT be used on eyebrows! There is a horrendous trend going around currently where some brands claim that their curling lotion is suitable for both eyelashes and eyebrows which is ONLY a marketing ploy – it leaves skin under and around the eyebrows red and irritated and can cause brows to look wonky or even break off. Remember – curling lotions include harsh chemicals such as thioglycolate, ammonia and ethanolamine in proportions that are ok to use on hair but not on the skin. 

Brow lamination products have to be a bit stronger on the hair yet softer on the skin in comparison to lash lifting products to lift the brows and not cause damage to the skin. The skin around eyebrows SHOULD NOT BE RED/IRRITATED after the lifting process! The only irritation that’s ok during brow lamination is from waxing/threading/plucking. If you see redness after lifting you should reconsider the products you are using as it damages the skin and causes dehydration, flakiness and may cause brow hairs to therefore fall out!

For almost two years, I worked with my chemist on finding a solution to replace the harsh chemicals in curling lotion to make it gentler. In January 2021 my organic lifting lotion was ready to launch! We replaced thioglycolate, ammonia and ethanalomine with cysteamine and plant-based amino acids.

Why is organic lifting better than regular curling lotion?

Our regular curling lotion is gentle, but the organic one is even more so – it’s so gentle that you can even use it on eyebrows! The processing times are longer for eyebrows, though, so I’m currently developing a slightly modified lifting lotion for specifically eyebrows. For the time being, you can use the current organic lifting for eyebrows (unlike our regular curling lotion that’s gentle compared to others but still contains some harsh chemicals).

Organic lifting is actually nourishing for eyelashes, so lashes look even healthier than they did before the treatment. We have even had some feedback from lash artists that it even seems to boost lash growth! So we are currently testing this theory 😊 If you use our organic lifting, please do let us know if you notice the same!

Since the organic lifting does not contain any thioglycolate nor ammonia, it has no rotten egg smell! It really smells pleasant.

Organic lifting is used exactly the same way as our regular curling lotion with the same processing times: 10-15mins. The steps to the treatment and other products used along with it are the same, too, so there is no need to take extra training or switch out the whole range to switch over to the organic lifting. Here are the full steps to our lash lifting.

Fixing Lotion

The purpose of fixing lotion is always to neutralize the pH and close lash cuticles as much as possible and therefore “fix” the new shape of the lashes. This is very important to understand because this means that the shape of lashes or eyebrows (during brow lamination) is NOT important during the lifting phase when they are soft like spaghetti. It’s important to keep lashes and brows (during brow lift) in the correct position during the fixing stage = if any lashes pop off the rod before you remove fixing lotion they will NOT be curled as well as the rest of the lashes. To achieve a sleek look during brow lamination it’s important to press the cling film down tight during the fixing stage, not perming. 

Since the purpose of the fixing lotion is to restore disulfide bonds in the lashes by neutralizing the pH it is not an aggressive product. Therefore the same fixing lotion may be used for eyelashes and eyebrows during brow lifting.

Usually either sodium bromate or hydrogen peroxide are used in fixing lotion ingredients to fix the new shape and close the lash cuticles. In a simple way, the effect of sodium bromate/hydrogen peroxide can be compared to that of a hair conditioner after shampooing. 

Does it make a difference whether sodium bromate or hydrogen peroxide has been used? 

Yes, it does make a difference as these ingredients break down into different compounds after they have done their job. Sodium bromate breaks down into acidic bromate salts that stay on the lashes even after the treatment is over and this has a dehydrating effect on the lashes. This is the reason higher quality brands use hydrogen peroxide instead – the disintegration of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) only produces H2O (water) and O (oxygen):

For this reason we use only hydrogen peroxide in our fixing lotion.

NB! Sodium bromate is also banned in several countries in cosmetic products for example in Italy and Canada. If you live in those countries make sure you do not use a lash lift brand that uses it in their fixing lotion as your insurance will not cover you if you use products that contain illegal ingredients!

Most fixing lotions close cuticles down to about 70% on average which is slightly less than most people’s average before any lifting treatment.

After fixing lotion

This is the reason most lash brands recommend not getting lashes wet for 24h after the treatment – until cuticles are at least as closed as they were before the treatment, lashes and brows are sensitive to outside environment and can change their shape. It takes lashes and brow hairs to naturally close cuticles to their normal state about 12-24h after the lifting treatment. After that time the lift is “set” and will no longer be affected by outside environment like heat and water. 

After the setting time lash lift can not drop unless the hair is treated again chemically – this is the whole point of lash lifting. If your customers tell you that their lift has “dropped” after a few weeks it has, in fact, just grown out and not dropped.

Shine Repair

Nowadays all lash lifting treatments have a final stage of nourishing lashes and adding moisture back to them. This is necessary since lashes are always slightly dehydrated from the first two stages. 

Not all nourishing agents are equally efficient though. In fact, the differences in the efficiency between different 3rd step products are HUGE, as big as between $10 and $100 face creams. The reason for this is quite simple as there are very universal parts that make up the price of any cosmetic product you have ever seen. Starting from the quality of the ingredients where the prices differ many times between high and low quality to the cost of invention – the more unique and innovative a product is compared to its old school competitors, the more time and effort has gone into its invention, which increase its price.

When we were developing our 3rd step product I wanted to push the limit and create something that was never done before and this is how Shine Repair was born. 

Shine Repair is a next-generation product for repairing eyelashes and eyebrows: 

  • It offers lashes extensive nourishment and hydration 
  • It COMPLETELY closes cuticles after a Lash Lift treatment (99-99.9%) 
  • It brings the pH down to completely neutral 
  • It makes lashes appear thicker, darker and shinier 
  • Customers have apply mascara immediately after the treatment or even go straight to a steam room without the curl dropping 

Why is this important? 

Lashes are like hair – when they are porous (cuticles are open), a lot of the good stuff you apply to them will seep out again. Usually, lash cuticles are about 30% open after the fixing stage so when you nourish them at stage three bear in mind that a lot of the ingredients will not actually stay in the lashes. 

Shine Repair closes the lash cuticles to almost 100% (99-99.9%), locking all oils, vitamins and moisture inside the lash. This means that Shine Repair is more effective than its competitors because all of the nourishment and hydration it offers actually stays inside the lashes. This also means that you don’t have to avoid water for 24 hours after a Lash Lift. This is usually necessary as lash cuticles remain a little open after a lash lift but Shine Repair closes them immediately – you can use mascara and even visit a steam sauna directly after using Shine Repair. 

Before and after use of Shine Repair

The star ingredient of Shine Repair is the Rose of Jericho, also known as the resurrection plant. The name refers to its incredible ability to survive total drought and revive itself.  

The Rose of Jericho extract in Shine Repair does the same to your lashes – Shine Repair revives even the driest and most damaged lashes. It is a perfect solution for lashes that are dehydrated and damaged by lash extensions, aggressive lash/brow lift, lash curling or mascaras. Lashes absorb nutrients and moisture that will make them look better, healthier and darker already after a single 6-minute procedure. Shine Repair can be used as a lash and brow repairing treatment at home or as the final step of the Lash Lift treatment.   

Before and after use of Shine Repair

What are the Differences Between Various Lash Lift Brands?

All the lash lifting and brow lamination products in the world have one main characteristic to determine them – how damaging or healthy they are for lashes and brows. You might think that the difference is not that big but in reality the products differ like night and day! A good comparison is thinking about bleaching your hair at a professional hair salon or by yourself, at home. Yes, the end result of both is blonde hair but the state of your hair is VERY different, depending on the products used. 

It’s the same when doing lash lifting with gentle VS aggressive products – they both lift lashes but the former leaves lashes dehydrated and has a great potential of over-processing lashes; the latter only takes a little bit more time but leaves lashes looking healthy, shiny and not prone to break.

Where does the difference come from? 

As mentioned before the key player is the curling lotion, the most aggressive stage of lash lifting. Aggressive products have very short processing times as they are so strong that they only need a little bit of time to fully penetrate lashes and completely break down disulfide bridges in the lash keratin. They pretty much shock lashes to open cuticles, raise the pH in just a few seconds and soften disulfide bridges in just a few minutes. All of this puts a huge amount of stress onto lashes and the state of lashes after that stage is like night and day compared to gentle products (remember the hair bleaching comparison). 

What damages lashes is: 

  • pH shooting up in seconds: the quicker it rises, the more damaging it is to natural lashes 
  • the pH of the curling lotion: the higher the pH, the more damaging it is to natural lashes 
  • the quality of the ingredients: the lower the quality, the more damaging it is to natural lashes 
  • over-processing happens when lashes are at heightened pH level for too long 

More gentle products need more time to achieve the same thing gently. For example our curling lotion

  • rises the pH in about 3 minutes (instead of seconds) 
  • pH of the curling lotion (and therefore pH of lashes during curling stage) is lower (ours is currently at 8.4) the special formulation of the curling lotion brings the pH down to neutral after about 15mins so there is no risk of over-processing: after about 15mins the curling lotion simply has no further effect on the lashes

When you work with aggressive products it is paramount to time curling lotion processing time very precisely as keeping it on for even 1 minute too long may over process them. When working with our lash/brow lift products you can test different processing times without ever having to worry about over-processing lashes/brows!!  

How do I know how aggressive or gentle is the brand I’m working with? 

There are a few telltale signs: 

  • processing times: the shorter the processing times, the harsher the products. NB! This does not automatically mean that products with longer processing times are automatically gentle! 
  • processing times are very precise, lashes get over processed easily if curling lotion processing time is even one minute off. With gentle brands you can safely test different processing times 
  • the smell of the curling lotion: ammonia has a very distinct rotten egg smell so the nastier the lotion smells, the more ammonia or its derivates it usually contains 
  • products that come in larger containers than just 1-3 treatments: if your curling lotion comes in a regular small bottle that you can open and close again without the pH dropping it means that it is STRONG. Gentle lotions are oxygen sensitive and are packed in airless pump bottles 
  • manufacturer recommends taking a break after a few lifts to give lashes a chance to restore. When we were testing our curling lotion we actually did FOUR lash lifts in a row without the model even getting off the bed just to check the state of lashes after that. And you know what? There was NO DAMAGE to lashes what so ever! Your customers never have to take a break from lifting treatments when they have been performed with Ruthie Belle products 
  • Customers HAVE to use a home care product to hydrate and nourish lashes and brows, without it lashes/brows look dry and wonky. With gentle lash lift products your customers don’t have to use anything extra at home besides their regular beauty routine. They can of course if they want to do something good for their lashes but it is not mandatory and their lashes will not end up looking weird if they don’t

I also made a Youtube video that explains this: just ignore the difference in the pH level compared to the picture in the blog as the video is much older and we’ve changed the formula since. 

What is a “keratin lash lift” and is it nourishing for lashes? 

”Keratin lash lift” usually means that keratin has been used as one of the ingredients in more products than just the last nourishing step of the treatment. It is often advertised as a “nourishing” treatment to your lashes implying that the inclusion of keratin in the curling and/or fixing lotion makes it the whole treatment somehow “healthier” than “regular” lash lamination (referring to curling lotions without keratin).

Firstly, keratin needs heat to be activated so for any of those products to actually offer the benefits of keratin they would have to be used only with a heating mask. 

Secondly, the harsh chemicals such as:

  • thiogylcolate 
  • ammonium bicarbonate 
  • anything with ammonium in the name 
  • ethanolamine 

…neutralize (remove) the effect of those nourishing agents in the curling lotion which means that including keratin in the curling lotion doesn’t actually make much of a difference.

So the only way a “keratin lash lift” can be better than a “regular” lash lift is that when the curling lotion is: 

  • truly organic (meaning without these aggressive ingredients) 
  • supposed to be used with added heat 

If one of those conditions is not filled, the added keratin in the lotions doesn’t make any noticeable difference to lashes or eyebrows.

What does organic lash lifting mean?

The only aggressive lotion in lash lamination is the curling lotion because it contains one or many of the following harsh chemicals: 

  • thioglycolate 
  • ammonium bicarbonate 
  • ammonium derivates (anything with ammonium in the name in the ingredients list) 
  • ethanolamine 

So, the purpose of organic lifting is to replace those harsh chemicals with more gentle organic ones.

We worked on this for over a year and launched our organic lifting solution where we have replaced them with cysteamine and plant based amino acids in January 2021.

Brow Filler

Brow Filler is an all-natural product that grows new eyelashes and brow hairs by awakening dormant hair follicles, stimulating healthy hair growth, and providing everything for lashes and brows to grow to their maximum potential.

Brow Filler:

  • Grows new eyebrow hairs and eyelashes
  • Adds volume and shine to brows and lashes 
  • Stimulates thicker, stronger and darker hair growth 
  • Strengthens lashes weakened by extensions
  • Rejuvenates skin
  • Safe to use during pregnancy
  • 100% organic ingredients
  • No stabilizers or preservatives
  • Hygienic dropper bottle
  • Compatible with Dark Matter eyelash extensions glue

Brows have not been tinted on this picture – brow hairs have become visibly darker and thicker after just two months of use. It’s even visible for hairs that haven’t grown out of the skin yet.

Brow Filler stimulates the formation of epidermal growth factor (EGF) proteins and reactivates the hair follicle’s natural nutritional processes. EGF and its receptor (EGFR) are indispensable for the initiation of hair growth, functioning as a biological switch that restarts the hair growth cycle and stimulates dormant hair follicles. High-quality natural oils and extracts nourish the hair follicles, promoting healthy hair growth.

Since Brow Filler doesn’t include any hormones, prostaglandin derivates or myristoyl pentapeptide-17 it is not irritating to eyes or skin. This, combined with the fact that it helps to rejuvenate skin, makes it the perfect product to use after brow lamination or lash lifting.
First new lashes and brow hairs will start to appear after about two weeks of nightly use and noticeable results after about one month of nightly use.

Brow Filler also helps to grow lashes a little bit longer but not as much as lash serums so you can combine it with a lash serum to grow lashes stronger and longer.

Lash Serums

The working mechanism of lash serums is to artificially elongate lash growth cycles and thus make lashes grow longer than they naturally would. After you stop using the serum, lashes will return to their normal growth cycle – that’s why it’s common to shed a lot of lashes initially after stopping the serum. 

Lash growth serums were invented when people started noticing that glaucoma (eye pressure condition) medication made lashes grow longer. Bimatoprost is one of those medications so initially people who wanted longer lashes, would just use Bimatoprost as a lash serum. However, soon after it was discovered the dangers of this practice – it not only made eyelashes grow longer but it also:

  • Changes the pressure in otherwise healthy eyes
  • Changes the color of the iris
  • Enlarges veins in the eye area (on the eyelids)
  • Makes the skin around the eyes look darker

Since these negative permanent side effects were discovered, it was prohibited to market prostaglandin/bimatoprost as a lash serum and scientists began to look for an alternative solution. The problem is, that prostaglandin/bimatoprost are very effective in growing lashes longer fast so while some scientists started looking for safe alternatives, others only started to look for ways to alternate the original ingredient enough to not eradicate the dangerous side effects but only to be able to invent a new ingredient that still has these side effect but can be given a new name to get around restrictions for prostaglandin/bimatoprost.

Some companies STILL use bimatoprost or its derivates that have the same nasty side effects because they give fast results in growing lashes longer so I decided to make an explanatory post to explain this to give you an opportunity to make an educated decision about which serum to go with and not fall for plain marketing.

The best explanation is, that the derivates of bimatoprost are basically ingredients that have very similar properties to the original ingredient but since bimatoprost has a bad rep, chemists have changed its composition just enough to be able to give a new name to the ingredient but not enough to escape its negative side effects.

Most popular prostaglandin derivates used in lash serums are:

  • Dechloro Dihydroxy Difluoro Ethylcloprostenolamide
  • Ethyl Tafluprostamide
  • Latanoprost
  • Travoprost
  • Tafluprost
  • Noralfaprostal
  • Methylamido-Dihydro-Noralfaprostal
  • Isopropyl Cloprostenate

You can recognize them in the ingredients list as they have “prost” as part of the active ingredient’s name. You can also easily recognize the effect on the lashes as they do grow super long but look wonky and “spidery”.

Today, scientists have also invented alternative ingredients that don’t have prostaglandin’s side effects. They usually take about 2-3 weeks longer to achieve longer lashes but don’t have prostaglandin’s negative side effects, nor do they make lashes look so crazy 🙂

The most popular alternatives to prostaglandin used in lash serums:

  • Myristoyl pentapeptide-17 (that’s what we use in our lash serum)
  • Myristoyl hexapeptide-16

All of the serums that contain any of these ingredients make eyelashes grow. The difference is how much of the activating ingredient has been included – this decides the serums efficiency in making lashes grow longer. Some manufacturers add ingredients to also help provide food for lashes so that they don’t only grow longer but also stronger. Also, most manufacturers add filler ingredients to lash serums to bulk them up or to make them look more appealing to customers.

We use Myristoyl pentapeptide-17 in our lash serum and we do not use any filler ingredients.

How to use lash serums?

It’s enough to use lash serums once a day because the active ingredient is so potent that using it once a day is enough to make lashes grow. Use it at night (after removing makeup) as your body restores itself over night the most. Using it twice won’t make lashes grow faster, it will only deplete your product faster 🙂 As long as the product is full, you don’t have to double dip – there is enough product on the wand for both eyes. Only when you feel that your product is getting low in the tube, double dip for the second eye.

Why retail lash serum to your customers?

Retailing lash serums to your lash lift customers is highly recommended as it will enhance the look of their lift and also add to your bottom line!

However, I don’t recommend retailing serums to your lash extension customers as it will only make their extensions grow out faster, not grow their lashes stronger (read more about the difference between how to grow lashes longer VS stronger here. The only exception are customers with super short lashes that can’t hold the length of extensions that they want to go for.

After Lift Foam

After Lift neutralizing foam closes eyelash cuticles after lash lift treatment. Open cuticles are the reason why lash lamination is normally sensitive to outside environment for 24h after the treatment – that’s the time that it takes lash cuticles to close naturally.

After Lift neutralizing foam can be used after finishing the treatment with any lash lamination brand products so that clients no longer have to wait to apply mascara, wet their lashes or even go swimming/sauna immediately after washing with the product! Eyelash extensions can also be applied right after lash lift treatment when After Lift foam is used.

It also speeds up the eyelid cleaning process and perfectly separates all lashes after Lash Lifting. Say goodbye to gunky lashes that are sticking together!