When I first did my research on lash serums in early summer 2022, I didn’t find anything too alarming, so I went ahead and bought one from UK Lash, a brand that seemed reputable and at a mid-range price point. I used it daily for eight weeks and to my amazement, it actually worked – my lashes grew longer than they ever had before. One tube lasted around four months, so I bought my next one and carried on with it as part of my evening bedtime routine. If you want your lashes to grow, I highly recommend UK Lash eyelash serum for short-term use – but it does come with some risks.
About six months later – sometime around Christmas in 2022 – I noticed my eyelids were darker (a common side effect of UK Lash according to customer reviews) and my eyes felt a bit irritated. I was really run down that December, along with the rest of my family, so I put it down to a virus that was affecting my body as a whole. However, I stopped using the serum to give my eyes a break, along with most of my make-up including my lash curlers and mascara. Towards the end of January, I felt much better – we all did – so I picked up the lash serum and makeup and got back to my routine. I’ve been using it ever since – I’ve been enjoying my long lashes and haven’t had any real issues with my eyes. Or so I thought.
Fast forward to this week – January 2024 – when I posted a video about my lash transformation on Instagram. As part of my Instagramming, I like to do a bit of research while reminding people that although I’m sharing my experiences and thoughts, they are just that – my opinion. That said, I realise there’s a level of responsibility on me when I’m recommending products or services to other people who I very much hope trust my judgement, but I never want anyone to simply take my word for it as although I’m honest in my reviews, I’m not an expert.
While sharing my recent video about the lash serum and my favourite mascara (this is an ad/affiliate link) I thought I’d better just check in on the lash serum background again since I was actively posting about it… I found this article on Refinery29 and it stopped me in my tracks. Most lash serums contain an ingredient called prostaglandin, which was originally used in drugs/medicines/eye drops for patients with glaucoma and one side effect reported was intense lash growth. According to the article, this is because prostaglandin encourages the active growing phase of the eyelashes so that they grow for longer, increases the size of the base of the lash so each one appears thicker, and stimulates the production of melanin so the lashes appear darker (which has been reported to also alter the pigmentation of the surrounding skin/eye).
I did already know that the eyelids might become more pigmented by using the serum, which I was okay with – but what I hadn’t realised at the time (either the information didn’t extend to this or I entirely missed it) was that prostaglandin not only risks changing the colour of the eye and surrounding area, it also risks orbital fat loss – basically, your eyes become sunken and hollow, another side effect reported by the glaucoma patients using the medicine with prostaglandin in it. On further digging, I found many TikTok videos on this and – although I don’t use TikTok as a trusted source of information – it did spur me on to do more research online, and it encouraged me to reach out to medical professionals in my Instagram community to offer advice. One doctor came back to say that they wouldn’t use a lash serum and sent me a report that confirms the side effects I’ve described in this blog, which was to say that there are risks associated with lash serums containing prostaglandin that eyes can become irritated, swollen, inflamed, sunken and darker. He also said that I could be immune to these side effects which might mean not everyone will experience them, and many people don’t. However, you might be like me and putting your sore, irritated, heavy eyes down to excess screen time, winter bugs or tiredness.
In an attempt to clear this up in my own mind, I’ve decided to stop using the lash serum. I’m interested to see if the colour/pigmentation of my eyelids reduces or clears and find out if my eyes (and my body at times) feel less exhausted. One major concern of mine is that some reports said that side effects can become irreversible over a prolonged period of time – I can’t knowingly risk the health of my eyes in the name of vanity.
I’ll update this post in another 4-6 weeks to keep you posted on my progress/findings.
Meantime, there are good reports and a few positive recommendations in my Instagram DMs for a natural lash serum that doesn’t contain prostaglandin, and the Refinery29 article suggests peptide based serums are a better choice for nourishment rather than forced stimulation. Of course, there’s the old wives’ tale of caster oil on the lashes to help keep them healthy, and there are always false lashes for those big meetings and fun nights out when you want a little more pizazz. I’ve always been a fan of the individual false lashes which are easy to attach with DUO surgical glue/lash glue.
Disclaimer: I’ve been a brand ambassador for UK Lash for a few months and have been give one ambassador reward code by the brand, which I used on a lash serum having bought three myself over the last 18 months or so. Due to my recent research and decision to pause my lash serum, I’ve reached out to UK Lash to discontinue the ambassadorship.