Eyelash Extensions Vs. Lash Growth Serums: Which Is Best For You?

Behind every fluttering eyelash stands a host of products, wands, and determination. With the press of a curler and a quick swipe of your favorite mascara, your lashes could go to the moon and back. However, if your lashes are tired of holding onto multiple coats of mascara — only to find relief from a cotton pad at the end of the day — they may be ready for a more permanent solution.

Some people opt for eyelash extensions, which are "semi-permanent synthetic, faux mink or silk fibers which are applied strand by strand to your natural lashes," celebrity lash expert Clementina Richardson told Harper's Bazaar. These are individually applied to your lashes with a "specially-formulated, semi-permanent glue that will not irritate or damage the natural lash." You'll need to book an appointment with a lash expert and sit down for about 90-180 minutes to complete this process (via Xtreme Lashes). 

Extensions give you an instant lash makeover, but they don't last forever. Lash growth serums entered the market to help with that — they're created with formulas made to strengthen your lashes and help them grow naturally. Read on to learn more about each, and to determine whether either are right for you.

Both are effective ways to lengthen lashes

According to dermatopathologist Dr. Gretchen Frieling, "Lash serums are growth-enhancing formulas that stimulate lash growth. When applied regularly, the lash serum extends the telogen phase of growth, lengthening the lash growth cycle. This will keep lashes thicker and stronger," (via Byrdie). Formulas can have variations of proteins in them, including amino acids and peptides, that can help build up your lashes. Most of these eyelash growing serums are available over the counter. You can ask your dermatologist about Latisse, too, which is the only FDA-approved lash serum. With regular use, you'll see results in about two months using Latisse (via Mayo Clinic).

In comparison, eyelash extensions give you immediate results post-appointment. They're also waterproof, customizable, and painless to apply (via Byrdie). However, you will have to invest time and money with extensions — they only last about four weeks, and they don't come cheap. They're also sensitive to oils and any kind of rubbing and serums, and possible side effects include infection and irritation. Serums can give you similar side effects, too, so we'd recommend speaking to a provider before using either option.