Website Review: Latisse.com, for longer lashes

With very few exceptions, we seem to be a culture at war with our hair. In most cases, we want to obliterate it completely, as if it were some smaller, furrier version of the Taliban, but without the car bombs. In a few places, we hope simply to control the outbreak, like in our nostrils where we know the insurgents are necessary to retain some sense of local order, as long as they stay mostly hidden in caves.

I can think of only two places where we want our hair growing full and luxuriant. One is obviously the scalp; the other is more difficult for most people to recall. I’ll give you a hint: it’s a head-based hair common to both sexes, the best of them are thick and dark, and if we’re not happy with our natural ones, it’s possible to glue caterpillar-like appendages into place as fakes. No, not the moustache. It’s the eyelash.

The lash does perform a function from its sensitive place atop our eyelids. Face scientists tell us it acts much the same as whiskers in cats, providing a warning that an offensive intruder — an insect, a dust mite, Sean Hannity — is near, signaling the eye to close reflexively. However, even in our earliest history, the eyelash was also seen as decoration, a way for people from as far back as the Bronze Age to put down their bronzers for a minute and instead consider ways to make their eyes pop, without having their heads stepped on by a mastodon.

Now, the cosmetic pharmaceutical industry has been kind enough to step forward with its usual barbaric solution. Not quite as bad as needles stuck into your face or having to watch Cialis ads with your son, a new product called Latisse can give you longer, fuller, darker lashes in only 16 weeks of poking yourself in the eye with a chemical-covered wand. This week’s Website Review takes a closer look at this product.

Allergan is the creator of Latisse.com and the maker of Latisse, along with products such as Botox, Juvederm (a “dermal filler” to eliminate parentheses from your cheeks, while leaving other facial punctuation unedited), and the Lap-Band Adjustable Gastric Banding System. They also make Natrelle, described as the “world’s most elegant” breast implants, and allow you to order a “test drive” kit to help determine your “breast goals” from the over 140 different styles. Fortunately, my own breast goals simply involve touching someone else’s, so I’ll be saving a ton on shipping charges. (Still have to pay for handling, unfortunately.)

The home page of Latisse.com prominently features the product’s spokesmodel, actress Brooke Shields. I’d always thought she was known more for her eyebrows, yet perhaps that’s why she was chosen, to give women the confidence they might be able to grow lashes so long as to obscure the brow. The claims offered by Latisse are that you can make your eyelashes 25% longer, 106% fuller and 18% darker with only 16 weeks of treatment, so it’s worth considering how far along you could be after five to seven years. You may not even have to worry about how the rest of your face looks.

Throughout the website, Latisse is referred to as “the first and only FDA-approved prescription treatment for inadequate or not enough eyelashes,” an awkward phrasing perhaps but far better than the condition’s technical name of “hypotrichosis.” (Your eyelash deformation could be worse — among other conditions described in the medical literature are blepharitis, caused by small mites living in the lash; external hordeolum; or trichotillomania, a disorder that compels you to pull them out).

There are a number of pull-down menus to offer the curious shopper what they might be in for with a regimen of Latisse treatment. The How to Apply section includes a video of the five-step process, noting several times the applicator must stay on the base of the upper eyelash, because the product can cause hair growth wherever it lands, including your eyeball. There are Tips for Success that encourage a nightly routine, safe usage with the FDA-approved applicator (no Q-tips, toothbrushes or trowels) and the suggestion to chart your progress by marking a calendar and taking pictures for your own “before and after gallery.”

The What to Expect section warns that it may take up to eight weeks before most people start to see results, so patience is key. You might also want to keep an eye out for possible side effects, such as itching, redness and the color of your iris changing from blue to brown. Your new improved lashes could also grow in at different lengths, thicknesses and colors, and may grow in different directions, giving an unaesthetic bushiness to your look. If that’s the case, you may want to contact a member of the Hadza tribe of central Tanzania, where the custom is to trim your eyelashes rather than grow them long.

The Frequently Asked Questions section is always a good place to slip in a few of the less-desirable features of the product in the context of what appears to be a casual conversation. How does Latisse work? No idea. Is it a replacement for mascara? No. Can I get a prescription from any doctor? Possibly, though you might want to consult the handy on-line list of those they managed to take on golf outings. What are some of the scary-sounding but inactive ingredients? Citric acid, hydrochloric acid and lots of chemicals with sodium, which is known to be violently reactive with water. Also benzalkonium chloride. What should I do if I experience itching? Scratch your eye. Can’t you figure out any of this on your own?

Under a Before and After section, there’s extensive photographic documentation of how you’ll never be as beautiful as Brooke Shields, even if you have diamond grills instead of eyelashes. “From the silver screen to the red carpet, Brooke’s iconic eyes have always been front and center,” reads the introduction to Brooke’s gallery. You’d have to agree that front and center are good locations for eyes, though you’d probably prefer one eye to be slightly to the left and the other slightly to the right. The interactive slide show allows you to zoom in, zoom out and “mouse over” Brooke’s eyes as pictured at various stages during her four-month treatment, to see all the different angles at which her lashes are swelling to inhuman proportions. There’s also a Featured Women gallery showing results for model-types like Mekenna, Kelly and Sarah, and the Clinical Trial Gallery where they put the average-looking woman who, along with hamsters, were used during the testing phase of development.

Note how his eyes 'pop'

Note how his eyes 'pop'

Under the Testimonials pull-down, there’s a page featuring the compensated endorsement of Anastasia Soare, described as Beverly Hills’ “definitive brow expert,” as well as a collection of patient comments. “I literally had no eyelashes before and my eyes looked weird,” wrote Jeannie. “I never realized their value until they were gone. Now, I have beautiful long lashes.” Jolynn comments that “my eyelashes got so long, the tips hit the lenses in my sunglasses!” Ticklish, perhaps, but a great way to keep your glasses clean.

There’s a neat timeline on the “evolution of lash enhancers,” that goes all the way back to 4000 BC when ancient Egyptians used a mix of soot and metal to give them their distinctive look. In the European Middle Ages, cosmetics “flourished” among those whose faces weren’t hopelessly deformed by smallpox, plague or being British. In 1916, filmmaker D.W. Griffith featured the first on-screen use of false eyelashes, a technology that was successfully transferred a year later to the trench warfare of World War I. Modern lashes date their origin to the 1960s, as popularized by the model Twiggy, who had wood shavings for eyelashes.

There’s a place where you can Tell a Friend by sending an e-card to the lash-impaired acquaintance of your choosing. There are templates for the “social butterfly,” the “wedding belle” and of course the “modern woman,” who is told “you do so much, so well, so effortlessly, it’s amazing that you even have time to do things just for you. Ask your doctor if Latisse is right for you, since it’s available by prescription only,” though if you know a guy who knows a guy, you’ll save on that pesky co-pay.

Finally, there’s the obligatory nod to charity and good deeds. The Latisse Wishes campaign has teamed with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to raise money for children with life-threatening medical conditions who want to experience one final joyous experience that hopefully involves longer, fuller lashes.

Latisse.com is a well-constructed, informative website with lots of pictures and video of Brooke Shields, and I can recommend a visit to those looking for improvements in the upper half of their heads. I come within an eyelash of giving it five styes on a scale of one to five.

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3 Responses to “Website Review: Latisse.com, for longer lashes”

  1. fakename2 Says:

    This is the best website review ever. As a blonde, I’ve always felt personally cheated in the eyelash and eyebrow departments, and now finally…Still, at my age, I never try a new product unless I at least get a toaster, a flash drive, a canvas bag with a picture of a sandhill crane on it, or two free tickets to the Transiberian Orchestra to go with it.

  2. Mariel Fandino Says:

    Oh what fun..im 33 and I loved your whole presentation…give us more more more. I remember back in my childhood all the different hairstyles that we had available to us. The curls, oh the fantastic curls look was so hot. Thanks for taking me down memory lane

  3. alexandria sell home Says:

    Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so. Really nice post!

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