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Latisse FAQs: 21 Common Questions Answered

Kristin Hall

Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Nicholas Gibson

Published 07/11/2019

Updated 10/08/2020

Latisse® is currently the only FDA-approved medication for increasing the length, thickness and darkness of your eyelashes. Sold as a liquid solution, it’s easy to use and effective, making it a good option if you’re not satisfied with the appearance of your eyelashes. 

Do you have questions about Latisse? Below, we’ve answered 21 of the most frequently asked questions about this medication, with information covering everything from its effectiveness and ease of use, to its side effects and more. 

What is Latisse?

Latisse is a liquid solution that you apply to the base of your upper eyelids. Used daily, it can increase the length of your eyelashes. Latisse can also make your eyelashes thicker, giving them greater prominence, as well as causing them to take on a darker color.

The Latisse liquid solution contains an active ingredient called bimatoprost. Bimatoprost was approved by the FDA for a different purpose in 2001, then approved specifically for use as an eyelash growth medication in 2008. 

Unlike many other eyelash growth products, Latisse is scientifically proven to help you grow longer, thicker and more prominent eyelashes. It’s backed up by a wealth of studies showing improvements, including in people with conditions that affect eyelash growth, like chemotherapy-induced madarosis

In addition to stimulating eyelash growth, bimatoprost is also used to treat other conditions related to the eyes, such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension

Right now,experts aren’t completely sure how Latisse works to improve the length, thickness and color of your eyelashes. Currently, the scientific data suggests that Latisse increases the amount of time your eyelashes spend in the growth phase of the hair cycle.

Just like the hairs on your scalp, your eyelashes go through a four-stage cycle. At the start of the cycle, a new hair breaks from the follicle. It grows to its final length before it’s replaced by a new strand of hair. 

Latisse may increase the amount of time each lash spends in the anagen — or growth — stage of this cycle, causing it to grow longer and thicker than normal. This gives you more prominent eyelashes over the course of three to four months as each lash grows to its new length and thickness.

Yes. According to data from the FDA, 79 percent of people who use Latisse experience at least one grade increase in Global Eyelash Assessment (GEA) score after using the medication for 20 weeks or longer. 

By week 16, people who use Latisse daily experience a 25 percent mean increase in the length of their eyelashes. The increase in thickness is even more pronounced — by week 16, the mean eyelash thickness of people who use Latisse increases by 106 percent. 

Latisse also causes a slight increase in the darkness of the eyelashes, although this isn’t quite as intense as its effect on eyelash length and thickness. 

Other studies of Latisse also show that it works well as a treatment for improving growth of the eyelashes. Our guide to Latisse includes data from several studies of Latisse, with summaries of their key results and conclusions. 

Yes. Used daily at a normal dose, Latisse is an effective treatment for eyelashes hypotrichosis, a condition that causes inadequate growth of the eyelashes. In fact, Latisse is often prescribed specifically to treat this condition.

Latisse is also prescribed to treat certain forms of eyelash hair loss caused by medications, as well as for cosmetic purposes. If you have a condition that affects the length and thickness of your eyelashes, Latisse may be an effective treatment option. 

eyelash growth serum

longer, thicker, darker lashes. yes to that.

Like many other medications, the results of Latisse aren’t instant. Normally, you’ll start to notice some improvements in the length, thickness and darkness of your eyelashes after using Latisse daily for two months. 

If you use Latisse every other day, or occasionally forget to use it, it may take slightly longer for the medication to start working.  It typically takes three to four months before you’ll see the final results of Latisse. 

Latisse works as long as you continue using it, meaning you can keep applying it daily after four to five months have passed in order to maintain your results. Your eyelashes will still go through their normal growth cycle, but they’ll maintain any extra length, thickness and color. 

Many people who use Latisse switch to using it every other day after reaching their desired lash length and thickness. 

If you stop using Latisse, your eyelashes will gradually lose the extra thickness, length and color provided by the medication until they reach their previous appearance. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months or more. 

Latisse is a very easy medication to use. Applying Latisse to your eyelids is a simple process that you can complete using the sterile applicators included with the medication. In all, it only takes a few minutes every day to apply Latisse properly. 

It’s important to apply Latisse according to the instructions provided with the mediation. Like other eye medications, Latisse can cause irritation if you apply it using unclean equipment or without first washing your face and hands.

Our guide to Latisse also includes a step-by-step guide to applying Latisse that covers everything from pre-application clean-up to the best times of day to use Latisse.

Allergan, the manufacturer of Latisse, recommends applying the medication at night, shortly before bed. If you apply Latisse one hour before you plan to go to sleep, the liquid solution will have more than enough time to dry and soak into your skin.

Although Latisse is designed for use at night, it’s okay to use it in the morning to a clean, makeup-free face. Make sure you apply Latisse before applying any cosmetics or skincare products. You should wait at least 15 minutes for Latisse to dry before applying any other products to the skin near your eyes or inserting contact lenses. 

Yes. It’s okay to use mascara or other makeup at the same time as you use Latisse. Just make sure you apply Latisse first, then provide at least 15 minutes for it to dry and be fully absorbed by your skin before you apply any other makeup. 

If you apply Latisse at night, make sure that you’ve removed all of your makeup and thoroughly cleaned your face before applying the Latisse solution to your eyelids. 

Latisse is a prescription medication, meaning you’ll need to talk to a healthcare provider about whether it’s a suitable treatment for you before purchasing it. We offer Latisse online, subject to healthcare provider approval and an online consultation, with discreet delivery to your door. 

If you already have a prescription, you can purchase Latisse from many pharmacies. As Latisse is a fairly new medication, not all healthcare professionals are familiar with it. Dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons and ophthalmologists are often familiar with Latisse and can provide expert assistance. 

How much does Latisse cost? Our guide looks into the costs of this particular eyelash treatment.

Latisse is not available over the counter in the United States. You will need a prescription to buy any medications containing bimatoprost. While some eyelash growth products are sold over the counter, no over the counter product can legally contain bimatoprost as an active ingredient. 

Latisse should be stored in a convenient location away from direct sunlight. It’s recommended to store Latisse in a room with a temperature of between 36 degrees Fahrenheit  and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Your bathroom’s medicine cabinet is a great place to store your Latisse solution and the sterile applicators.

Keep each of the sterile applicators provided with Latisse inside its packaging until you need to use it to apply the solution. This will keep the applicator sterile and ensure the solution is safe to use. 

Like other medications, Latisse can cause some side effects. However, they’re uncommon and generally mild, meaning you shouldn’t let any of the potential side effects affect your decision to use Latisse. 

The most common side effects of Latisse include itching and redness of the eyes, skin darkening, and dry eye symptoms. These all affect less than four percent of people who use Latisse. All are reversible after you stop using Latisse. 

Since Latisse is applied directly to the eyelids, it’s important to use the sterile applicators that are provided with the medication. Applying Latisse using an unclean applicator or reusing the applicator could increase your risk of developing an eye infection. 

A very small percentage of people who use Latisse notice increased pigmentation of the eyes, including a change in eye color. This side effect is rare and typically occurs when bimatoprost gets into the eye, either due to direct application or accidentally while applying Latisse.

We’ve explained how and why this increase in pigmentation occurs, as well as your options if it affects you, in our guide to Latisse side effects. In general, the risk is low if you use Latisse for its intended purpose and are careful not to apply the medication directly to your eyes. 

Overall, the side effects of Latisse are mild and uncommon. Our guide to Latisse side effects goes into more detail on why they can happen, how often they occur and what you can do to treat side effects if you experience any while using Latisse. 

Although Latisse isn’t designed for enhancing eyebrow growth, it can cause your eyebrows to grow longer, thicker and fuller than normal. In fact, one study of Latisse looked at its use as a potential treatment for eyebrow hypotrichosis, a form of eyebrow hair loss.

Latisse is not yet approved by the FDA as a treatment for thin eyebrow hair and isn’t normally prescribed for this purpose. However, some healthcare providers may prescribe Latisse for off-label use to improve the thickness, length and darkness of the eyebrows. 

Latisse is safe and effective for most people. However, if you have an existing eye condition, it might not be a suitable medication for you. If you use medication for ocular hypertension and/or glaucoma, you should talk to your healthcare provider before using Latisse.

It’s also important to inform your healthcare provider if you frequently develop eye issues, such as uveitis or conjunctivitis. While Latisse is not linked to these conditions directly, applying it to your eyelids incorrectly could increase your risk of aggravating certain eye conditions. 

You should not use Latisse while you’re pregnant or nursing. While Latisse isn’t associated with any major birth defects, it hasn’t been studied in pregnant women and is not considered safe for use if you’re pregnant or nursing. For this reason, it currently holds a Category C designation from the FDA.

No. Latisse is only designed for use on your upper eyelids to improve the length, thickness and color of your upper eyelashes. Do not apply Latisse to the lower eyelid. Doing so increases the risk of the Latisse solution coming into contact with the eye and causing side effects. 

There’s no need to panic if the Latisse solution accidentally gets into your eye. If you apply the medication using the sterile applicator brush, only a small amount can come into contact with your eye at any time. If this happens, there’s no need to rinse your eyes or use eye drops. 

To minimize the risk of Latisse getting into your eye, apply it in front of a mirror with your eye completely closed. Wait for several seconds after applying it to your upper eyelid, then gently blot away any excess liquid solution to prevent it from dripping into your eye. 

No. You should only apply Latisse using the sterile applicator brushes that are included with the medication. Do not use an eyeliner brush or any other items to apply Latisse to your eyelids, as this significantly increases your risk of spreading bacteria and other substances to your eyes.

Use a separate applicator when you apply Latisse to each eyelid. After you’ve finished applying the Latisse liquid solution to your eyelids, dispose of the applicator brushes. Do not reuse any of the applicator brushes included with Latisse.

Latisse is designed for use every day, although it’s also okay to apply it every other day. If you forget to use Latisse, there’s no need to apply twice as much of the solution the next day. Just wait until the next day, then use a single drop of Latisse per eyelid, as normal. 

While your eyelashes will gradually return to their normal length, thickness and color if you stop using Latisse completely, forgetting to use the medication for a single day will have no effect on your eyelashes. 

The active ingredient in Latisse is bimatoprost. Bimatoprost has been used since 2001, when it was approved by the FDA as a treatment for several eye conditions. The Latisse liquid solution contains 0.03 percent bimatoprost. 

Used daily, Latisse can make your eyelashes longer, thicker and darker in color after three to four months. If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your eyelashes or have a condition like eyelashes hypotrichosis, Latisse could be a suitable treatment for you.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kristin Hall, FNP

Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership. 

She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH

Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare. 

Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.

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