Latisse Pros and Cons

By on December 1, 2011

By Dr. Brandith Irwin –

Many of our patients and SkinTour readers have questions about Latisse. Does it work, what is it, is it safe? All great questions which I’ll answer here. You may be seeing Latisse being sold online or in clinics that don’t know much about it. In my opinion, this is an FDA approved medical product which should be prescribed by a doctor to his/her patients after a brief history and exam, especially if any history or questions are of concern.  Problems and complications will be avoided if the medication is prescribed in this manner.

Does Latisse really work?

natural sunscreen with zinc oxide

Yes, it absolutely does work to enhance your lashes. Almost everyone who tries it notices an increase in length and sometimes an increase in thickness and darkness.  Please remember:

You need to use Latisse on your upper eyelids for at least 8-10 weeks to get full growth and thickening of the lashes.

Latisse is not cheap: $120 for a one-month supply. I recommend using your own tiny eyeliner brush (rinse and air dry after using), which will make your supply last 6-12 weeks or longer, see more details on this below.

You can try Latisse on your eyebrows if they are sparse.

Latisse Before and After Photos from Clinical Trials


Is Latisse safe to use?

Latisse is not for everyone, and it is a prescription medication, so you need to talk to a doctor, PA-C, or ARNP who can prescribe it.  In general, as long as you have healthy eyes (i.e., no glaucoma or infections), it is safe to use.  If you develop eye or eyelid irritation or eyelid discoloration, stop the product and call your doctor.

If you are not sure about how healthy your eyes are, go see your eye doctor to get an exam and ask if you are a candidate for Latisse.  Here’s a sample of questions you might be asked in your doctor’s office before getting a prescription for Latisse:

Do you have an active eye infection?

Have you ever been diagnosed with elevated intra ocular pressure or glaucoma?

Any broken or irritated skin on eyelid?

Any history of  loss of hair in eyelashes or eyebrows?

Any history of shingles/zoster around the eyes?

Any history of prior discoloration on the eyelids month

Also, these points may be gone over with you in the office or on the phone – Stop and Call Us with:

Lid Irritation/Itchiness

Iris Color Change

Lid Color Change

I have heard Latisse can change the color of my eyes, is that true?

There is a lot of misleading information floating around on the internet about this subject.  First, you need to know that Latisse was developed from a prescription drug to treat Glaucoma called Lumigan.  Lumigan is an eye drop meant to be placed directly into each eye every day.  In the original Lumigan FDA clinical trials, there was a 1% incidence of hyperpigmentation (darkening) of the eye itself, especially for patients with hazel or light brown eyes.  However, with Latisse you do not actually put the product inside of your eye, but instead along your lash line.  Even so, there is a small possibility of permanent darkening of your eye color, so if that would bother you, you may not want to use Latisse.  It can also sometimes darken the eyelid skin permanently.  To date there have been NO REPORTED CASES of any eye color change with Latisse.  Please also refer to the FDA approved prescribing information for Latisse.

Where can I get Latisse?

Your local dermatologist can prescribe Latisse for you, and most carry it in their office.  So you can pick it up and take it home that day.  You can also see my guide to the best cosmetic dermatologists around the country.   

What is the best regimen for Latisse?

In order to get the most bang for your buck out of 1 bottle of Latisse, many dermatologists suggest using the product slightly differently than outlined in the patient insert and on the Latisse website.

I instruct my patients to drop 1 drop of Latisse directly onto a very tiny eyeliner brush or into the cap of the bottle.  If you use the cap method, dip the brush into the cap.  Apply to the top of your lashes like you would eyeliner – it should feel just slightly wet.  If there is any dripping, you are putting too much on the brush.  If the brush feels dry, re-dip it into the cap.  Normally 1 drop is enough to cover both eyes.  I also suggest you use any leftover product on your eyebrows, if they could use some thickening.  Make sure you only put Latisse on the upper lash (NOT your lower lashes), and wipe off any excess product.

Unless you have an eye infection or irritation, you can also use 1 brush for both eyes. Just be sure to clean the brush well between uses and let it dry for sanitation purposes.  Replace the brush immediately if you have a problem with your eyes or the eyelid skin and call your doctor.  Also, it’s a good idea to replace the brush about every 3-6 months.

Should I use Latisse in the morning or evening?

You can use Latisse in the morning or the evening, whichever is more convenient for you.  However, many people prefer to use it in the morning instead of at night.  Put on your eye cream, then Latisse, and after it is dry, apply my eyeliner.  The Latisse may stay in place better than putting it on at night and then rolling around on your pillow.

How much does Latisse Cost?

Most dermatology offices will sell 1 kit of Latisse for $120.  Even though the prescribing information says 1 kit will last 1 month, it will often last longer.

The company who makes Latisse, Allergan, also offers a type of reward program called Brilliant Distinctions. You basically get points every time you buy Latisse (or Botox or Juvederm) and use those points to get discounts on future treatments.  It is almost like a frequent flyer program we are used to with the airlines.  Read more about Brilliant Distinctions.

Can Latisse be used on the Eye Brows?

Yes!  Latisse can be used to can help fill in sparse eyebrows.  It may also make the hairs grow longer so be prepared to have to trim more.  You don’t need much product – a tiny drop will work or use what’s left on the brush after you do your upper lashes.

How should I use Latisse once I achieve my goal length and thickness?

Once your lashes are the length and thickness you want, I think you can start using Latisse every-other-night, instead of every night.  But remember, if you stop using Latisse completely your lashes will go back to how they were before treatment.  Also, keep in mind you should see the full effect of treatment at week 16.

Are there any other products as good as Latisse but cheaper?

Many companies are coming out with lash products to compete with Latisse.  Some use the same active ingredient (bimatoprost) and others use other botanical ingredients.  Although some of these Latisse competitors may be somewhat effective in lengthening lashes, none are FDA approved like Allergan or have been tested and proven with so many patients like Latisse has.  So until some of these Latisse competitors go through clinical testing, I would stick with the product we know will work and is safe to use – Latisse.  

In conclusion:

If you really want to give Latisse a try, you will need to make it part of your regular daily routine.  The product must be used on a daily basis to start working.  I suggest keeping it very handy, perhaps right next to your toothbrush or other daily skincare products.

And please, have patience!  Latisse does take a month or more to start working, so just keep using it every night and have faith, your results will come.

Lastly, don’t try and play catch up.  If you forget one night, don’t apply double the next night.  You really only need 1 drop of product per night.  If you use more you will just cause irritation and waste product, not cause the product to work any faster.

Dr. Brandith Irwin is a board-certified Dermatologist who has been a guest medical expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Weekend Today Show.  She is the author of The Surgery-Free Makeover and Your Best Face: Looking Your Best Without Plastic Surgery!  Dr. Irwin created to provide expert, unbiased skincare information to the public.  She has no financial ties to any cosmetic company and all of the content on SkinTour comes directly from her.

About Dr. Brandith Irwin

Dr. Brandith Irwin is a board-certified Dermatologist who has been a guest medical expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Weekend Today Show. She is the author of The Surgery-Free Makeover and Your Best Face: Looking Your Best Without Plastic Surgery! Dr. Irwin created to provide expert, unbiased skincare information to the public. She has no financial ties to any cosmetic company and all of the content on SkinTour comes directly from her.

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Latisse Pros and Cons