Today, Latisse revealed -- during a breakfast at New York City's swanky Hudson Hotel -- that the actress would follow in Brooke Shields' footsteps as a new spokesmodel for the FDA-approved lash grower. The announcement comes on the first anniversary of the prescription product, whose active ingredient bimatoprost was previously used to treat glaucoma patients.
While there are a flood of lash growth products on the market now, Latisse is the only brand to have undergone clinical trials under maker Allergan. After 8 weeks of use, 50% of patients see longer and fuller lashes - and by the 16th week, 78% of patients are fluttering along happily. The dramatic results occur due to bimatoprost's ability to lengthen the three-phase growth cycle that all of our lashes go through.
Yet a widely publicized side effect has scared many women from jumping on the bandwagon.
About 1.5% of light-eyed patients who used the drug experienced a permanent darkening of the eye iris, which predominantly occurred in blue and green eyes with brown flecks. Bimatoprost seemed to make the flecks grow larger, until they connected, causing the eye color to appear darker.
Though Chief Medical Officer at Allergan Dr. Frederick Beddingfield notes that no one in the 278-person Latisse study experienced this -- it was seen in glaucoma studies where patients drop the liquid directly into the eyes, as opposed to just on the lash line for growth.
If you're messy with your lash line application, there's also a risk the liquid can darken surrounding skin - particularly if you're prone to hyperpigmentation like certain Asian and Hispanic skin tones. Handy tip? A slick of Vaseline around the eye area can prevent seepage by acting as a barrier between product and skin. Unlike the darkening eye effect, this one is reversible after use of Latisse is stopped.
Another detractor is the cost of admission. The suggested retail price is $120 for a 30 day supply. However, many Latisse devotees talk of successfully using the product every other day for maintenance after they hit their desired length, which saves both bucks and product.
"Many of my patients say they use less eye makeup and pricey department store mascara, which helps offset the cost a bit," says ophthalmologist Dr. Marguerite McDonald.
Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu was also on hand to endorse the product, which she uses on her Hollywood clientele. "The younger set wants to create a more dramatic and striking look, while my older clients want to get back the lashes they had in their 30s and 40s," says Wu.
But it was Dr. Wu's flawlessly youthful skin that got our attention; it had lots of natural movement when she spoke, yet there was not a line or furrow in sight. We had to know - what is her secret?
"A touch of botox, strategically placed, is all you need. Botox is like makeup -- use too much, and it ages you. Use a touch, and it makes you look younger. I'm going to the AAD's next week (The annual American Academy of Dermatology Association convention), and I just know I'm going to see a room filled with lots of scary-looking lifted faces. We're supposed to be the experts, but so many of us overdo it!" says Wu.
Can it be possible to overdo lash growth too?
"I've yet to hear a patient complain of that," laughs Wu.
Fabulously feathery lashes aren't all that Allergan is interested in; we heard that top-secret experiments are underway to see how growing lashes can translate into growing hair on the tops of our heads.
"We're in the early stages of developing a product for baldness. It's not as easy as you would think, because the skin on the head is totally different from the skin around your eyes," says Dr. Beddingfield.
We're wondering: might Bruce Willis or Andre Agassi be getting a celebrity endorsement offer soon?