Yesterday I attended an intimate luncheon hosted by Latisse--you know, that product that Brooke Shields used to hawk that promises to make your eyelashes grow--to meet with their latest spokeswoman, Claire Danes.
Latisse, made by Allergan (the same folks who brought you Botox), was approved by the FDA at the end of 2008 and launched in March of 2009. To date, over 1.5 million bottles have been sold. The product, as the ubiquitous commercials make plain, is the "first and only prescription treatment approved by the FDA to grow lashes longer, fuller and darker for those with inadequate or not enough lashes (eyelash hypotrichosis)."
Talk about a problem you never knew you had. Whenever I see the commercials I feel bad for my eyelashes and their inadequacies.
So I was curious to find out why Claire Danes, who once uttered, "I bet people can actually die of embarrassment. I bet it’s been medically proven,” as Angela Chase back in 1994 (thanks EW for pointing this out), was shilling for Latisse.
It's a product that has come under fire for side effects that include discoloration of the iris and eyelid. Danes even admitted to experiencing some redness within the first few weeks of using Latisse. To be fair, these side effects are rare and only affect one to three percent of users. And that NYT article with the scary picture of a woman whose whole eyelids had been discolored by the lash-lengthening drug had used it without a prescription.
When asked about why she'd decided to become the Latisse girl, Danes, who looked stunning in an Alberta Ferretti shift, could only offer that she was curious about the product, and "the more I learned about Latisse, the more impressed I was." We're betting she was more impressed with the buckets of money she's likely making from this gig.
Money aside, Danes' lashes really did look amazing. They were long and full and dark and I could see all that from across the table. "I've never used a product that actually affected real physical change," she says. If you want proof just look at the before and afters.
Danes says she never had any "eye lash insecurity...[though] looking back, it seems like I did have inadequate lashes." The perks? Besides having to use little or no mascara, Danes says butterfly kisses with hubby Hugh Dancy have gotten a whole lot better.
But how about a non-movie star, non-Latisse-spokeswoman's take on the magic lash potion?
Alyssa Vingan, a frequent Fashionista contributor, used Latisse and she says "it made a huge difference for me--I would definitely recommend it."
Vingan is a cancer survivor. After undergoing chemotherapy she lost her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.
"Having no eyelashes was the thing that made me look the worst," says Vingan. "When you have no eyelashes or eyebrows that's when you look sick. My eyelashes were the first thing I wanted to come back--that was my priority. So I got a prescription for Latisse from my plastic surgeon and it really did help. I felt better almost immediately after the results started coming in after about a month of using it."
Vingan stopped using Latisse after a few months, when her hair follicles had "woken up" again. She was also worried about some of the side effects, and found the cost, $120 for a 3mL bottle, prohibitive.
The bottom line is, this stuff seems to work. And for Vingan, it helped make her look and feel "not sick" after battling cancer. That's pretty awesome.