A Lashing Impact

Full, healthy, and lush lashes are all the rage today among people of all ages. In fact, the eyelash growth category is now a billion-dollar industry and continues to grow with the release of more products that help enhance the appearance of the eyes, including lash conditioners. Many consumers are recognizing the benefits that lash conditioners offer, such as their ability to help defend against physical, chemical, and biological stressors that can often leave lashes dry and brittle. Such stressors include the natural aging process, stress, hormones, genetics, diet and nutrition, and environmental aggressors, according to Sabrina Little, director of marketing and product development at Athena Cosmetics, makers of RevitaLash Advanced. “The cumulative impact on lash beauty can hit your clients from all angles—young and old, male or female—and can take a great toll on their confidence,” she says. Lash conditioners not only help defend against these stressors but they also help leave lashes nourished, healthy, and with a fuller appearance. “Many of us incorporate a daily regimen of applying vital nutrients topically to our skin and hair, but we often neglect conditioning a very important and prominent feature on our face—our lashes,” says Nicole Pigott, brand manager at RapidLash.

The eyelash growth cycle has three phases: anagen is the active growth phase, catagen is the transitional phase, and telogen is the resting phase. Unlike the hair cycle, which ranges anywhere from six months to seven years, eyelashes have a much shorter cycle, ranging from 30 to 60 days. According to Alicia Grande, CEO, owner, and founder of Grande Naturals, makers of GrandeLash-MD, the ingredients in lash conditioners affect the anagen phase by increasing the duration and the number of hairs in the growth phase. Lash conditioners help to stimulate the dormant hair follicles and nourish lashes, keeping them healthier and preventing breakage, she says. Katlin Stewart, marketing coordinator at CBI Laboratories, adds that by addressing hair and scalp health at the cellular level, the penetration of actives to the follicles is increased. “Such actives provide intense moisture or antioxidants that help improve the health and strength of follicles, preventing eyelash or eyebrow fallout,” says Stewart. “Less hair loss means a fuller, thicker set of lashes and brows. Daily use encourages improved softness and strength of hair, protection from free radicals, and intense hydration for a healthy sheen.”

A Lengthy Discussion

A lash conditioner is beneficial to any client seeking fuller and thicker-looking lashes, especially those clients with dull, brittle lashes. According to Erin Ferrill, director of east coast sales and education for HydroPeptide, it’s important for clients to understand that there is more to lash conditioners than just increasing the length of lashes. Ingredients such as amino acids, peptides, and vitamins also nourish, strengthen, and improve the overall health and appearance of lashes. According to Grande, typical ingredients in lash conditioners include peptides, which help condition and activate dormant hair follicles; hyaluronic acid, which helps lashes maintain moisture; and pantethine, which helps soothe the lash base and maintain a healthy balance. “These ingredients keep the eyelashes flexible and less likely to break,” she says.

In addition, glycosaminoglycans can promote the ability of collagen fibers to retain water and bind moisture to the epidermis, increasing flexibility and aiding in cell respiration; peony root extract provides antioxidant properties to improve lash and brow health; and vitamin B5 deeply moisturizes as well as acts as a regenerative, according to Stewart. RevitaLash Advanced features a combination of potent antioxidants and fortifying amino acids, while Nouriche eyelash conditioner consists of humectants to draw moisture from the air to the lashes and peptides to help strengthen and enrich the lashes. Similarly, RapidLash includes a combination of six key ingredients, including amino acids, biotin, panthenol, polypeptides, pumpkin seed extract, and soybean oil. “These ingredients help protect against breakage, seal in moisture, nourish, fortify, and add flexibility to the lash hair,” says Pigott. “Additionally, they add shine to make lashes appear more lush and voluminous.”

Allergan’s Latisse, which is the first and only prescription treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), contains the active ingredient bimatoprost, a prostaglandin analog, to promote lash growth. The ingredient is effective in growing lashes, but it also carries the risk of unwanted side effects. From darkening of the eyelid skin and possible change of iris pigmentation to itching sensations and redness, the warnings are real and should be taken seriously. “There are concerns about side effects with some traditional lash conditioners and growth serums, especially those that require a prescription,” says Ferrill. “Some clients can use these products with no ill effects while others have reported iris pigmentation, eye irritation, as well as lashes growing where they shouldn’t. However, peptide-based lash conditioners offer a great alternative because they are so gentle, and they are free from side effects for the vast majority of users.”

Selling Points

While prescription lash conditioners are only available through healthcare providers, non-prescription products can be sold over the counter, which offers your spa an opportunity to cash in on a lucrative and growing trend in the beauty industry. There are several ways in which your spa can incorporate lash conditioners into treatments. At LakeHouse Spa at Lake Austin Spa Resort (TX), clients can choose the Vital Eyes ($70, 25 minutes) service as a stand-alone treatment or a facial add-on. This service includes an application of RevitaLash Advanced to help strengthen and refresh lashes and brows and help boost microcirculation of the hair follicles for longer, healthier lashes and more defined brows. “Vital Eyes has been extremely popular for the past several years and continues to grow in interest and popularity,” says spa director Robin Jones. Because the continued use of the product can help enhance the results of the treatment, estheticians always include the lash conditioner in a list of recommended products the guest should consider purchasing after their facial.

Hannah Duncan, co-owner of Aesthetic Ambassadors, recommends that spas also include eyelash conditioners in series or packages. For example, she encourages spas to include a six-week supply of Embellash by The Crave Collection eyelash conditioner when clients purchase an anti-aging eye treatment. “The esthetician or lash tech breaks the seal, shows the client how to apply, and then sends them home with it,” says Duncan. “The client uses it every night, and after about four weeks, their lashes look longer, so they come back and buy a full retail size. This works well for spas and lash bars.”

Lash conditioners can also be incorporated in lash extension services, as many clients who use extensions suffer from weakened lashes, and eyelash conditioners can help protect and improve the appearance of the natural eyelashes and also prepare lashes for the service. “One cannot have a successful lash extension result without a solid lash base to work with,” says Pigott.

According to Grande, another way to introduce clients to a spa’s lash and brow products is to set up an Eye Bar in the retail area where customers have the opportunity to try out the products. Pigott recommends utilizing educational displays with before-and-after pictures so clients can see the results of the lash conditioner and educate and train spa staff about the product ingredients, their benefits, and proper application to increase sales of these products. She also believes it is important that the spa’s staff personally try the product so they can experience the results firsthand and then share their opinions with clients. “Other marketing strategies that can increase sales are placing brand signs in service rooms or having the spa staff wear brand buttons to get clients to inquire about the product,” says Pigott. Also, place lash conditioners and marketing pieces near the checkout area, as well as in waiting areas. “This allows clients to self-shop whether or not a team member is available to assist them,” says Ferrill. “Be sure to advertise that many clients will be able to switch to a maintenance routine after they achieve full results. This means that after their initial investment, they can use far less of the product to maintain their results, which will be more cost effective.”

Hot Lash

While the eyelash category is popular right now, it is still relatively new to the beauty industry. Little believes it will continue to grow and be a profitable addition to a spa’s treatment menu and retail area, as she has noticed a growing trend and strong desire by the average woman to have healthier-looking and more dramatic eyelashes. “As the population is aging, women are paying more and more attention to their lashes and brows in an attempt to hold on to a youthful appearance,” she says. “The younger demographic is looking for a strong pop to their features to frame their faces and follow the fashion model trends on runways and print ads. This bold trend is supported by the growing number of eyelash and brow bars popping up across the country. In order to stay competitive and viewed as the authority in maintaining a youthful appearance, spas have the opportunity to capitalize on this trend by making eyelash conditioners top of mind to their clientele and investing time and money in bringing in a well-established brand and training their staff in all things lashes.”

Turn up the volume on clients’ lashes with products from these companies.—Jessica Morrobel

  1. Ardell Lash & Brow Excel: This concentrated growth accelerator serum repairs weak lashes and brows to create a fuller look. www.ardelllashes.com
  2. Blinc Black Lash Primer: This volume-enhancing eyelash primer coats lashes to prep for mascara application and protects against free radicals and environmental stressors. www.blincinc.com
  3. Bodyography Dramat-Eyes Mascara: Containing vitamin B5, this water-resistant, dual-ended mascara conditions lashes so they resist breakage and look fuller without flaking or clumping. www.bodyography.com
  4. CBI Laboratories Lash + Brow Conditioning Treatment: Combining a blend of amino acids, botanicals, and minerals, this moisturizing treatment hydrates and strengthens lashes and brows for a healthy appearance. www.cbiskincare.com
  5. Grande Naturals GrandeLash-MD: Infused with a blend of amino acids, peptides, and vitamins, this clinically tested eyelash conditioner promotes longer, fuller, and thicker lashes within four to six weeks. www.grandelashmd.com
  6. HydroPeptide Lash Longer Fuller Lusher: Featuring biotin and folic and hyaluronic acids, this lash enhancer strengthens lashes, minimizes breakage, and protects against moisture loss. www.hydropeptide.com
  7. Jane Iredale—The Skin Care Makeup PureLash Conditioner: Featuring algae and sweet almond seed extracts, this eyelash primer and treatment conditions and prevents breakage while encouraging growth. www.janeiredale.com
  8. LashFood Phyto-Medic Natural Eyelash Conditioner: Made with gingko biloba and soy protein, this conditioner works at the cellular level to promote the appearance of longer, thicker lashes. www.lashfood.com
  9. NovaLash Lash+Doctor: Safe for contact lens wearers, this pH-balanced eyelash and eyebrow growth serum strengthens the hair follicle with natural plant extracts and peptides for a voluminous and youthful look. www.novalash.com
  10. RapidLash Eyelash and Eyebrow Enhancing Serum: This paraben-free serum helps enhance and fortify lashes and brows with a blend of biotin and pumpkin seed extract. www.rapidlash.com
  11. RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner: Designed to address brittle, weak, and thin lashes, this eyelash conditioner improves flexibility and adds shine. www.revitalash.com
  12. The Crave Collection Embellash: Infused with oat seed extract and vitamin B5, this treatment enhances the appearance of lashes, minimizes breakage, and helps protect and soothe the eyelid. www.thecravecollection.com