Eyelash Extensions: LATISSE vs Xtreme Lashes


Since receiving its FDA approval in early '09, LATISSE™ has been hot news in the cosmetic enhancement industry, with celebrities like Brooke Shields and Mandy Moore lining to sing its praises. It's not too surprising considering LATISSE is presently the only FDA-approved prescription eyelash treatment, and that it reportedly improves the length and density of patients' eyelashes. But before you make a mad dash for your local drug store—LATISSE is a prescription treatment, so it's not available commercially. Additionally, there are possible risks to using LATISSE incorrectly. In fact, some eyelash enhancement patients still opt for the similar, instant benefits of eyelash extensions, such as Xtreme Lashes®, rather than LATISSE.

LATISSE for Lovely Lashes?

LATISSE is the creation of cosmetic industry leader, Allergan, who brought us BOTOX® Cosmetic and Juvederm—a couple of today's top wrinkle-removing injectables. But how does LATISSE work? What should patients know about this prescription eyelash treatment?

First of all, the main active ingredient in LATISSE is bimatoprost, a topical ingredient that was initially used to treat glaucoma and ocular hypertension—bimatoprost's positive effect on eyelash growth was discovered during treatment of these eye diseases. Allegedly, by binding bimatoprost to the root and shaft of individual eyelashes, regularly and at various points, LATISSE can build up the eyelashes during the hair's growth phase. Other product claims include LATISSE's ability to treat hypotrichosis, and to prolong the eyelash growth phase in general, so eyelashes will continue to grow for a longer period of time.

As you may have heard from Brooke Shields, LATISSE is only available through trusted cosmetic providers and physicians. Recommended application for LATISSE is once a day, preferably at nighttime, to the base of clean upper lashes with a one-time use applicator. Patients are advised to only use LATISSE on the upper lashes, as the lower lashes weren't tested in clinical trials. Plus, it's assumed that some solution will transfer to bottom lashes during sleep.

Lashes to the Xtreme

Fake eyelashes have been popularly used ever since the days of Sonny and Cher. But recently, certain beauty professionals have created lash extensions and enhancements that last longer and look better then the drugstore glue-on variety. One of the leading companies in lash extensions is Xtreme Lashes® Eyelash Extensions.

Xtreme Lashes LLC was originally founded by a working wife and mother, Jo Mousselli, out of her home. Today, Xtreme Lashes are provided by cosmetic clinics and beauticians in 24 countries. Xtreme Lashes providers require training in the proper application, care and maintenance of Xtreme Lashes before they can offer them to patients.

The Xtreme Lashes themselves are made of non-allergenic, synthetic polyester, and are designed to exactly imitate the shape, weight and texture of natural lashes. Xtreme Eyelash Extensions come in single lash fibers that are carefully attached, one by one, to the natural lash line. They are available in four different thicknesses, and in lengths ranging from 6-17mm. As far as lash color goes, Xtreme Lashes come in natural brown and black shades, as well as boldly colored pink, purple and blue variations for the more "Xtreme" ladies. For an in between look, Xtreme "Eyelighting" lash extensions use subtly blended colors to enhance a consumer's natural eye and skin tones.

Xtreme Lashes are applied by a trained lash stylist at a professional cosmetic facility. Treatments reportedly take 90-150 minutes for the first application (where an average of 60-120 lashes are applied to each eye), and 15-60 minutes for touch-ups. Xtreme Lashes can't treat hypotrichosis or be applied to individuals with no eyelashes.

Which Eyelash Enhancement Option Should I Choose?

Thicker, longer eyelashes are something most women strive to get, either by using expensive mascaras, taking fad vitamin supplements, buying top-rated eyelash curlers, or even looking into lash implants. But the majority of today's lash-starved females have yet to find an affordable, sure-fire solution to thin, sparse lashes. However, both Xtreme Lashes® extensions and LATISSE™ promise to create lush, dark, amazing eyelashes for their patients—and both have evidence supporting their effectiveness. So which one is right for you?

Cost Concerns

As far as eyelash enhancement cost goes, LATISSE is generally more affordable than Xtreme Lashes. This is because Xtreme Lashes, after the initial $250-$600 for the first treatment, will cost about $75-$100 per month for lash touch-ups. By comparison, the LATISSE treatment solution comes in a bottle that can cost anywhere between $100-$300—many LATISSE consumers have said that one bottle will last up to 2-4 months.

Both Xtreme Lashes and LATISSE are not permanent, and both treatments must be continued for long-lasting lash results. Considering this, eyelash enhancement patients can expect to spend upwards of $1000 per year (using lowest average cost amounts, including first-time treatment) for Xtreme Lashes; for LATISSE, cost per year would be more in the $600 range (using lowest cost average amount, and assuming one bottle lasts 2 months).

Pain-Free, Please

If possible side effects and/or discomfort are your top deciding factors, maybe Xtreme Lashes will be the more appropriate choice. These lash extensions reportedly cause patients no pain, and there shouldn't be side effects from the extensions' application or use. Risks associated with eyelash extensions are largely the result of at-home attempts at application, or entrusting someone without training to attach their extensions. Xtreme Lashes are reportedly safe for everyone; the only non-candidates are individuals who have no eyelashes (possibly from chemotherapy or illness), since the extensions need the support of natural lashes to correctly attach.

LATISSE patients shouldn't experience pain with use, but care should be taken to avoid getting LATISSE directly in the eyes. These are some possible LATISSE side effects included in its safety information:

  • Eye redness
  • Eye itching
  • Eye irritation
  • Dryness of the eyes and/or eyelids
  • Hyperpigmentation of skin on the eyelids

Any redness or minor itching is reported to be temporary, and should subside soon after beginning treatment. Some patients have asked if LATISSE can cause their eye color to change with frequent treatment use. According to the LATISSE™ website, no iris pigmentation occurred during LATISSE clinical trials, but increased brown pigmentation has been reported in the cases of bimatoprost-based medications used directly on the eyes for glaucoma treatment.

While many LATISSE patients have reported no side effects, a certain amount have experienced some eye redness upon initial use. To be sure that LATISSE patients are not more susceptible to side effects, treatment directions should be strictly followed, and patients should speak with a doctor before starting treatment.

Lash Results

Both LATISSE and Xtreme Lashes can improve lash density, lash length and lash darkness. Xtreme Lashes obviously will provide an immediate boost to lashes after the first treatment. LATISSE can reportedly take up to 8 weeks before results are apparent, but many patients have noticed lash improvement in as little as 2 weeks.

Once Xtreme Lashes are attached, the results will last about 2-4 weeks before a touch-up is needed to replenish the lash extensions. For LATISSE, once patients have achieved their maximum lash length and thickness (which can take 12-16 weeks), results can be maintained with continued use. Some patients who reported cutting treatment usage back to 2-3 times per week, after the 12-16 week period was up, supposedly maintained their LATISSE results.

Another difference in the results of these two lash enhancers is in their options for lash appearance. While LATISSE was created to enhance patients' natural lashes, Xtreme Lashes eyelash extensions are available in different "Xtreme" sizes and colors. Patients who want a certain costume look or who like to make a statement might prefer the different lash styles available with Xtreme Lashes. Patients who want more natural-looking lashes, or who don't want to use synthetic lash extensions may be happier with LATISSE. Additionally, LATISSE is the only option of the two that can treat patients with no eyelashes or with hypotrichosis.

Choosing a Lash Enhancement Provider

Xtreme Lashes are available through select cosmetic specialists in the U.S. and Canada. Providers must be specially trained in Xtreme Lashes application before they can provide the extensions at their clinic or spa. LATISSE must be prescribed by a doctor or skin care professional, since it is a prescription treatment with possible side effects. You can find out which physicians prescribe LATISSE by using the doctor finder on the official LATISSE website. Similarly, Xtreme Lashes providers are listed on the Xtreme Lashes official website.

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