Women may soon stop relying upon cosmetics like mascara to create the illusion that they have long and luscious eyelashes, a sign of beauty and glamor, thanks to a new scientific discovery.
Biologists at L’Oreal’s research laboratories in Paris have developed a gel that extends the length of time individual eyelashes grow for before they fall out, leading to longer and bushier eyelashes.
They have spent the past three years studying eyelashes, and comparing them to hairs elsewhere on the body.
While a human head hair will grow for up to three years, eyelashes grow for only three months before they fall out, limiting the length that they can grow to.
The researchers say that their lab studies showed that the hairs could be made to grow longer by increasing the growing time.
According to them, they were also able to increase the number of eyelashes present on the eyelid as a result.
“Modern mascaras create the illusion of longer eyelashes. When women take their make-up off, their lashes are still the same length,” the Telegraph quoted Dr. Patricia Pineau, scientific director at L’Oreal, as saying.
“Eyelashes are similar to other hair in many ways, but they have two key differences that we can exploit.
“The first is the speed of growth, which is much faster in eyelashes while the second is the amount of hair growing at any one time. In head hair, 70 to 80 per cent of the hairs are growing at any one time while in eyelashes only about 15 per cent are growing.
“It was clear by increasing the duration of the growing phase the eyelashes would grow longer while postponing the start of the resting phase, when the lashes fall out, means there are more lashes on the eyelid fringe,” she added.
He research team have observed that a combination of citric acid, an amino acid known as arginine, and extracts from a Mexican plant known as Centella asiatica had the best effects.
The researchers say that the treatment is applied to the roots of the eyelashes as part of a white gel, which is used each night for three months.
They revealed that a small three month clinical trial involving 32 women saw their eyelashes increase by an average of 20 per cent, while lashes increased in length and density by 30 per cent in some cases.
“Even we were surprised by the difference. Most of the women, about 80 per cent, have asked to keep using the serum,” said Dr. Pineau
L’Oreal hopes to market its product as a cosmetic that would be available over the counter.
Professor Valerie Randall, a researcher in hair growth at Bradford University, said: “This sounds like an interesting piece of research. Until recently eyelashes have not studied that closely as there didn’t seem to be much that could be done with them other than putting on mascara, but the idea of promoting eyelash growth has now produced a great deal of interest in this area.”