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Mediocre Mom Manual: The Eyes Have It

Is hypotrichosis keeping you up at night? Do you have nightmares that you go to put on your mascara and your eyelashes simply aren’t there anymore? Do you secretly dream of looking like Tammy Faye Baker in her heyday, even if you think she was a bit off her rocker? Me neither. That’s why I didn’t realize I may be missing out on one of the best beauty products ever accidentally invented.

I’d never heard of hypotrichosis before I saw a commercial for Latisse, being proffered by none other than Brooke Shields in 2010, and now by the younger Claire Danes. For those of you who don’t run in well-groomed, high society style circles like myself and all my super rich, extremely posh friends, hypotrichosis is the condition of having thin or not enough eyelashes. Latisse is a serum you apply to your upper eyelid that makes your eyelashes grow thicker, longer, and darker. The active ingredient is a drug called bimatoprost which was originally designed to treat patients with glaucoma. Turns out, this little bottle of Potter-esque potion has the added benefit of making your eyelashes grow.

What I don’t understand is, why all the fuss over eyelashes? Have you ever met someone at a dinner party and thought to yourself, “Gee, she was such a fabulous conversationalist with a sharp sense of style, but her eyelashes really left a lot to be desired. You could practically see her eyelid.” Am I supposed to be feeling badly that I have size A eyelashes and not DD? Maybe if we women could simultaneously find a mascara AND a wand style we like, no one would even need Latisse, but those two things seem mutually exclusive. If any mascara manufacturers are reading this, please sell me the mascara and let me pick my style of wand. Cause I’ll tell you something right now, I do NOT purchase anything with a curved brush.

The Wall Street Journal published an article in February of 2010 about women who separate their eyelashes with safety pins (I have done this), wear 20 to 30 coats of mascara each day (I’m thinking this would be really heavy), or even have extensions put in every two weeks (can you get these braided?).  Last week, the paper published another article on eyelashes, which basically sings the praises of Latisse (and products like it) for fourteen paragraphs with a teeny, tiny paragraph at the end about the potential side effects. Is spring National Eyelash Season and I’m just not aware of it?

Who knew that this was such a problem plaguing millions of women everywhere? I mean, premature hair thinning on your head, okay. I get that. But eyelashes? And Brooke Shields as their spokesperson? Doesn’t she have more eyebrow and eyelash follicles per millimeter than any other female actress in Hollywood? When you think “Brooke Shields” do you imagine a woman with not enough hair on her face? I didn’t think so. And now Claire Danes? There was even some talk about Claire’s eyelids darkening from her use of Latisse, but of course, the company ever-so politely said she was mistaken. No darkening skin on her pallid eyelids at all.

My mother always told me, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” or in this case, free eyelashes. While Latisse can stimulate eyelash growth and it does tend to make them longer, thicker, and darker, there are a few little side effects that you might want to know about.

Latisse may darken your upper eyelid.
This side effect may go away when you quit using it. Well, that’s not so terrible! It’ll save me money on brown eye shadow and give me that ‘smokey look’ that’s all the rage these days.

Latisse may turn your eye color brown.
This side effect will most likely be permanent. Sayonara light eyes. The good thing here is that if you don’t really like your eye color and you were contemplating getting brown contacts, using Latisse could save you money in the long run. The good news is if you already have brown eyes, you have nothing to fear!

Latisse may cause:
“…an itching sensation in the eyes and/or eye redness.” Basically it may look like the result of a raging-fight-with-your-significant-other-where-you-spent-the-whole-night-crying-hysterically-and-now-your-eyes-are-so-red-puffy-and-swollen-you-may-as-well-call-into-work-because-no-amount-of-makeup-is-going-to-fix-it kind of problem. But it’s not really a problem if you hate your job. Or if you cry all the time anyway.

Latisse is kinda pricey.
It’s estimated to cost around $120.00 a month for the prescription, which you’ll need to use everyday to keep the lashes growing. I don’t know about you, but I’m not prepared to drop $120 dollars a month on medication that is not keeping my blood sugar under control, my arteries open or otherwise saving my life somehow. I fully understand that at some point in my future I will need to drop this much and more on pills, liquids, patches, and inhalants, along with all their delivery devices in order to keep my old-age ass alive and kicking. But I’m not even forty yet. I have better things to do with my money. Like get acrylic nails. Or a boob job. Or have my eyes lifted. Real beauty solutions to problems that matter.

I have a few questions for the makers of Allergan, the drug manufacturer of Latisse. I thoroughly searched their website and couldn’t find the answers…

  1. Have you thought about marketing this to fraternities on college campuses nationwide?  Seems to me this product would add an exciting new element to drunken pranks you hear about happening at frat parties. Writing on the face with sharpie? Too old school. Shaving someone’s chest and nether regions? So yesterday! But dumping a bottle of Latisse on their nose or painting it on their ears? Now you’re talking! A fresh take on old classics.
  2. If I started in September and took a bath in Latisse everyday, could I go to my favorite neighborhood Halloween party as Chewbacca? I think I would win the costume contest hands down. The prize money is like, $50 bucks.
  3. Could women use Latisse in other areas? Like to correct a botched Brazilian? An over plucked eyebrow?
  4. If a woman were to use Nair and Latisse at the same time, would you implode?

If you work for Allergan and have some answers for me, feel free to leave a comment after this blog. I really like reading those. (Speaking of comments, where is cupcake lady Trish? This is just the meaty kind of article she would enjoy!)

Am I missing something? Do you feel bad about your eyelashes enough to use a product that promises they’ll grow in thicker and longer? Why the sudden obsession with the hair jutting from our eyelids? If you could change one thing on your face or head what would it be?

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Rachel Vidoni is a mediocre mom to three children she really likes on most days. When she isn’t avoiding housework, refusing to play Strawberry Shortcake, or schlepping her older children around town, she is a freelance writer. Her first published book, Little Changes is available for purchase here. To see more of Rachel’s work, visit


  1. MBR

    March 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    So funny! I love your questions for Allergan and the Brooke Shields comments and completely agree about the mutual exclusivity of good mascara and a good wand. Is it really that hard to have both without buying two and switching out? I needed a laugh today- so thank you!

  2. dianthe

    March 14, 2012 at 12:46 am

    i would LOVE to have longer, thicker eyelashes – but the darkened eyelids was enough to scare me away from Latisse – not to mention the price tag – i’ve heard that putting castor oil on your lashes has the same effect – and one of these days i’ll remember to try it and see if it actually works!

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