When it comes to achieving longer and thicker lashes, I’ve tried it all. Lash extensions, countless different curlers and of course, a wide swath of mascaras and mascara primers. While extensions are a quick way to have falsie-esque lashes, they can leave your natural lashes sparse, thin and short. And while I always have a lash curler and mascara in my makeup bag, they can only do so much — particularly if you’re working with naturally short or damaged eyelashes.

So when the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum started showing up on my social media accounts and in group messages with fellow beauty enthusiasts, I knew I had to get my hands on it. And I had a ton of questions. Were the before and after pictures really accurate? Was this non-prescription product safe? Would it irritate my skin? Ahead, two top dermatologists answer these questions and a whole lot more. Plus, I break down my personal experience with this viral eyelash serum to help you decide whether it’s worth investing in.

A viral lash serum that boosts length and volume
The before-and-afters don't lie: This dermatologist-approved lash serum makes eyelashes longer and fuller by conditioning and strengthening existing lashes and stimulating growth for new ones.

What is the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum and how does it work?

Grande Cosmetics’ Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum is described by the brand as a “lash enhancing serum infused with a blend of vitamins, peptides and amino acids.” Within four to six weeks, the brand explains, the serum aids in the growth of visibly longer and thicker-looking lashes, with full improvement in three months. It’s also cruelty-free, paraben-free, ophthalmologist-tested and safe for contact lens wearers as well as those with lash extensions and lash lifts. But what exact ingredients are working to achieve this growth, and how do they play together?

“Over-the-counter eyelash serums work by two mechanisms,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dustin Portela, who specializes in complex medical dermatology and is a social media skin care educator who shares advice with his over 2 million TikTok followers. “The first are ingredients that hydrate and condition the hair to promote the health of existing lashes, reducing early fallout and breakage,” he explains. “The second method is to provide ingredients that promote a longer anagen, or growth phase, of the lashes.”

Dr. Jaimie DeRosa, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and founder of the DeRosa Center Plastic Surgery & Med Spa, explains this concept in terms of specific ingredients. While vitamin E supports healthy lashes and ingredients like hyaluronic acid aid “brittle dried lash hairs and prevent further breakage,” peptides and amino acids do the work of stimulating hair growth, she explains. Applying these ingredients to your lashes on a daily basis “stimulates better and greater lash growth because you’re providing the hair follicles with needed building blocks and vitamins for the hairs.”

Peptides and amino acids in particular are a “great way to get healthy, thicker and longer lashes,” explains DeRosa. These ingredients strengthen the hair, repair damage and stimulate more collagen production at the hair follicle root, which “translates into lash hair growth.” Portela agrees, calling out the amino acid isopropyl cloprostenate specifically as providing some of the best strengthening benefits to your lashes. And that’s especially so when paired with hyaluronic acid, which provides a fuller look to your lashes.

Benefits of using the the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum

In short, you can expect longer, healthier-looking lashes, and more of them. In a 12-week consumer study run by the brand, 97% of participants saw more visible lashes, while 94% and 91% of participants respectively saw healthier-looking and longer lashes. Grande Cosmetics also claims the serum, in addition to lengthening your lashes, can help with fullness.

“Several over-the-counter lash serums, including the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum, have shown pretty impressive results in adding length to your lashes,” explains Portela. “In some studies the active ingredients have improved length anywhere between 25-72%, and some users also report thicker and darker lashes,” he says. “These results don’t happen overnight however, so plan to use the products consistently for about 12 weeks to notice those changes.” DeRosa agrees, adding that for some folks, it may be hard to see whether the product is actually working before that mark. “Eyelashes are hairs, and hair has a natural life cycle that goes through several phases over time,” she explains.

“What I love about a lash serum is that you’re helping to keep lash hairs as healthy as they can be,” DeRosa adds. “By giving them nourishing ingredients, you are optimizing the health and quality of your lashes.” And as for any potential risks to be aware of? “As with any product applied to the skin there is a risk of local irritation,” explains Portela, “although this happens infrequently.” DeRosa adds that if you do end up having any sensitivity to or rashes from the serum, you should always stop using it immediately.

“Most OTC lash serums contain a type of chemical we call prostaglandin analogues,” Portela says. This chemical can act similar to that in a common prescription medicine for eyelash growth called Latisse. “This also means that like Latisse,” shares Portela, “there is a small risk of darkening the skin of the eyelid and possibly darkening the iris.” And because prostaglandin analogues are not considered safe to use in pregnancy, Portela adds that “if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should not use most OTC lash-boosting serums.”

How to use the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum

Despite its being a fairly simple product to use, I did experience a bit of a learning curve when it came to the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum. The brand recommends using a single stroke on your eyelid just about your upper lash line, right about where you would apply liquid eyeliner. You’re supposed to use it once a day, every day for three months to see the full results, given the length of the lash cycle. They also advise you against multiple applications or double dips, as it won’t yield better results.

Despite all this advice, I still had to learn it was worth following after my own trial and error. If you don’t let the product dry completely, you risk transferring it into your eye area, which will cause irritation. The same thing also happens if you use too much product, something I was doing for the first couple days in the hopes of seeing more results, faster. But as the brand advises, it doesn’t work that way. I ended up switching between applying the product to my left eyelash and right eyelash first, since there does seem to be more product applied on the first swipe. However, double-dipping definitely applies too much of the serum, making it more likely to get into your eye and just wasting pricey product.

What we liked about it

While I’ve only been using the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum for about six weeks — the amount that comes in the $36 starter size, and halfway through the recommended period of three months of testing — I’ve definitely seen some changes to my lashes. Most notably, the length. While I haven’t noticed a substantial difference yet in their thickness or density, there’s a slight difference in how long they are. It’s hard to tell without mascara, but with curling my lashes and applying mascara you can see a significant difference. Typically my lashes barely reach over the eyelid, but you can see in the more recent picture, there’s significant growth and reach over my eyelid, which I love. The results so far are totally encouraging, and definitely motivating to continue using it everyday.

No makeup: Before using Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum (top) and after (bottom).

I also occasionally get lash lifts, which are far less damaging to your lashes when compared to lash extensions. I love them as a way to streamline my lash curling and priming routine, or ahead of any vacations where I’ll be opting for a super-simple, easy makeup look. I absolutely love that the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum can be used alongside that treatment, and neither product or procedure will negatively impact the other. In fact, I’m excited to get a lash lift in the coming weeks and see whether my lash technician notices any difference — I’m sure they’ll be much longer at that point, which will make a lash lift look even better.

With makeup: Before using Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum (left) and after (right)

What we didn’t like about it

In addition to the learning curve I explained, there are a couple drawbacks to using the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum — though nearly all will apply to essentially any eyelash serum. The first is the time it takes for you to see results. While I am seeing changes in the six-week mark — which Grande Cosmetics explains is enough time to start to see changes — I feel like I’ve been applying this product every night for a long time. And another six weeks is even longer. As a fan of instant gratification, it’s not the easiest decision to invest time and money in a product that takes months to see results. Especially since you really should be using the product daily, it’s probably not for you if you’re unlikely to stick to the product with that level of regularity.

Like any skin care or hair care product, you’re going to see varying levels of results and effectiveness for different people. I simultaneously believe and am in awe of the incredible results people have seen online, while still doubtful based on the change I’ve seen so far that I’ll end up with lashes twice as long as they originally were. It seems that the product works best for those with particularly short or sparse lashes, particularly if they’ve been damaged by some other procedure or product. Regardless, there’s no way to know how the product will work for you until you try it for quite a significant period of time.

Finally, the price is definitely on the higher end side, particularly if you — like me — are a big fan of drugstore mascaras. And while I’d never spend that much on a makeup product like mascara, the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum feels more comparable to a skin care or hair repair product. These types of products are typically more expensive — especially if they’re well-regarded as high-quality and effective. Fortunately Grande Cosmetics has a 90-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re not seeing any results near the three-month mark, or are experiencing any irritation or negative side effects, you can simply return the serum to receive your money back.

How it compares

“Grande Cosmetics has some of the best lash serum options available,” explains DeRosa, who calls the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum her go-to starter serum. What makes it a winner in her book are ingredients like the amino acid L-proline, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. It’s also one of the most popular options on the market, with a 4.3-star rating from more than 36,000 reviews on Amazon. But it’s also not the only option out there. Some higher-end lash serum options boost similarly impressive reviews, such as neuLash Lash Enhancing Serum and the RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner.

“I have recommended to my own patients to use OTC lash serums if they want to improve lash growth, but don’t want to pay extra for the prescription Latisse,” shares Portela. “ I would expect to see better results from the prescriptions, but the OTC options are great for many consumers.” Some of the most popular options that come in at a price point more comparable to the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum include the RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum and Babe Original Babe Lash Essential Serum.

Bottom line

If you’re curious and committed to getting longer, fuller lashes, you can’t go wrong with trying out an eyelash serum, and the Grandelash-MD Lash Enhancing Serum is one of the best options on the market. While the price seems high, through using it and talking to experts about it, I’ve realized that this viral product is more like a luxury skin care or hair care item than it is your run-of-the-mill beauty product. As such, you’re investing in a product with high-quality ingredients that won’t just enhance your lashes, but will help improve their overall health — because healthier lashes are longer and fuller.

While you won’t see changes overnight, with correct and regular usage, you’re bound to see them over time. And if you’re still not convinced, you can get your money back within the 90-day period guaranteed by Grande Cosmetics. DeRosa puts it best: “Using this high-quality eyelash serum makes so much more sense to me than spending the time and money to get lash extensions, which may damage your natural lashes, or using a prescription lash serum that can stain your iris,” she explains. “I think everyone should be adding a lash serum to their skin care routine.”