Eyelash gel is a cosmetic gel used to help improve the look of eyelashes. Some serums are designed to condition the hair follicles, which may be dry or damaged. Others have ingredients meant to stimulate eyelash growth. Some products can be used to stimulate the growth of eyebrows as well as eyelashes.
Whether it's meant to condition or help lashes grow, eyelash gel is packaged in a variety of ways. Often, it comes in a small tube with a brush identical to a tube of mascara. This makes applying it to the lashes easier. Other times it comes in a squeeze tube, like a topical cream. Gel packaged this way is often meant to be applied directly to the eyelids and brows.
The ingredients found in eyelash gel vary greatly by the manufacturer. Commonly, eyelash gels will be marketed as using "all natural" ingredients that will condition the hair, such as apple or nettle extract. People who have had their eyelashes permed, or have brittle lashes for other reasons, may benefit most from using a conditioning eyelash gel.
Those seeking thicker eyelashes may seek out eyelash gel that stimulates hair growth. The gel may contain caffeine, which is a stimulant. Many of the same ingredients found in wrinkle creams, which encourage dead cells to be sloughed off, also are used in eyelash gel. Sometimes, someone who uses a winkle cream around their eyes will also report that they have longer eyelashes as a result.
Some prescription eyelash gels contain prostaglandins, a lipid which, when produced in the body, regulates muscle contractions and other tasks. When used in a gel, prostaglandins stimulate lash growth. The use of some prescription gels has been criticized for having the unwanted side effect of changing the color of the user's eyes or eyelids.
The effectiveness of eyelash gel also varies by product. Many products will have to be applied once or twice a day for up to a month before there is a visible effect. Some gels claim that they only cause moderate growth, so someone with thin lashes will have only slightly thicker eyelashes. Some eyelash gels claim to be so strong that a user may have to get their eyelashes trimmed because of excessive growth.
Since eyelash gel is used in the vicinity of the eye, it should not contain ingredients that would cause irritation. Though there are gels which have a dual purpose, most eyelash gels are too gentle to use anywhere but on the eyelids and lashes.