Women Are Saying This Lash Serum They Found On TikTok Is Changing Their Eyelids

"Was a grandelash stan until I found out that it causes eyelid fat loss so now I no longer have monolids."

An eyelash growth serum that went viral on TikTok thanks to its ability to help people grow long lashes has now become the subject of multiple videos by Asian women speaking about side effects they say they’ve experienced from using the product — as well as a lawsuit in federal court.

Katie Oh, a student from Philadelphia, told BuzzFeed News that she started using GrandeLash-MD by Grande Cosmetics, which sells for $65 a bottle at Sephora, last August after seeing a lot of people on TikTok post about their amazing results.

Videos under the #grandelash hashtag, which are mainly people posting how much their lashes have grown, have over 63 million views. But among the success stories, a few TikTokers have claimed that they experienced dry eyes and thinner eyelids after using the serum.

A screenshot of Katie Oh's TikTok.

Oh posted a TikTok that went viral with the text "was a grandelash stan until I found out that it causes eyelid fat loss so now I no longer have monolids."

Another Asian woman posted a TikTok in which she said she’d been using eyelash serums for four years, including GrandeLash-MD. In the video, she showed photos that she said were from before and after her years of serum use. She said a change in her eyelids was visible.

“You can see that the eyelid has thinned out a lot,” said @catherinehhu in a video posted in January that now has 28,000 views.

“This is why,” @catherinehhu said in her video. “Fucking lash serums. Grande Lash. PSA to all you Asian queens out there, if you care about your monolids, if you like your monolids, do not, do not, use lash serums.”

Grande Cosmetics did not respond to a request for comment for several months, but more than a week after publication it provided comment from Alicia Grande, the company's founder and CEO, where she called the claims unsubstantiated.

"The claims circulating around social media about GrandeLASH-MD are anecdotal and have not been based on scientific studies or peer-reviewed literature," said Grande.

Dr. Prem Tripathi, a plastic surgeon from Livermore, California, who uses TikTok to debunk medical misinformation and explain complicated medical issues, posted a video about how lash serums impact the eyes.

Dr. Prem Tripathi

“Here’s something that might make you reconsider using an eyelash growth serum,” he began.

“These serums can decrease the fat around your eye and can actually deepen your eyelid crease. If you have a monolid … and that fat goes down, you get a double eyelid.”

Tripathi explained that eyelash serums were first discovered because of bimatoprost, a medication used to treat glaucoma. "When patients were treated for glaucoma, they realized that their eyelashes were growing," he told BuzzFeed News.

Allergan, which makes Latisse, a lash serum that is only available by prescription, saw the cosmetic potential in it and patented the lash serum format.

Other companies have found different chemicals with similar effects — GrandeLash-MD, for example, contains isopropyl cloprostenate, often known as ICP.

A spokesperson for the FDA told BuzzFeed News that ICP has not been FDA tested or approved and warned against people using eyelash regrowth products that hadn’t received approval.

"Because these over-the-counter products have not been FDA tested, their safety and effects are not known,” the FDA spokesperson said. "Lastisse is the only eyelash growth product currently approved by the FDA."

Grande, the CEO of Grande Cosmetics, said that the amount of ICP used in GrandeLASH-MD is at a concentration that is less than that of bimatoprost, the drug ingredient used in the drug lash serums.

"In regard to TikTok users reporting possible eyelid changes after using multiple lash serums, unfortunately, we cannot speak to their individual experiences because GrandeLASH-MD is not intended to be used in conjunction with other lash serums," she said. "What we can validate is that there is no scientific evidence that ties eyelid fat loss to GrandeLASH-MD or isopropyl cloprostenate."

Grande Cosmetics is currently facing a lawsuit from customer Alexandra Mandel, who first purchased the eyelash serum in 2015 and says she was unaware that the company’s product contained ICP and also hadn't known about the serum's possible side effects.

The lawsuit filed in a California federal court in January 2022 states: "Ms. Mandel stopped using GrandeLASH-MD when she developed a growth in her eye that baffled her doctors who did not know she was using the GrandeLASH-MD and that had to be surgically removed.

"Ms. Mandel believes that she developed the growth in her eye due to her use of GrandeLASH-MD," reads the complaint. Grande Cosmetics has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit; a hearing will be held in July.

Mandel declined to speak with BuzzFeed News, but her lawyer, Annick Persinger, noted that Canadian law already prohibits the sale of ICP-containing products.

“Because ICP is associated with serious side effects such as iris color change, hair falling out in clumps, and sunken eye, Ms. Mandel seeks an injunction under California law banning the sale of the product in California,” Persinger said in a statement.

Oh, who found the popular lash product on TikTok, said she used it every night for around four months. "I stopped after I noticed that my eyelids got thinner," she said. "I started to notice that my eyelids were getting super dry and inflamed.”

At first, she thought the discoloration was eczema caused by the dry winter air, but after seeing other people post about experiencing similar side effects following the use of GrandeLash-MD, she said she now believes it was a reaction to the product.

Oh noticed that a lot of the women posting videos about their eyelids changing appeared to also be of East Asian descent. "To my surprise, a lot of girls with monolids like mine shared that they’ve had similar experiences,” Oh said.

Tripathi, the plastic surgeon, noted that a multitude of side effects can occur from using lash growth products, such as changes to a person’s eye color and reduction in fat around the eyes.

The doctor went on to explain that although the loss of monolids may be appealing to some women, the use of the eyelash serums can often lead to asymmetrical loss of fat around their eyelids.

Oh noted that in recent years, people told her they were sure she was partly white, and she thinks the changes to her eyes that she believes came from using the lash serum may have made her look mixed race.

Tripathi also noted that since many beauty products and clinical trials often have fewer non-white participants — although the specific details of any trial involving GrandeLash-MD are unknown — sometimes side effects of beauty products on different ethnic groups only become clearer once a product is sold commercially.

“There's a disproportionate impact on people of color because it's just not tested on people of color," he said.

UPDATE

Comments from Grande Cosmetics have been added to this story.


Topics in this article