Growing, Growing: Can Materials Science Help Improve Lashes and the Safety of Longer Lengths?

materials science
Eyelashes are beloved by many people who often want them longer and thicker. Can materials science provide an additional answer to their needs?
Image Source: Flickr user Lorraine.

Women throughout history have coveted long eyelashes and have been willing to use a variety of contraptions in order to increase the length of their eyelashes1. Even during the 2008 recession, mascara sales rose as makeup sales in general fell leading industry leaders to think up novel brushes or nutritional formulations for eyelashes to encourage consumers to pursue for ever thicker, longer lashes.2

Recently, pharmaceutical giant Allergen has reformulated their prostaglandin analog drug Bimatoprost (sold under the trade name Lumigan) to be sold as a cosmetic formulation, Latisse.3 Instead of promoting the appearance of long lashes, Latisse actually promotes the growth of lashes due to its active ingredient bimatoprost. However, this formulation is not without negative side effects, which include darkening of the eyelid color and excessive tear production. Furthermore, very long eyelashes through growth or the wearing of false eyelashes is not entirely good. As researchers at Georgia Tech demonstrated in their research, longer lashes “extended further into the airflow and created a cylinder. The air and its molecules channeled toward the eye and led to faster evaporation.”4 Thus, a balance must be found between elegant lashes and protecting the eyes from viruses, bacteria and evaporation. Perhaps materials science might be the way to do so.

Cashing In on Eyelash Growth with Materials Science

For companies interested in producing their own formulations or mascara, one way to break into (or improve) their standings in the industry lies in materials science advancements. To begin with, there are a variety of nutrients and conditioners that can improve the health and length of eyelashes5; however, few products offer a complete set of ingredients that can promote eyelash growth. Furthermore, the issue of long eyelash safety is an important one especially for those who wear false eyelashes.

In this context, chemists can use developments in materials science to uncover new formulations to promote eyelash growth and polymer scientists better materials for making false eyelashes. However, as these products will be used in humans, it is essential that researchers know the complete range of properties of the materials they create in the lab and software geared to supporting researchers in materials science can serve as an important tool in the path toward discovery.

The BIOVIA Materials Studio is a great place to consolidate research efforts in materials science in order to promote the discovery of novel products. This software enables researchers in materials science to model the performance and behavior of their products while also reducing the costs and time associated with physically testing the materials before a prototype is made. Furthermore, an entire line of quantum tools that can elucidate the electronic, structural and optical properties of the materials is also available including, Materials Studio VAMP which is able to rapidly [predict] many physical and chemical properties for molecular organic and inorganic systems. Beyond quantum tools, BIOVIA Materials Studio also has mesoscale simulation tools as well as statistical capabilities. Such support would prove especially important for those companies interested in, for example, adding fiber extensions to mascara, which has become popular, or designing false eyelashes that are beautiful, but perhaps could be formulated to reduce the adherence of bacteria or viruses to their surfaces.

Generally, software such as the BIOVIA Materials Studio is an important means to organize data, especially for companies interested in cosmetics that face fierce competition. Other valuable tools for cosmetic companies include electronic laboratory notebooks, such as the BIOVIA Notebook, known to support innovation. To consider how the BIOVIA Materials Studio and our other products can support your research efforts, please contact us today.

  1. “15 tricks to make your eyelashes look longer and fuller,”
  2. “The Eyes Have It: Mascara Sales on the Rise in Recession,” December 16, 2008,
  3. “Bimatoprost,” July 24, 2015,
  4. “Easy on the eyes: How eyelash length keeps your eyes healthy,” February 25, 2015,
  5. “Eyelash growth,”

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