Dear Beauty Industrial Complex: Take Your LATISSE and Shove It.

Dear Women,

We realize that we’re already making you feel bad about your hair, breasts, lips, butt, legs, and overall body type, but our work is far from over. We would now like to introduce you to a new, hopefully self-esteem-lowering, chock-full-o-side-effects cosmetic designed to make you feel like your F*ING EYELASHES aren’t good enough. Please watch the following video, feel the requisite amount of inadequacy, ignore the dangers, and write your doctor a big fat check for some LATISSE today.

Your Beloved Beauty Industrial Complex

Dear Industrial Beauty Complex,

Congratulations on your commendable attempts at shoving an unnecessary, potentially harmful eyelash drug at us. Good call using Brooke Shields as your spokesmodel, since she is pretty cool and we liked her speech at the Michael Jackson memorial. Good work also on the use of phrases like “inadequate, or not enough lashes.” No woman likes to hear that she might be inadequate, even if the message is coming through a commercial that is playing at 1:00 a.m. on the Style Network. You also deserve a pat on the back for your tagline: Grow Your Own Lashes. It’s almost like you’re challenging us to be better, stronger women by taking prescription drugs to make our lashes prettier. Touché.

However, we regret to inform you that your attempts to make us feel shitty about our eyelashes and thus procure prescription drugs are not going to work. We’re smart enough to put together that problems with eye pressure, eyelid skin darkening, itchy eyes, and increased brown iris pigmentation mean that if we use your product we might turn into a red and brown-eyed itchy mess who looks like she hasn’t slept in a few years. Somehow we just don’t think that the longer lashes would hide all of that. Here is a video that further details some of the side effects of your product (in case you were wondering):

Eye pruritus, conjunctival hyperemia, skin hyperpigmentation, ocular irritation, dry eye symptoms, and erythema of the eyelid? NO. THANKS.

In addition to the “contraindications” outlined above, we regret to inform you that we no longer wish to be marketed to as if we were insecure infants who happen to have disposable income (though that is how you wish we would behave). Playing to our insecurities by claiming that we are “inadequate” and that we need your help to grown our OWN LASHES is not only insulting, it’s ridiculous. In case you haven’t heard (though we’re sure Brooke Shields has) we are in the middle of a serious economic recession, and as if pumping our bodies full of harmful chemicals in order to bat longer lashes wasn’t bad enough, you also want us to pay doctors out the nose for it. I guess you think all of those people fighting for health care reform really just want prettier lashes, don’t you?

So cut the bullshit, Beauty Industrial Complex. We’ve got it bad enough already with non-prescription cosmetics. Let’s save the doctor’s visits for women who need health care, and leave our eyelashes out of it.


(Clearly I am unable to speak on behalf of all women here, so please leave your own comments below. Thanks!)

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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28 Comments Have Been Posted


Yes, and a thousand times yes. You are speaking for this woman. On while we are on this topic: Sick of the ads for feminine hygiene products, sick of them. Sick of the made up psychological symptons that require drugs. Sick of the face cream ads, and every household product that helps to keep a sparkling home with women in the ads, sick of them as well.

Feminine hygiene

Add me to the thousand times yes! Here in the UK, my daytime TV-watching self is being plagued by ads for [redacted], which has been "carefully formulated" to maintain the pH of my ladyparts. You'd think Mother Nature would have figured that one out, but apparently I need a "feminine wash" in addition to all the other crap that I'm supposed to be using.

I console myself by hoping that for every woman bullied into buying such products, another 5 get sick and tired of the beauty maintenance treadmill and join me in doing the bare minimum.

I'm sick of all of the boner

I'm sick of all of the boner ads personally. Face creams I don't mind so much, they're pretty harmful compared to surgery IMO. I really hate the commercials about Midol where they have the female stand-up comics making jokes about their period.

I'd like to see more ads with men cleaning, personally.

Whatever happened to using

Whatever happened to using fake eyelashes?

I'm wondering why on earth the FDA would approve a drug like this, but ban stevia?

Eeek! I Think I'll Keep the Ones I Have

That new eyelash growing product sounds scary. Maybe they should do further testing on the top of some old bald guys' heads first. I think I'll stick with the eyelashes I have and mascara.


What's funny is that in all of the mascara commercials that promise to give you lashes so long and thick that they'll take over your face, those women are so wearing fake eyelashes!! Although in this day and age, it's probably digital. I can't believe that some women fall for these marketing strategies....oof!

To me, this is just another

To me, this is just another tool to make women feel bad about themselves and that they need to change something about their appearance.

The only situation where I can understand using this product is if you had cancer and all of your hair fell out.

I live in France and when I

I live in France and when I see mascara commercials on TV, in the small print it nearly always says "Filmed with lash inserts. Enhanced post-production". Or for hair color/shampoo - e.g. Eva Longoria styled with natural hair extensions colored with Garnier blahbity-blah. I think it's great that they actually have to let us know that these products are going to do precious little to give us the results they are advertising.

I don't think stevia is

I don't think stevia is banned because you can find truvia(stevia) on local supermarket. Latisse is helpful to people without or short eyelash due to medical condition.

Why the FDA likes Latisse, and not something good for you.

The FDA will approve this, and ban stevia, because the former has a gazillion side effects which you may need to buy other drugs to resolve (ching ching! more $$$ for them!), and the latter has relatively few side effects (being a natural sweetener) which won't make them any money.

I'm glad to have found this site; I couldnt BELIEVE what I was hearing when I first saw the Latisse ad. The only response I had at first was 'How on earth can my eyelashes be inadequate unless they are not doing their job, which is stopping dust particles from getting into my eyes? Last time I checked they were doing a pretty good job at that!' And now they have Claire Danes! I used to like her. Oh well.


Apparently not conforming to current standards of beauty is a medical condition serious enough to warrant seeking the aid of a qualified professional...hmmm...

I can't believe people would

I can't believe people would actually use this product knowing the side effects! Great letter--you really nailed the sordid problem of the beauty industry.

Saw this on the news about a month ago...

Originally this product was for folks with some sort of eye problems, and it was discovered that it gave users longer lashes as a side-effect. Then the makers decided to market this as a beauty drug so that they could tap into another market. The drug works by keeping your eyelashes in for a longer period of time instead of them falling out every few days or so like they're supposed to. Scary stuff.

Where I live there was some guy named Jason Carruthers who's launched a complaint with the Competition Bureau of Canada about how mascara ads by L'Oreal are misleading. Here's a link to read about the story - - but if you also want to check out Carruthers ridiculous business, selling and applying synthetic lashes here:


saw this commercial a few weeks ago and was pretty horrified. what's next, drugs to treat a disease that makes your lips not be big enough?

i think the real disease here is what produced an ad campaign like this, not what this drug is supposed to be treating.

I'm sorry, but I have breast

I'm sorry, but I have breast cancer and a lot of my lashes have broken off from the chemo. Some ladies lose them all together (I'm not done yet but hopefully I won't lose all mine). I think this product may actually be a blessing for people like us.

I did say that I think that

I did say that I think that the only time it would be appropriate to use a product like this is if you had cancer.

But the way they're marketing the product isn't to cancer survivors, it's women with "inadequate" lashes.

Some people just don't get

Some people just don't get it, of all people you should realize that the reason your in the situation with cancer is because of the drugs and chemicals in food and products approved by the FDA so use latisse to grow ur lashes and find urself in another health situation later! Stay away from this and keep yourself informed! They make alot of money on unhealthy citizens so fight back and take a stand.

Medicalization of Eyelashes

Even worse than playing up women's feelings inadequacies about their bodies is Latisse defining insufficient eyelashes as pretty much a medical disorder that needs to be treated. An ad on defines it as a "treatment" for this so-called hypotrichosis, simply defining as "having inadequate or not enough eyelashes." It seems that another company has marketed not only by people's insecurities, but gone as far to create a disorder that needs to be cured. I now believe that the Beauty Industrial Complex could almost convince people to think brown hair was a disease to start marketing prescription blonde hair dye.


Hey, I am not going to make myself popular here, but here we go. I'm using Latisse and I love it.

I did a little research and found the Lumigan at an online pharmacy. It's the same stuff (bimatropost) in a different package. So I am paying about one-quarter of what a dermatologist would charge me.

It took about 12 weeks to really see something. That's a long time to be painting something on your eyelids every night, not knowing whether or not it will work. But persistance was rewarded and I now have really gorgeous thick long eyelashes. If you think you don't want this, you should see me.

No side effects whatsoever. None. Been using since the beginning of March, 2009, so that's been five months or so.

I, too, dislike cosmetics ads, whether in magazines television billboards internet or whatever media. They raise the bar to impossible heights and then play on your sense of failure to get you to buy shit that doesn't work.

Just in case you've been wondering, this was one that worked, at least for me.

Chill lol

I think this product is a Godsend for people going through chemo that can suffer the indignation of losing their hair and/or eyelashes (on top of everything else they're dealing with) or for the treatment of the medical condition which brought about it's discovery. NO ONE is being forced to use it cosmetically so what's all the complaining about?? The deal is, it was discovered to not only treat the medical condition it was designed for but as a "side effect" it also grew beautiful lashes!!! I don't know about you other people but I think it's refreshing to find a side effect that's actually good for a change. The tone of the majority of comments posted here sound negative in the extreme. All new things have potential good and potential bad in them. The horseless carriage was "dangerous" and that new fangled "telephone thingy" was just bad! TV would never last, rock and roll was evil, working mothers were shameful and I won't even get into cell phones and computers/internet. Proper use of all things is mandatory. Think of the lowly plastic bag (which IS bad) and how many children have choked and died because of them. You would think anyone with a brain wouldn't let their child play with one but ummmmmmm, yeah. They even have to put a warning on them which is mind boggling but I still see kids in the grocery store sitting in a cart playing with a plastic bag in front of "mom". ALL things have to be used properly and instructions read. The thing is, just because something is new and also happens to have a "cosmetic" benefit as well doesn't mean it's automatically dangerous or trying to make us women feel bad. Don't use it!! No one is forcing you to buy anything for goodness sake. It's being tested but no matter how safe something is found to be there will always be some dumb-arse that refuses to use it the way it is instructed. As the saying goes .... you can't legislate "stupid". We women really have to lighten up and stop looking at everything as a personal insult to our gender. I plan on using Latisse as soon as it's available in Canada! I've always used mascara but I don't think it's all that safe either unless you use it as directed. I know people that have gotten horrible infections from it. I also know people that use false eyelashes and putting glue near my eyes isn't all that appealing or safe sounding to me either. As I said, everything has a down side if it's not done according to instructions. Latisse will be the same. Like 99% of things in life .... safe only if used as per instructed but there will always be those lovely people that just can't manage to do that. I can't wait to use it and toss my mascara away!! I will read and follow the instructions just as I do with everything else. If you want to play with dangerous stuff ........ read a fast food/processed food ingredients list yet we shove that junk into our bodies without batting an (thin or thick) 'eyelash'. :)

What you must understand...

I see your point, as a feminist who can be kinda laxed on things such as this I can understand what you're saying because not everything is aimed at keeping a woman down and what not.

However, the point I feel you are missing is that its not about the side effects or how dangerous it is. and I highly doubt this is aimed for chemo patients and others suffering from hair loss.

Its about making women feel bad about what they have, which no woman should feel. They should be proud of their little lashes because little lashes are cute too!

Making women feel like shit is what the beauty industry has always done best, and the reason it thrives is because women are conditioned to always feel the need to be beautiful, and trust me 99% of the time that beauty is for other people not for herself.

And now with this product its just another way of telling women they suck and that they should buy their product because its the first one thats really proven to make them look "hot" and like you they will take that risk, and thats fine do what you will but know that the majority of women are not doing it for themselves and they do feel inadequate.

Its not a message that should ever, in any form, be broad casted to women and girls.

That's still $89 you didn't

That's still $89 you didn't need to spend.

I totally understand what

I totally understand what you are saying; however, I have VERY short and sparse eyelashes. I try to put on mascara, but because my lashes are so thin it just leaves clumps (and the lashes do not look any better). I feel that if I had lashes like I once did, when I was younger, I wouldn't look as tired and "beady-eyed" as I do now. I think that women who have average lashes so be thankful, and they really don't need Latisse. But, I will certainly give it a try when it is approved in Canada (even though I don't like the patronizing ads). I'm sorry, you probably don't like this comment on your feminist website. So, to let you know, I do believe it equal rights etc...

Bravo! Hyperpigmentation! YAY!

Thank you for articulating what I thought when I saw the very first commercial for latisse! My sisters and I watched with amazement as people clamored to get their hands on this product, as if the significant "possible side effects" were a small price to pay for lush eyelashes!! I am a nurse and I am appalled at the marketing techniques used to point out, yet one more area, where women may not measure up in the beauty department! When will it end? Will our daughters continue down the same road of body image consciousness that we have travelled? It appears so! And shame on Brooke Shields who was such an "advocate" for woman and post-partum depression recognition and treatment.......if she took a step forward for women with THAT platform and her public 'debate' with Tom Craze, then she has undone it with her promotion of this product. I realize that the 'celebrities' are financially compensated for these endorsements, but a moral conscience would sure give us more comfort than longer eyelashes or antidepressants!
I know this is an old blog posting, but I just had this conversation with 2 of my patients and it was in my head. Thank you!

How Inadequte Lashes Became a Disease

I agree wholeheartedly, though I would have really beaten the point about pumping our bodies full of unnecessary chemicals over a non-issue. Proof that it's a non-issue? Latisse (or 7-[3,5-dihydroxy-2- (3-hydroxy-5-phenyl-pent-1-enyl)- cyclopentyl]-N-ethyl-hept-5-enamide to us scientists) was originally intended to be a treatment for the treatment of glaucoma. Didn't work so well for that. But hey, they spent a lot developing it, so what to do? <i>Interesting, the patients in the trial grew hair where ever it was applied. I wonder if we could spin this somehow? Is there a real medical condition that could be treated by growing patches of hair? No, well make one up! Seriously, what are we paying you for??</i>

latisse was originally developed for legitimate uses

It can cure debilitating eye illnesses in the third world, but that wasn't profitable enough for the drug company, so it found a more lucrative use for it, ignoring its more socially redeeming application.

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