Latisse. Because if your eyelashses aren’t thick enough, you are seriously fucked up.

I was watching TV recently when I saw a commercial that seriously confused me for a minute. The commercial was for Latisse, a new product by the makers of Botox that claims to help one grow longer, thicker, darker eyelashes. For a minute I thought I had accidentally stumbled upon a skit show, but then I remembered that SNL and Mad TV are incapable of doing anything funny or insightful, so I had to consider the possibility that Latisse was a real product, that a major pharmaceutical company had developed a prescription drug for people who are so upset by the paucity and/or hoariness of their eyelashes that they feel they need a DRUG to help them remedy the situation. And then I thought about my own eyelashes, which are fairly pale, and wondered whether I ought to rush myself to the nearest hospital.

This pharmaceutical outfit, Allergan (operating out of Irvine, California — a real shock), claims that their drug treats the legitimate medical problem of hypotrichosis, but I’m a little skeptical. Have you ever heard of hypotrichosis? Yeah, me neither. It’s a scientific term for “a condition of no hair growth” (nice work on the wording there, Wikipedia cooperative). Apparently that’s considered a medical condition, though I can’t imagine why it would be save in very rare circumstances. I’ve always been under the impression that a medical condition was something that caused one physical discomfort, threatened one’s life, or disrupted one’s ability to carry out one’s daily activities. Oh, wait, that’s it: a “condition of no hair growth” in the wrong places can be just as disruptive as a condition of copious hair growth in certain other places, because it threatens one’s ability to comply with the old fuckability mandate.

The product’s website makes frequent reference to hypotrichosis, which indeed does sound terrible (as does anything that ends in -osis), but the company’s product line-up hints that what they’re really trying to treat is notthathotatosis; Allergan, in addition to Latisse, also slangs some injectable anti-wrinkle shit called Juvederm (the slogan for which is “parentheses have their place but not on your face” — I swear), the Natrelle line of breast implants, our old pal Botox, and some line of uber-expensive skin creams called Vivite. Not only do none of their products treat legitimate medical conditions, but they don’t even treat the symptoms of legitimate medical conditions. I mean, I suppose having no eyelashes could be a problem, seeing as they protect one’s eyes from debris and all, but I imagine that the no-eyelashes-at-all contingent makes up a pretty small percentage of this product’s target market. The majority of that target market, I suspect, consists of those women who have been convinced that having a few thousand spider legs for eyelashes is more important than, say, protecting one’s eyes from irritants and chemicals or being able to rub one’s eyes when they itch without having to worry about dumping an ounce or two of mascara flakes into them.

So, you drop your $130 for each month’s supply, smear this shit on once a day, and a mere sixteen weeks and $520 later, your eyelashes may get thicker and darker. Of course, as soon as you stop using Latisse, these benefits will disappear. What a sweet deal. But there has to be a catch, right? No way. Latisse’s side effects are totally mild! They include red and/or itchy eyes (which you’d have anyway due to mascara) and the possibility of skin and iris discoloration. The discoloration is likely to be permanent, but you can always wear eyeshadow to cover it up and get color contacts to restore your natural eye color, right?

Are you fucking kidding me, dude?

This product campaign is just evil. It preys upon women’s insecurities in the most disgusting of ways, creates insane expectations that can’t be met, then hoses women out of huge sums of money. We’ve all gotten the message that, if we can’t naturally grow eyelashes the likes of which mascara models can’t pull together without falsies, we’re blowing it as human beings and will never be able to coquettishly bat the fuckers at men in order to make them stupid. Hence the existence of glue-on eyelashes, eyelash dye (a lovely substance to be sure), eyelash extensions, and the ever-expanding variety of mascaras with absurd patented high-tech names. But now that ain’t enough. Sparse eyelashes now constitute a pathological medical condition (note the frequent use of the phrase “inadequate eyelashes” on the site and in the ad) that requires treatment with expensive drugs that might permanently alter the color of our eyes and eyelids, drugs that might sort of work, but will never create the kinds of eyelashes that don’t require curling, slathering with mascara, and augmenting with false eyelashes. I know this because all of the images on the site and in the ad feature women with an abundance of mascara on.

All of that is sinister enough, but what of this company’s central operating principle and the message that the FDA, in approving these drugs, is putting out there? That principle and message are one and the same: in a nutshell, not being hot enough is a medical condition, and a boner shortage warrants the attentions of our best and brightest scientists (and marketing experts).

I must have missed the news report announcing that we’d cured cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Latisse is officially the new Flomax.

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52 thoughts on “Latisse. Because if your eyelashses aren’t thick enough, you are seriously fucked up.

  1. The product is not evil, just the way it is being marketed is. Lattisse was created to treat glaucoma and one of the side effects of treating with it was increased lash growth (as well as iris darkening).


  2. Dude, I look around sometimes after seeing ads like this one and wonder why people aren’t making the connection between these and, say, those ads in the 40s featuring doctors with cigarettes dangling from their mouths, or older ads for smelling salts or lead-based makeup or Cocaine-a-Cola. It’s the same shit, only worse, because companies nowadays don’t use the “oops, we didn’t know,” excuse because the dangers of their products are posted right there on the fucking ad and people STILL go for their products. Just what the doctor ordered.


  3. Well some people do suffer from alopecia and lose lashes/brows and life can be difficult for them as it is for anyone with a *non standard* appearance. But I don’t know if this drug would work on them anyway, and if you’ve just got normal eyelashes, the idea of using a drug for a medical condition to cure them is grisly particularly since it presumably has other effects – what are the side effects of being treated for Glaucoma if you haven’t got glaucoma FFS?

    Anywhere we’re way ahead of you here as we already have eyelash transplants. (to be fair this woman does have an actual medical condition).


  4. Doctors noticed that people who were using eye drops for glaucoma had thicker eyelashes. Not sure if this is the same stuff, though it probably is, with a higher price tag to boot.

    Nice to see Polly here, her bloggy is gone. Hope everything is all right.


    1. Sorry to thread hijack ND, delete if you wish, but just to reassure the world at large I am finer than a fine thing and reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I have just had my fill of authoritarian fuckwits who think they’re entitled to tell other people how to run their blogs and what comments they should publish.


  5. How unpleasant. It seems this is the latest step in attempting to make all women look as similar to one another as possible.


  6. I wonder if marketing companies would ever launch a campaign like this for baldness for d00ds. Hahahhahahahahah. Doubt it.


  7. ‘How unpleasant. It seems this is the latest step in attempting to make all women look as similar to one another as possible.’

    Exactly, and remember when that was considered weird enough to merit its own Twilight Zone episode?


  8. “This product campaign is just evil.”

    It’s also par for the course. Everything you say in that paragraph applies more or less to every beauty product campaign around.

    What really confuses me, though, is that in all those ads, the end result always looks like something that crawled out of the uncanny valley to devour children. Tends to remind me of that trailer for Resident Evil: Apocalypse where they almost wandered into the realms of hilarious social satire, but infuriatingly stopped short.


    1. Yeah, but being that it’s a pharmaceutical, it seems even more nefarious. There’s the whole added idea that a beauty concern is a medical issue. I think it hews closer to plastic surgery than mascara.


  9. This pharmaceutical outfit, Allergan (operating out of Irvine, California — a real shock), claims that their drug treats the legitimate medical problem of hypotrichosis, but I’m a little skeptical.

    Only people who have spent a lot of time in California understand how fucking weird Irvine is. I grew up there…it’s really fucking weird.


    1. Yeah, there’s no place in the world that even remotely resembles Irvine. I remember when all of those giant strip malls went up there and they basically built a city from nothing. My aunt lives there now and it’s really become something bizarre.


  10. The surgeon that I am seeing to fix my neck says that stuff is horrible and that the industry has completely downplayed the adverse side effects.


    1. That’s hardly surprising.

      I was watching this documentary on the history of surgery (Blood and Guts, a History blah blah, if you’re interested) and in the nineteenth century injecting wax and silicone was a quite common form of cosmetic surgery.

      Until people found out about how the wax and silicone would move and melt under your skin if you got too warm, too close to a fire et cetera et cetera.

      It’ll be interesting (and unfortunate) to see that eventual similar outcome :S


  11. The highly publicized use of Botox is the cosmetic use – but it truly does have medical uses. There are a number of movement disorders that can be most easily treated with Botox injections, and in the hands of a skilled doctor, it is nothing short of a miracle drug.

    The thing that amazes me is how hard it is to get the insurance companies to cover Botox injections for say, hemifacial spasm. They’re so used to seeing it for cosmetic purposes that even they forget it really does have a medical use.


    1. That’s one of the things that bothers me most about vanity pharmaceuticals. Seems like every one of them starts out as an attempt to find a treatment for some life-destroying illness, and they have trials but alas, there are 50 negative side effects, so it seems it will only be useful for people who really need it… until someone notices one “desirable” (ie: fuckability-promoting) side effect. At which point, millions of dollars are diverted to trials for that effect, and— surprise! The drug is approved for everyone over the age of 2, becomes a freaking household word, and is dispensed like candy to otherwise healthy people, side effects and sick people be damned.


  12. What scared me was the “side effect” that it “may make your pupils darken, this may be irreversible”–HELLO?


    Really, that just pushed some kind of button with me, freaked me totally out. Irreversibly darken your pupils?!? How can something designed for your -eyelashes- darken your pupils? Damn, that is some weird, creepy, scifi shit.


  13. Yes! Exactly! I keep seeing this fucking commercial and I’ve wanted to talk about it, but I haven’t been able to put my words together about it. Now I can just direct people over here. I think what worries me the most is the iris darkening. It takes some SERIOUS SHIT to fucking CHANGE THE AMOUNT OF MELANIN IN YOUR EYEBALLS, and that shouldn’t be used for silly purposes like having ~more eyelashes.


  14. I am so glad I came across this article. I thought I was the only one wfting at this ad. The concept of a change/darkening in iris pigmentation also freaked me out. Very twisted product.


  15. I actually knew a girl in high school whose eyelashes would periodically fall out. This would be a legit medical problem as far as getting stuff in your eyes. This girl wore falseys, which probably didn’t do much to provide the protection of real eyelashes but just made her feel better about her appearance.
    Still, this Latisse stuff is obviously way too expensive and risky for what it provides. I can have itchy, irritated, discolored eyes by just going around without eyelashes and letting dust fly into my eyeballs. Why would I want to pay upwards of $500 for more itching and irritation?
    I don’t imagine hypotrichosis is such a common ailment that its treatment needs a big marketing campaign either.


  16. Now here’s a thought: men’s eyelashes are naturally longer/thicker than women’s, correct? It’s pretty interesting, then, that an ideal for women’s eyelashes is for them to be lengthy & bushy. A rare instance of a male physical difference being expected to be emulated to emphasise femininity, instead of the distinctions being emphasised (no hair below the head, head on the hair should be long, large breasts, hips, etc).


    1. From what I’ve observed, I don’t think that’s true at all (or even widely thought to be true). That is, men’s eyelashes seem to vary as much as women’s, and I’ve never heard any fold-wisdom to the contrary. (The one thing I’ve noticed is that redhaired people often have fewer– not just lighter– lashes.)

      It’s just that women are generally told their lashes need to be longer and thicker than they are.


    2. i dunno– runway models are said to be built like 18-yr-old boys. it seems to me that the ideals of femininity are *performed* drag-style, scarcely formed by nature at all, save for the nature-made navel oranges stuffed into some man’s brassiere.

      narrowing hips are an identifiable trend even in porn, so it ain’t just just fashion and you can’t blame teh gheyz.


      1. karinova – It certainly is thought to be true. Google it. Unfortunately finding anything decisive is proving problematic. Could be a myth, if so I’m sorry.

        cub – Runway models are meant to be clothes frames, not mates. I’d agree about the performance stuff, with the proviso that that goes for just about every concept going (clown, businessman, cousin…)

        As for narrowing hips in porn…I really can’t say I’ve noticed. TBH the greatest trend in porn (& one I note that radical feminists have not yet really forged a proper response to, or at least not one I’ve seen) is the exponential growth of amateur porn. There might be no more of it around, just it’s easier to find, or there’s a possibility that the dozen or so “YouTube for Adults Only” websites are encouraging promotion of more, but either way it’s a big shift & seemingly a highly popular one.

        At this stage it’s not really as if “Cheapskates Can’t Be Choosers” is the law of the internet, after all.

        The implications are obvious enough: actual normal human beings (or at least unpaid exhibitionists) are displaying themselves rather than those filtered, prepared & choreographed. This tends to result in highly different produce than Web 1.0 style porn, although granted there is probably still a fair portion of sprouting hackneyed troupes.

        Which has precisely nothing to do with eyelashes, but there we are…


        1. You know it would really be nice if maybe runway models weren’t considered “clothes hangers” – last time I checked they were living, breathing human beings just as worthy of respect as anyone else.

          Amateur porn imho is a result of smaller, easier digital still and video cameras. And guess who’s still doing the pressuring to film it? Men. Guess who’s still benefiting from it? Men. Guess who’s still NOT benefiting from it? Women.

          Guess what else, I’d like to hazard a guess and say most women in amateur porn don’t even know they’re being filmed. I’d also like to hazard the guess that they probably wouldn’t want to be filmed anyway. I know. From experience. This kind of sick voyeuristic shit is all too common these days.

          The number of times I’ve had (now ex) dude friends showing me videos of their previous “conquests” from the night before is just digusting. None of the women knew they were being filmed either. Guess where those videos ended up? The internet. Guess who had no say in the production or placement of these movies? Their partners.

          Do you honestly think this kind of phenomenon would be nearly as common if porn wasn’t so “mainstream” in the first place?

          In the words of Nine Deuce – how far do you really have to go to defend porn use?

          Back on topic.

          I saw an article for this shit (eyelash gunk) in the paper today. They didn’t even mention it as a “medical treatment” – it just said

          Much too angry, much too early. I’m going to throw some Jacks in my tea and guzzle some Vegemite crumpets.


        2. thanks for the treatise on porn.

          i was referring to a piece buck henry wrote in playboy in which he referred to the comparative hippy-ness of bettie page by today’s standards– *his* observation, not mine.

          therefore, my point still stands: neoteny is not just being encouraged to the point of girlishness; rather it is being encouraged to the point of obliterating natural femininity entirely. THAT is the trend… there will be more to come.


          1. Eh…I’ll leave aside the obvious problems with relying upon an observation centred upon a single model & speak more generally.

            I don’t think that this is a gender thing. You see precisely the same trend in gay porn where, besides the entirely inexplicable delight in “Straight Guys” (which is presumably supply led, on the basis that they’re so much easier to find?), one of the most popular sub-genres is actors who sometimes look so juvenile the producers have them wield their passports in the opening scene to pre-empt any arrests.

            Seemingly a lot of people just find teenagers to be fit, & that’s a trend which transcends orientation or gender preference. I could also point to fangirldom, here. It’s also not one which results in a disintegration of gender distinction in the way you suggest: male & female models are in no way inter-changeable, you still see gay porn sucking up those who look like little boys & straight porn those who look like little girls. That’s the sort of direction we’d be travelling in if there was a process of the kind you speak of, & it doesn’t seem to me that we are. Ultimately hip size is nothing next to the paramount matters of cocks & breasts.

            (Which, of course, are both expected to be enormous & thus rather unlike most teenagers.)

            Personally it’s not an inclination I have an appreciation for, but what I know of Ephebophilia is that it hardly threatens an obliteration of natural femininity.


            1. you know what ? since no matter what i write, you are going to keep writing about porn– based on one small reference i made which i cited and tied into the culture-at-large — i’m outta here. you aren’t replying to me. you are whacking away at some invisible straw man.


              1. Well anyway, I checked out the article you mentioned (first time I’ve read something from Playboy, actually) & it was fairly good. Idk about any extrapolations, but thanks for the tip.

                As for the acrimony, I believe you will find that you mentioned porn first (along with fashion). But sorry if I annoyed you.


        3. Amateur porn: Free content that’s sent to porn sites so porn sites don’t even have to trouble themselves to steal porn to put there.


  17. Nine Deuce –

    Apologies for the random unrelated commentary, just wanted to invite you to my blog (going members only for now).

    Please let me know how best to contact you privately.




  18. ‘Now here’s a thought: men’s eyelashes are naturally longer/thicker than women’s, correct? ‘

    I dunno, is that true? Or do women’s eyelashes just tend to be more damaged due to wearing mascara, etc.?


  19. Werd, werd, werd… except… if someone didn’t have eyelashes at all, that *would* be a problem, since they function to keep dust and debris out of the eyes. You don’t wanna wake up with all that sleep dirt ON YOUR EYEBALLS instead of gunked up in your lashes like it’s supposed to be. Ow.

    What makes this onerous aside from the “be fuckable or die” angle is they’re trying to convince people with NORMAL VARIATIONS that they suffer from a disease. Par for the course with fuckin’ Big Pharma. :(


  20. I don’t understand. At all. Aside from the weird/creepy/what the fuck aspect of this, there’s the practicality issue. If your plan really is to lengthen and thicken your eyelashes, why the hell would you turn to this? You have to apply it every day, which you would do with mascara (or false eyelashes) anyway. It’s not permanent (well, except for the skin and eye altering discolouration), which means it has no benefits over mascara/falsies at all. It’s super goddamn expensive, and if you were willing to spend that, you could pay for good quality mascara/falsies for that anyway. And it discolours your goddamn flesh. Smudges being a common complaint of cheap mascara anyway, I don’t see how they’re even marketing this shit, which costs so much more. Scary example of how something that makes no goddamn sense is made to appear not only logical, but desirable, by the media.


  21. Latisse is officially the new Flomax.

    Apropos of nothing, but I just saw a Flomax commercial stating that one of the possible side effects is “runny nose.”

    So it won’t clear up *all* of my weak streams? Shame.


  22. “This product campaign is just evil. It preys upon women’s insecurities in the most disgusting of ways, creates insane expectations that can’t be met, then hoses women out of huge sums of money.”

    AHHH it’s NOT just me! WONDERFUL! I first saw this crap and thought, like you did, that it was a joke. um what? So breast cancer is killing women daily but you got time to research THIS SHIT? Thanks.

    It DOES prey on women’s insecurities and not only that, but for straight women, is it understood that men don’t really give a shit whether your eye lashes are 5 cm or 1 inch? and if they do, why do we give a fuck? I hate this product, and we’ll probably find out later that it causes skin or eye cancer or some other madness. ugh!


  23. My boyfriend has to take eye drops for glaucoma. The warning on the box says isomething like “accelerated eye lash growth and darkening of the iris may result”. Well, my boyfriend’s lashes, which had been scanty and blond, got dark and so thick and long that they curled up on his glasses. The stuff also turned his hazel eyes blue!

    I said to him that some women might try to get this stuff on the black market to make their lashes longer. Well, they don’t have to get it that way now, do they? What nobody has figured into this is that the stuff loses its effectiveness after several months. My boyfriend has been using this now for eight months consistently and his lashes are back to normal. But his once pale hazel eyes are still sky blue.


  24. Well shit, why can’t they come up with a disease in which a symptom is small boobs??? Why can’t insurance cover lipo and implants while we’re at it??? If that patriarchy is in such dire need of plastic beauty why don’t they just have insurance cover it??? I would love to have men drool over me just so I could put a big stomp on their oh so awesome dick!


  25. I want to know what the heck happens if you use that stuff with contact lenses… My eyes are in pain at the very thought.


  26. I love you and everything about your blog. I was reading about terrorists, rapists, a users, psychopaths, power hungry fucks, child prostitute kidnappers, etc when my boyfriend explAined that, even though im apparently “hot,” he needs to fuck other women. Why am I supposed to like men? I had an abusjve boyfriend who raped me and, when i tried to leave him, smashed all my stuff. Why are men good again? I’ve had enough.


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