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Can Talika make my eyelashes grow?

Akiko Asks:

This product, Talika Lipocils Eyelash Treatment Gel, claims to promote eyelash growth…. Is it true (or too good to be true?)? If it really works, how does it do this?

The Right Beauty Brain Reviews Talika

Well, Akiko, thanks for raising a very interesting question. Talika Lipocils (for those of you who aren’t well versed in esoteric French cosmetics with unpronouneable names) is an eyelash treatment with an interesting history. We quote the Talika website

“In 1948 a young Medical Doctor named Danielle Roches was treating war casualties in the Hospitals of Paris. Whilst using a special anti-bacteria cream she had formulated with plants extracts, Dr Roches discovered that the product not only promoted the healing of wounds, but also had a dramatic secondary benefit: significant and measurable eyelash and eyebrow growth.”

Intriguing, eh? Well it gets better. Talika’s website proudly proclaims that they have clinical proof of their claims. They claim their product provides “measureable eyelash and eyebrow growth” yet the clinical study referenced on the website only shows that their product helps eyelashes reach a longer “maximum length.” Read that part carefully – their study doesn’t show that their product stimulated the GROWTH of eye hairs, it only shows that more eye hairs reached their “maximum length” when treated with the product.

We keep putting “maximum length” in quotes because that’s the wording used in their report. The exact description of the data is “Percentage of hairs (eyelashes or eyebrow hairs) having reached a maximum length.” We’re not exactly sure WHAT that means. But we do have a theory.

Growing hair without growth

If you wanted to prove that a conditioner made hair grow faster, you could do this: Measure how long it takes to grow your hair to a certain length (lets say 10 inches) without using any conditioner. Since you’re not using conditioner you’ll get some number of broken or split hairs, which you’ll want to trim to keep your overall hair style looking frizz free. So, let’s say it takes you 3 months to grow out ten inches of hair that are split-free.

Now, do that same test but use conditioner this time. Guess what? Since you’re taking better care of your hair, it will get to that 10 inch length faster because you won’t be cutting off so many splits. Therefore, you may reach your “maxium length” in 2 months instead of three.

Ok, now imagine that instead of going for a specific length of 10 inches, you just measure how long your hair gets with and without conditioner. Same thing, you hair will get longer, faster, when you’re using conditioner. It doesn’t GROW any faster, it just reaches its maximum length quicker because you’re not trimming off the yucky parts. (“Yucky” is a technical term.)

We can’t be sure, but we think that our friends at Talika are doing their testing in a similar way. Maybe their eyelash treatment gels works like a hair conditioner. We’ve never tried to condition eyelashes and measure their breakage, but in theory that kind of test would account for Talika’s data. (Ok, ok we realize that you don’t shampoo, blow dry, and brush your eyelashes like you do your hair, but like we said, it’s just our theory. Sheesh!)

There’s another possibility that’s a slight twist on this theory:

Eyelashes, like other hairs, will eventually fall out on their own. What if their product just keeps the eyelashes from falling out so quick? Again, they’re not stimulating the growth rate of the eyelash but maybe they’ve found a way to keep the hair from it “stuck” in it’s follicle longer. If this is the case, that’s extremely cool! We’ve never heard of anyone ever accomplishing that feat, but heck, they’re French! Anything’s possible. Possible, but not very likely.

So, since we’ve never seen any published scientific studies on the possibility of increasing eyelash growth, we’re doubtful. And the fact that their report leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the explaining the control group, base size, and statistical analysis doesn’t exactly give us a warm and fuzzy feeling either.

The Beauty Brain’s Bottom Line

Maybe this product does what it says, but we’re skeptical based on the data the company presents. And we’ve never seen any cosmetic product that actually affects hair growth. If anyone’s actually tried this product, please let us know!

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