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    I Tried High-End And Budget Eyelash Serums To Get Bambi-Like Lashes

    Can any serum undo the damage that over-enthusiastically rubbing mascara off my eyes has done?

    Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed

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    Hi! I'm Natalya, I'm big into beauty, but also big into looking like I'm not that big into beauty. Which is why I'm a sucker for anything that promises an improvement to what Mother Nature has granted me.

    Natalya Lobanova / BuzzFeed

    I always want to feel more confident without makeup, but I'm deeply committed to eyeliner and mascara. It would definitely be a dream come true to have Bambi-like lashes that also let me forego any eye makeup. This is why I was so intrigued to hear about RevitaLash, a product that claims to increase growth in your lashes. To see if it's worth the very high price, I decided to test it against a more traditional and far more affordable alternative eyelash serum – castor oil.

    Here are my lashes, with and without makeup, before the start of the experiment.

    Natalya Lobanova / BuzzFeed

    They're fairly long but quite sparse (due to my slightly overzealous rubbing during makeup removal). Over the years, I've also noticed that they have got even sparser and thinner than they used to be when I was younger. There is a particularly sparse patch that's the result of pulling off some fake lashes too eagerly, where I'm afraid the lashes may never grow back!

    Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed

    Super simple – I will apply RevitaLash on one eye every single night, and castor oil on the other, for four months.

    I will then compare the growth on both eyes.

    If one set of eyelashes falls out, and the other grows to unimaginable lengths, I will just have to deal with it.

    RevitaLash, £104 for a six-month supply, which is 3.5ml.

    Tim Lane / BuzzFeed

    How it works: It contains peptides and biotin, which help condition your eyelashes, keeping them strong and flexible – much like a good hair conditioner. The peptides are also associated with increased hair growth. For the record, it's vegan and cruelty-free, too, all of which makes parting with a big ol' wad of cash a little less painful.

    First impressions: The product comes in a beautiful presentation box that definitely made it feel very lux – which is the very least I'd expect of it, as it cost a whopping £104 for a six-month supply, or 3.5ml of product. The product itself is very light, small, and portable. It's far smaller than even most mascaras. I found this weirdly disappointing, because I only feel like expensive beauty products are truly luxury when they're very heavy and gold-plated. Although on the other hand, I'm glad I won't have to carry around a gold-plated heavy bottle of lipids around with me for four months.

    Natalya Lobanova / BuzzFeed

    Ease of use: It's super easy to use. The applicator is a really thin brush, sort of like a liquid eyeliner wand. You just swipe it above your lash line as though you are applying liquid eyeliner. It's also incredibly efficient as the tube itself prevents you from taking on too much product, which is only fair as the liquid is so bloody expensive and you wouldn't want to waste a drop. In my entire time of using this, the product itself only got into my eyes twice, when it stung like a bitch. I travelled with this to LA and it was super easy to do so – it just fit into my regular makeup bag.

    Castor oil, £14.50 for 120ml.

    Tim Lane / BuzzFeed

    How it works: Castor oil is full of vitamin E and fatty acids, making it incredibly effective for conditioning hair. It has antibacterial properties, which keep your hair follicles healthy, consequently encouraging more growth and protecting your eyelashes from damage.

    First impressions: Obviously it's not anything fancy. It's a nice, big glass bottle of oil. No fanfare here. Here's the thing, though: Castor oil is so, so thick. It's thicker than most oils, with a consistency more like honey than olive oil. It's incredibly gloopy and it gets everywhere. So when you're applying it, it basically sticks all your eyelashes together. Which kind of works in its favour, though – it's so thick that it didn't once bleed into my eyes.

    Natalya Lobanova / BuzzFeed

    Ease of use: Okay, I think a lot of the problems I encountered with this were the fault of my own short-sightedness. Basically, applying an oil straight out of a big bottle with a spoolie was never going to end well. I tried to reuse the spoolie but, obviously, any oil that remained on it would drip down into the holder I kept it in. So I felt I had to change the spoolie really regularly, also just for hygienic reasons, which seems wasteful. Upon reflection, I really should have transferred it into an empty mascara applicator bottle. The real problem came when I was on holiday. I transferred some of the oil into a little plastic travel bottle and took some spoolies with me, but of course travel bottles are not spill-proof! It was an absolute faff, especially as I was staying at a friend's and trying not to leave their bathroom suspiciously oily every night (something I failed at).

    The texture is incredibly gloopy, and as anyone would agree, going to bed with one very gloopy, oily eye is not particularly sexy. Nonetheless, I actually found it really satisfying to apply and kind of convenient – the gloopiness prevented dripping. Any excess product I would also apply to my brows.

    Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed
    Natalya Lobanova / BuzzFeed, Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    Both RevitaLash and the castor oil clearly yielded results, as my lashes were definitely longer and fuller after the four months. Much to my relief, the lashes on both eyes grew the same amount, too!

    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    RevitaLash: It was only about six weeks in that people started to notice the change in my lashes and I was receiving compliments, which was great. However, the change is not drastic – it's not like getting a lash lift or extensions. Instead I felt that my eyelashes were just restored to what they would have been if I hadn't been aggressively rubbing them with makeup remover every single night since I was 14. They were definitely much longer and, thankfully, the sparse patches had been filled in. They were still my lashes, but my lashes at their best.

    Castor oil: I found this to be just as effective, if not more so, than RevitaLash. Though RevitaLash supposedly has an active growth stimulant, I think the two still function in a similar way – they just keep your eyelashes healthy and conditioned to stop them from falling out. I thought that my castor oil lashes were actually thicker, so I feel that it may have even encouraged new growth. It's definitely a huge faff to use and I'll need to get a proper applicator for this, but I'm so impressed with what I was ready to write off as an old wives' tale. I will also be using this as a hair mask and an eyebrow treatment.

    Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed

    I really enjoyed both the products. I feel that they function on a similar principle – you can't expect to have long, flowing locks if you don't take care of and condition your hair, so why should you expect that of your lashes? I will definitely continue to use both products. I'm not sure if I will repurchase RevitaLash – though it's clearly highly effective and I will continue to use it every night, I'm not sure if it's quite worth the price. The castor oil was also very effective, but far messier and will definitely require a proper applicator.

    Overall, I think if you're unhappy with your lashes, the most important thing of all is to invest time into looking after them. Neither of these products would have worked if I didn't diligently apply them every night. There just doesn’t seem to be any magical product for transforming your natural lashes overnight. Not yet, anyway.