Today we're investigating: LASHFOOD + BROWFOOD
A few months ago I did a blog profile on two products, Garnier's "Smooth Air Dry" and L'Oreal's "AirDry It" and showed you how these products were marketed differently but were actually the SAME EXACT PRODUCT. This kind of marketing pisses me off because most consumers don't have the time or expertise to look at ingredients and know what is actually being sold to them. Today I'm highlighting LASHFOOD and BROWFOOD, and hopefully the information I'm giving you will help you to be a more informed consumer!
I try to cut corners wherever I can on my beauty routine, both in terms of time and money. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to spend cash when the product is worth it, but I’m also likely to seek out other options if the price is high and I’m running low on stock. This happened recently when I started getting low on Latisse. I started using Latisse about a year ago after seeing one of my clients whose lashes were literally banging up against her brow area. They didn’t look ridiculous - they looked beautiful! She shared her secret with me and I immediately sought it out!
After about 6 weeks of continual use, my lashes were longer than they had ever been. That, coupled with a mascara primer and my favorite mascara and I was hooked! But, even after finding ways to make the product last as long as possible (using one drop for both eyes), it still only lasted for about 6 months. That is a good amount of time, but at $115 per bottle, it’s a hefty price tag.
Using my favorite trifecta of products, I get lashes that rival lash extensions!
I started looking for a replacement product. I’ve heard many times that Jamaican Black Castor Oil is great for encouraging hair growth, and I’ve seen a YouTube video with a woman who swears it worked for her lash growth. This looked like a great natural alternative. Then I came across LASHFOOD on Sephora’s website. It gets great reviews, and although it looks like it is cheaper than Latisse, it also comes in a much smaller quantity. Here’s the breakdown on a per ounce scale:
Latisse: $676 / ounce
Lashfood: $780 / ounce
Jamaican Black Castor Oil: $1.42 / ounce
I know, I know - the price of cosmetics, especially skincare, is unbelievable, and the markups are usually in the 500% range. This is a huge reason why I look at ingredients when I’m shopping for skincare products.
I saw a link to another product they make called BROWFOOD and I was totally intrigued. My brows are decent, but I’ve had my fair share of over plucking disasters (did anyone else do super skinny brows in the early 2000’s??). I’ve used Latisse on my brows as well but I was interested to see what the difference was between LASHFOOD and BROWFOOD, and lo and behold, they are for all intents and purposes the SAME PRODUCT! Let’s analyze the two:
APPLICATION/AMOUNT OF PRODUCT
BROWFOOD is more expensive but also contains more product (.17 oz compared to .10 oz of LASHFOOD). Also, the applicator brush for BROWFOOD is thicker, which makes sense.
Since I’ve been formulating my own haircare products over the last year, I’ve come to understand that the majority of ingredients that go into cosmetics are unnecessary and don’t actually do anything - they are put there to make you feel like the product is special and has exotic, active ingredients. THIS IS NOT TRUE and I’ll show you how they do it.
Most people know that whatever ingredients are listed at the forefront make up the majority of the product. In these two products, the ingredients listed at the top have “water” or “extract” listed next to them. These ingredients are not truly active, meaning they will not contribute to your final result (in this case, longer lashes or brows). This goes for any cosmetic you see these types of ingredients in. They have beneficial properties in terms of enzymes and antioxidants, but they are basically fairy glitter without any real purpose. And Butylene Glycol is used as a viscosity thinner or a skin conditioner. So we can scratch these ingredients off the list in terms of saying LASHFOOD is more or less active than BROWFOOD.
MISCELLANEOUS DIFFERING INGREDIENTS
Let’s move on to some of the miscellaneous ingredients that differ between the two products. LASHFOOD has Trehalose, Aloe Barbadenis Leaf Juice, a few more extracts and Hydrolyzed Rice Protein. Trehalose and aloe juice help with moisturization, and all proteins help in a strengthening capacity. It doesn’t matter if it’s wheat, soy, rice, corn, or pea protein - they all pretty much do the same thing.
BROWFOOD’s miscellaneous ingredients include Hydrolyzed Pea Protein, Lecithin, Olea Europaea, Fruit Oil, Phytosterols, Squalane, Shea Butter, Ceramide 3, and some extracts. We already know about proteins and extracts, so both LASHFOOD and BROWFOOD are still neck and neck. I think there was a typo in this ingredient list because “Olea Europaea Fruit Oil” is the correct name - generally you can’t name something “Fruit Oil” in an INCI ingredient list without directly listing the fruit - hence the typo hypothesis. At any rate, that simply means olive oil which is good for moisture. Phytosterols are naturally occurring molecules in plant foods which can help restore and replenish skin. Squalane, Shea Butter, and Ceramide 3 are all hydrators, moisturizers, and skin conditioning agents. At first glance, it may seem like BROWFOOD has more moisturizing agents than LASHFOOD, which may or may not be true. One product could have 3 grams of Trehalose and the other product could have a gram each of 3 different moisturizing ingredients and it would equate to the same level of moisture. However, butters tend to be heavier and more moisturizing which would make sense for a brow product over a lash product. Still though, we have no mention yet of any active ingredients which actually make lashes or brows grow. At this point, I could only say that BROWFOOD may have a slight advantage when it comes to moisture.
FINALLY - INGREDIENTS THAT MAKE LASHES GROW!
From Xanthan Gum on, we see the remaining ingredients in both products are exactly the same. Xanathan Gum is a thickener, Phenethyl Alcohol is a preservative, Sorbic Acid is a fragrance alternative and preservative, Hydrogenated Phosphatidylcholine is an emulsifier and helps keep skin conditioned, Potassium Sorbate is a preservative, Arginine is a hair and skin conditioning agent known to promote hair growth, Adinosine conditions skin and is thought to promote hair growth, and we already know about the rest.
Basically, the two most important ingredients are only necessary in very small quantities (the Adinosine and the Arginine) because they are at the bottom of the list. And, they are listed in the exact same order with other important ingredients like the preservatives and emulsifiers. The workhorse ingredients of these products are exactly the same!
So, what did I do with all this information? A few things: I didn’t purchase LASHFOOD or BROWFOOD, although if I were going to, I would just get LASHFOOD as it is less expensive and can be used on brows as well. I decided to try Jamaican Black Castor Oil for 2 months to see if I notice an upkeep in lash growth versus using Latisse, and I’ll be excited to share my results with you here!
Now, I’d love some info from you - do you have any products that are “dupes” - products that work just as well as other products but are less expensive or better in some way? It doesn’t have to be with the ingredients, but maybe with performance? Or tell me your favorite products to get longer lashes! Please share below - I’d love to hear your cosmetic secrets and advice!