BRITISH hospitals are recruiting women who are unhappy with their eyelashes to test a new hair-growth drug - which could spell the end of mascara. Scientists believe the drug will mean the end of messy cosmetics by improving the length, thickness and darkness of eyelashes. Women who take part in the trial will be given the treatment, worth 100 pounds, for a six-month period. The liquid drug is applied daily to the eyelashes with a brush and comes in a mascara-like bottle. Doctors at six hospitals in the UK are staging the tests to find out how quickly the drug - called Latisse - starts to work and how long the results last. It could also be used on chemotherapy patients who have lost their hair. Clinical trials need to be completed in the UK before the manufacturer, who also makes the skin-smoothing drug Botox, can secure a European licence. Consultant Parwez Hossain, who is trialling the drug at Southampton General Hospital, said mascara could disappear from womens make-up bags. He said: 'The drug has been used as a treatment for glaucoma for many years. One of the side effects was that patients grew longer and thicker eyelashes. 'The company has now reformulated their product so it can be applied directly to the eyelashes in the same way as a mascara. 'The study Im working on hopes to find out how long patients need to use the drug to improve their lashes and to see how long the effects last when you stop using it. DM 'It already has a drug licence in the United States, where women are using it as a cosmetic procedure. 'It now has to undergo clinical trials here to get a European licence. The results I have seen from the United States have been impressive. 'Many women that have had the treatment look like they are wearing mascara when they are not and that is our ultimate aim. 'We need more women to join our trials. Women can use their normal mascara on top of Lattisse while waiting for their lashes to thicken. The drug is said to make lashes 25 per cent longer, 106 per cent thicker and 18 per cent darker after 16 weeks. Makeup artist Vanessa Pridige, who has worked on West End shows and magazine photoshoots, said many women will love the new treatment. She said: 'Long, dark and thick eyelashes are great because they make your eyes look bigger and open them up. When my friends and clients only have time to apply one piece of makeup in the morning most reach for the mascara. 'But it can be messy and if you do not wear waterproof mascara it can run down your face and look very unattractive if you swim, sweat, cry or get caught in the rain. 'The panda-eye look is not good. She added: 'Women usually spend between ten and 20 pounds on a good bottle of mascara, which will last for about three months. 'If they dont like mascara this may get eyelash extensions but they cost 75 pounds, take an hour to put in and only last for about six weeks. 'Whether women will be prepared to spend 100 pounds on the new drug will depend on how long it lasts. 'Ill be interested to see the results of the trials. 'The drug could be the answer to many womens prayers but I think Ill still be working with mascara for years to come. The worldwide market for mascara is around three billion pounds a year. DM