Priority 1: Client Health and Safety. Priority 2: Lash Extension Retention. Here’s How to Maintain BOTH.

As Chief Public Health OfficerDr. Theresa Tam recommends masking again, along with updating your Covid Vaccine shots, we felt it was a good time to pass on some tips and tricks to help maintain your lash extensions retention when and if your clients are wearing their face masks during lash treatments with you. 

Masking as a Lash Tech

As a Lash Technician, it’s always a good idea to wear a mask while you work for three reasons in addition to the general health and safety reasons that you’d be following while wearing a mask in a supermarket. 

Reason 1: It’s more polite to not be breathing on your client. Hands up: who gets closer and closer to their client's lashes while they’re working? While you might start the set sitting up straight with your face a good distance from theirs, the likelihood is that you will end up much closer, especially as you check for stickies at the end of the set. This closer proximity opens you up to the possibility of breathing on your clients more, which doesn’t really go with the pampering spa vibes that go alongside having your lashes done. Wearing a mask also makes you look like a professional esthetician and also keeps your clients happy and comfortable. 

a cambridge mask pro

Reason 2: Wearing a mask helps maintain the optimal conditions for your glue to work properly. Again, as you get closer to the lash line while you’re working, you’re breathing closer to the glue bonding zone which increases the humidity there. Even the slightest fluctuation in humidity can be the difference between excellent lash extension retention and an actual retention nightmare, so it’s super important to keep on top of that in any way that you can.

Reason 3: Lastly, wearing a mask keeps the glue fumes out of your airways. This is super important as a Lash Tech because it means that you’ll have more career longevity as you won’t have to give up lashing due to respiratory issues. After all, health is wealth!

WRITER’S NOTE: Did you know that lash glue fumes can produce an allergic reaction type of effect? I’d had lash extensions a LOT of times before I ever applied my first set and had never reacted to the glue. However, as I was applying my first set, my eyes and nose were streaming! I had to plug my nostrils with tissue (super cute, I know) and wear a mask, and then I was fine. When I looked in the mirror after the treatment though, my eyelids were puffy from the fumes and I was worried that I’d developed an allergy. Luckily, I can still have lash extensions without any kind of reaction, and to apply lashes, I always make sure I’m wearing a mask!

Masking as a Client

It’s not super common for clients to wear masks during a lash set, generally speaking, but with health officials recommending them again, it’s worth knowing how they can change the way you work and the impact they can have on lash retention in the event that your clients start coming to you with masks on. 

Masks can affect lash retention as they redirect the client’s breath up through gaps in the top of the mask towards their lashes. This creates a much more humid environment around the lashes which, as you’ll surely know, will speed up the curing time of your glue, and may even produce enough moisture to cause your lash glue to shock polymerize

a close up of natural lashes with white residue around the roots. Lash extensions glue has not been properly cleaned after a lash removal, leading to shock polymerization

To avoid this, all you’ll need to do is take some of your tape and just tape down the top edges of your client’s face mask, redirecting their breath downwards. Once you’ve placed your tape, you can apply your eyepatches right over the top so that you can draw out your lash map as normal.

This simple trick keeps the glue zone free from extra heat and moisture, and allows your glue to work exactly as it should, assuming that you’ve carried out the proper pre-treatment, which is even more important than normal given that your client’s breath will have been redirected towards their lashes while they were on the way to you as well. 

superbonder being applied to the finished lashes

Lastly, to finish off a lash set – and at the risk of sounding a little too salesy – it’s worth using some Superbonder Lash Sealant as this will prevent your client’s breath from having an adverse effect on retention once you remove the tape from the top edge of their mask. Superbonder cures your lash glue in an instant while maintaining a flexible bond. Hot and humid breath will also cure it, but will lead to a brittle glue bond, which can mean that your glue will crumble and take the lash extensions with it, spoiling your retention. You can read more about how Superbonder works in this blog post if you’re not yet acquainted with it, and you can grab a sample of superbonder here if you’d like to see how well it works for you! 

You may never come across this phenomenon during your career, but in case you do, it’s worth being prepared! Knowing how to solve or prevent problems in the first instance is only going to benefit your business where lash and client retention are concerned!