I am just like you, a lash wearer, artist and a salon owner. I developed the LAshX brand products because I found real issues in the lash industry that needed solutions. I created these products for my clients and myself. Becoming a manufacturer was something that happened naturally because, I just needed to create at such large quantities, that it only made sense that I began selling them to other artists and friends. I think what makes our brand so unique is that every item created, is created out of a real need or challenge that I faced, either as an artist, a lash wearer, or a salon owner. The opportunity to do research and development on a daily basis, with such a large volume of clients, has helped me to perfect the line from these three very different perspectives.
Here is the story of how I got started lashing and creating LAshX products.
Previously working as a makeup artist for film and television, I became addicted to doing lash extensions after discovering a small lash kit at the IMATS makeup show in Los Angeles, CA. The idea of the lashes fascinated me and I loved that these little lashes could literally change how a persons looked without applying any makeup. The kit I purchased had a DVD with subtitles from Korea, some loose lashes in pots and the other supplies I needed to get started.
I loved the lashes and thought I was great at them, but the truth was that they didn't last very long for my clients, and the loose lashes were really hard to work with. Anyone who has worked with these loose lashes knows the frustration of bumping your lash pallet and the sizes all getting mixed up or falling on the floor. Soon after, the company whom I purchased the kit from, called and offered to have me come take a new training they were offering. I took this training, twice actually, and my work vastly improved. I became so busy with regular clients that driving to peoples homes, all over Los Angeles, was no longer a productive way to run my business. In November 2006 I opened up the first Makeup Mandy Lash Bar and Makeup Studio on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, CA. I think we were the first lash bar ever. In addition to extensions I offered Party Lashes, lash perms and falsies.
Our first Makeup Mandy Location On Melrose Ave
Stacy Keibler before an event
Shoot for CW and Covergirl
My clientele kept growing until I was seeing 8-12 clients a day, 6 days a week. The first problem with the lashes, that I discovered seeing this many clients a week, was that many people didn't want to clean their lashes. They were afraid to ruin the lashes by washing them. There really were no lash safe cleansers available. So, clients either came in with bacterial growth, build up, or they washed and the lash extensions would then either clump together or fall off. If the client used a cleanser too often, it would ruin the lashes and if clients didn't clean enough, the bacteria and build up would ruin the lashes. It was a huge issue. By miracle, fate or The Secret, one day I explained this issue to a new client as I did his service. He, just happen to have formulated products for several HUGE cosmetic companies and he offered to help me. Sean became my first mentor and helped me develop what would soon be the LAshX Brand.
Now that we had a lash safe cleanser, the client's lashes were lasting much longer and were looking amazing. My skills evolved and I discovered new techniques that worked better for me. We moved to a new spot on Melrose next to Urth Cafe and Makeup Mandy became busier than ever.
Good Day LA shoot
Mandy and Catherine Malandrino
Still unhappy with a 2-3 week retention I started using a new lash company, that had come on the scene with a longer lasting product line, and a little softer lashes. Retention between fills increased to average every four weeks. It was great. Until...many of my regular clients started having allergies to the lashes. I soon became allergic too. I found myself taking anti-histamines so that I could wear my lashes to Vegas. We would all wake up with puffy swollen eyelids.
It was also awkward when clients would ask me why I wasn't wearing the lashes, because I didn't want to scare them by telling them that I was allergic. I was loosing the business of people who wanted to wear lashes but simply couldn't anymore due to allergies. After doing much research and speaking with many chemical engineers and medical adhesive developers I learned a ton. We were all sensitized to the the formaldehyde these adhesives were off gassing, much like the keratin blowouts that had become popular. My outcome was to create a healthy lash adhesive, purified and refined, to not cause fumes or irritation, that would bring back lost clients and allow me to wear my lashes again. This goal was achieved in 2011 with the LAshX Speed Adhesive.
Business was going great and I was able to bring back most of the clients I had lost over the years to allergies and my staff and team grew.
From Left to right: Robyn, Michelle, Mandy, Astrik, Angelina
Latisse, which was approved as a lash growth serum in 2008 by the FDA, was now becoming more widely used in Los Angeles. I noticed clients were starting to have retention issues again. Clients using lash growers like Latisse and Revitalash were achieving natural lash growth, which was great because I could create fuller sets and help clients with lash damage, but my extensions were not lasting more than 2-3 weeks for these serum users. The lash serums were making the extensions grow off and shed too quickly. The additional problem was that when clients would stop using these products their lashes would also shed. Either way, the extensions were not lasting the 4-6 weeks I was guaranteeing for these serum users. I knew there had to be a solution so with help, our team developed a lash serum utilizing peptides. Instead of speeding up the lash cycle, our new serum utilized peptides that helped to prolong it. The result was that natural lashes and brows would triple. Extensions would lash two weeks longer with consistent use! Combining this with our new patented lashes, we had a system that would hold 6-8 weeks between fills and triple clients natural lashes.
I made the Proliner, our lash treatment, in clear of course for lashes and brows but also in colors for eyeliner lovers. The was solely because I am very forgetful at night and would forget to put on the treatment, but always wore my eyeliner. I figured with a two-in-one I would not forget to use it. So our Proliner comes in 5 great wearable shades and is eyeliner, and growth serum all in one.
We plan to continue to innovate and come out with products to improve lash extension industry. As our line evolves, I love being able to help others succeed in owning their own business or running their own careers. This has been a very rewarding career for me and It is truly my passion to continue to improve health and safety in our industry and educate other to help them achieve their dreams.