Have you lost clients because of allergies? Has your health suffered from working with lash adhesives?
I think one of the areas that there is the most mis-information out there is about Adhesives, Health and safety.
Speaking with lash artists around the world I get tons of questions about the lash adhesive and realized how much confusion there really is out there. Stylists are trying to figure out which masks will protect them from fumes, or what to do when clients have allergic reactions and what the client is actually allergic too. I think part of this misinformation comes directly from “trainers” or “manufacturers”.
How can we protect ourselves and our clients if we don't know what we are using?
I'm going to jump back about 8 years and tell you a story about myself. I had owned my lash bar and makeup studio Makeup Mandy, for about 2 and a half years already and had a great clientele, built on word of mouth and referrals, so it was so important to me that every client left happy. Something terrible starting happening. More and more of my regular clients started to call me that they were having allergic reactions, waking up and their eyes swollen shut, puffy, red, itchy,or painful. I was really confused because these clients had been wearing lashes with me for months, some years. I hadn’t changed my product, and my technique had only gotten better. It was devastating to my business because I had no choice but to refund unused visits on packages and tell my clients, many of whom had become friends that they could no longer do lashes. OH I had tried those “sensitive” adhesives out there but my clients were used to a retention of about a month. Those “sensitive” adhesives lasted a week to two weeks tops so for me weren't an option.
Then one morning it happened. I woke up. My eyes were swollen almost shut. My lash line was raw and red. I looked like I had been stung by a bee in each eye lid. This was terrible. Now I really knew what my clients were going through. I was suppose to go to Las Vegas that weekend with the girls. How could I go without my lashes? I felt naked without my lashes! I had been wearing them for years. That weekend. I wore my puffy eyes and lashes to Vegas and had to take Benadryl, antiinflammatories, Claritin and Zantac to break the reaction.
On the way home from my trip, I realized that this was crazy. There is vanity but I never thought I would have to drug myself to wear my lashes. I guessed I would have to be lash-less from then on.
So I took my lashes off and every time a client would ask me “why aren't you wearing any lashes?” I stumble to tell them why, because I didn't want to scare all of my business away by having clients worry that they too would be allergic. This is when I started talking to other lash pros and learning that I was not alone in this. That the product I was using did indeed produce formaldehyde when it hit the air.
It took me a lot of time to find a cosmetic lab that would even touch lash adhesives because of the liabilities when using products like these near the eyes. Tons of testing and formulating took place. Until at last, LAshX Speed Adhesive was developed. With the help of some amazing chemists I was able to formulate an adhesive that would not cause allergies in myself of my clients. Throughout the whole process of development I would not give up on wanting a long retention for my clients. Eventually our final adhesive formula would hold for 6-8 weeks at a time, part of this is because of the flexi-hold technology.
I always recommend an allergy test to anyone who has had a sensitivity in the past, there are still some people who will be allergic to cyanoacrylate, but 99% of my "lost clients" were able to return to my business and wear lashes again. I am able to wear lashes again. With my LAshX System my respiratory health has been restored.
This where my passion for healthier cleaner beauty products and specifically lash extension products began. I hope all of you can relate to some aspects of this story, I have heard similar stories from all around the world.
Now lets debunk some myths:
Red eyes after a service: Not Normal! This is usually caused by fume. A fume free adhesive will not turn the clients eyes red!
Adhesives label themselves formaldehyde free but are they? The truth is no one adds formaldehyde to the bottle it develops as Cyanoacrylate cures or polymers form.
Most people who have these allergic reactions are reacting to the formaldehyde that is produced and not the cyanoacrylate itself. Formaldehyde is not just bad because of allergies but its dangerous for us to be breathing in all day long.
All lash extension adhesives are made with Cyanoacrylate as a base. This is what makes them long lasting. Cyanoacrylate is used as a medical adhesive in and on the body in its purest grades.
All Cyanoacrylate adhesives cure with moisture in the air. This curing or polymerization process is when formaldehyde is off gassed.
Cyanoacrylate is used in everything from weapon production to medical sutures. Medical grade CA is made in a way to be safe for sensitive skin, a flexible hold.
Companies that use lower grades of CA will cut it with lots of carbon to help counter the formaldehyde production or have you use a nano-mister or nebulizer that adds moisture in the air to help “Shock Cure” it
The problem with shock curing the adhesive is that you are going to get a rigid adhesive that isn't flexible or able to move with the natural hair and thus can cause damage. Also the process can actually release more fume.
The LAshX Adhesive is produced with a monomer that is a “formaldehyde scavenger” in order to prevent the fume from occurring. It also has a small amount of carbon. It is classified fume free. its also super thin so dries instantly without using excess moisture and will stay soft and supple.
The Truth About Masks
People ask me about what masks they should use to minimize fumes. I suggest use a fume free adhesive. Masks are not effective.
What about Masks? So Masks do not block fumes or VOC unless they are specifically made to do that, think gas mask or air exhaust. Those cute paper medical masks could actually cause more harm than good because Cyanoacrylates react to cotton and linen causing heat and more fume that you could potentially breathing right in.
Paper or cotton masks can actually make fumes worse. Unbalanced CA reacts with cottons and thus will produce heat. If you ever put your arm in it you may have felt your shirt get hot. Paper or cotton masks are more to protect the client from your germs than to protect you. Standard masks will not filter chemicals in the air if you are using a fumey adhesive. Those masks protect against particulate matter like dust for example. You would need a gas mask or extractor fan to get rid of fumes in unbalanced adhesives and that is not a good look!
We get lots of questions when people switch to our adhesive about how to use it.
In most cases when pros switch to LAshX Speed Adhesive they tend to use too much product because they are use to a thicker glue. The goal is to use as little product as possible to get an instant cure and flexible hold. The way Cyanoacrylates in general are composed they are meant to be used in a thin layer to cure quickly (this is called helmeting). Using more product than needed will only result in less retention and can cause coated natural lash hairs to become brittle and break.
If you are using the Speed Adhesive and find that the lash extension is sliding on the hair too much, your volume fans are collapsing or you are having to hold for long periods of time for the adhesive to dry. You are using too much. When you have the correct amount you will experience an instant bond on the hair. It will feel like a magnet to the lash. One drop of adhesive is more than enough for a full set. The Speed Adhesive will not dry out on the back of your gel pad so there is no need to keep dropping more adhesive through out your service.
So what are the tips to prevent allergies and reactions?
Use a medical grade adhesive that is stable for in vivo use. Keep adhesive fresh. LAshX Speed adhesive last three months open, 1 year unopened and 15 months in fridge unopened. Once its exposed to the air it starts to degrade so date your bottle and toss at 3 months!
I hope that I have empowered you all to know a little more about the products you are utilizing daily so that you can protect yourselves and your businesses. As always please comment below if you have questions or reach out to use directly on the lash line: 1-888-lashx-la.