As you undoubtedly already know, visit any online Lash Forum and you'll quickly discover that one of the most talked-about topics among Lash Stylists all over the world is that of lash retention.
It's one of the main reasons we spent nearly a year creating our ultra in-depth Lash Retention 101 Online Course.
So, what is Lash Retention and why is it so important?
Lash Retention is simply how long eyelash extensions last on the natural lash before falling out.
Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time that a set of eyelash extensions should last as we all have different Lash Growth Cycles and these continually change due to factors such as change of season, hormones among other things.
On average, most people will lose 3-5 natural lashes per eye every single day. This is completely normal and healthy as new lashes take their place.
This is also why we need lash refills to "top up" our lashes with new extensions to replace the ones that are too gown out, or that have already fallen out.
The most important thing is that as Lash Stylists we do everything we can to help ensure that the eyelash extensions we apply last the full length of each client's natural lash cycle.
Your business and your reputation rely heavily on the lashes you apply lasting a long time so it's wise to ensure you understand what things will affect your clients lash retention.
Whilst there are so many different things that can affect your clients lash retention, I thought I would share with you 5 tips that in my opinion are some the most important to understand if you want longer lasting eyelash extensions for your clients. (bare in mind there are other factors, but implementing these will definitely help you make improvements right away).
In no particular order, here are my personal top 5 tips...
1. Make sure your adhesive is always fresh. Understand that the moment you open your bottle of adhesive it slowly begins to degrade. Each and every time you open your adhesive moisture is getting inside which weakens your adhesives strength. I recommend changing your adhesive every 30 days to ensure it's always at it's best strength.
Yes, this might mean you occasionally throw away a half-empty bottle of adhesive if you've not been overly busy that month, but don't make the mistake of seeing this as throwing away half of what the eyelash adhesive glue cost you to buy (AU$30 for example).
Instead, think of how many clients you will keep because your clients are happier that their lashes are lasting longer and now want to refer their friends.
What is that worth to your business? My guess is a lot more than $30.
A big mistake I see some Lash Stylists make is thinking "oh I'm sure my adhesive is fine I'll just use it until it's gone or for another few weeks".
What they don't know is that those extra few weeks that they were stretching the life of their adhesive, it was probably only operating at 50% of its original strength. Less if it hadn't been stored correctly the entire time.
Now think how many clients do you see in 2 weeks? Even at just 4 per day over 10 days, that's 40 clients. All you need is 1 of them (2.5%) to not return and you're now losing money.
And if your client's lashes aren't lasting as long as they should there's a good chance you'll lose more than 2.5% of your clients.
Bare in mind that very few clients will bother to tell you that their lashes aren't lasting, particularly new clients. They simply won't return and you won't know why.
Now if you're a professional Lash stylist think for just a moment how much money and time you've spent on Google Adwords, Facebook, Instagram or any other type of advertising to attract those new clients that you've now just lost.
All of a sudden the $30 for fresh lash adhesive seems rather insignificant, doesn't it?
I know it sounds dramatic but I can assure you that it's the little things like this that can (and do) have the biggest impact on your business.
2. Ensure your client's lashes are as clean as possible prior to application. Preparation is so important. No mascara, eyeliner, moisturiser or oily based products can be present on the lashes before application.
Prime lashes prior to EVERY application, both full sets and refills and concentrate on the BASES of the natural lashes where the extensions will be applied. When priming it is essential to properly clean the lashes, not just "wet" them as many are led to believe.
Another tip is if you notice the lashes are particularly dirty (makeup, oils etc) then use micropore tape to tape up the layers of lashes so you can clean in between. You can watch a tutorial on this here.
3. Advise clients to cleanse their lashes daily with the correct lash cleanser. Advise clients to cleanse daily because if you tell them to clean them every other day you'll find the probably will only clean them once a week!
The cleanser used MUST be an eyelash extension approved cleanser, so many other cleansers contain ingredients that aren't compatible with eyelash extensions so using any cleanser won't do and you could be unknowingly undoing all your hard work.
Also, do not make your own cleansers by diluting down existing cleansers to save costs. All this does is mess with the lash cleansers formula and the preservatives will be out of balance (among other issues) so just don't do it.
$30 for a 50ml cleanser that lasts for 6 months is not a big deal if it means their eyelash extensions last an extra week or two and saves them money on their refills. Not to mention your job so easier when they come in for a refill with better retention and clean lashes.
4. Always ensure your adhesive is stored correctly. This is a big one that so many get wrong. Firstly, if you understand that the adhesives sets on contact with moisture that will help guide you to correct storage.
We advise storing opened bottles of adhesive upright with the lid on tight in a small airtight container with an oxygen absorber to prevent moisture build-up. Even though the cap may be on tight moisture can still find its way inside.
A big 'No-No" is storing opened bottles of lash adhesive in the fridge as each time you take your lash adhesive out (perhaps each day) condensation builds up on the inside of the bottle from the sudden temperature fluctuations so you are actually degrading your adhesive much faster.
UNOPENED bottles of adhesive are okay to store in the fridge as it will stay there at a consistent temperature. We recommend storing unopened bottles of lash adhesive in the fridge for no longer than 90 days for optimum freshness.
The downside with lash adhesives is that even when they are "off" you will generally not be able to tell as the extensions will still stick to the natural lash, they just won't last as long or may flick off at the end when you start brushing through.
5. Ensure you're always using the correct adhesive for the room temperature and humidity. Working in a suitable temperature and humidity range for the adhesive that you're using is so important. ALL adhesives on the market currently have an "ideal working range" which is determined mostly by humidity.
There isn't a "one adhesive for all" I.e Some will work suit high humidity (70%+) whereas others will suit a low humidity environment (35%). Most work best in the 22 - 25 degrees Celsius range.
So, if you've ever wondered why your adhesive is setting super fast some days and takes forever on other days, this is why.
Rather than battling with air conditioners, opening windows, using humidifiers or dehumidifiers to change your environment (which is super frustrating and takes ages), the best practice is to stock both a high and a low humidity lash adhesive so you can match your adhesive with your conditions that day. I.e You might be in a low humidity area but on rainy days you'll find the humidity can skyrocket making your lashing days super painful if you're using a low humidity adhesive.
We advise to invest in a hygrometer, they are only around AU$15 and then you will always know what your lash room conditions are then you can switch between your lash adhesive formula depending on the conditions on any given day. This way you're working as efficiently as possible and your client's retention will be improved.
- Make sure you're not using outdated application techniques such as "swiping" or "painting" the lash before applying as this breaks the bond and affects lash retention.
- Do not wipe off the excess adhesive on eyepads or tape, simply re-dip to get the correct amount. Changing the speed and angle in which you dip into the lash adhesive will change the amount of adhesive on the base of the extension.
- Modern-day lash adhesives are super fast setting (generally 1 - 2 seconds) so ensure you isolate the natural lash BEFORE you dip into the adhesive to avoid a "skin" developing on the adhesive as it semi sets before being applied.
I hope you found my top 5 tips for Improving Lash Retention useful if you'd like to receive more of my free lash tips feel free to subscribe to our newsletter.