Ahhh it’s winter and another change of season. What does this mean for your lash glue?
Every year around this time we start getting calls about retention from new lash techs. The more experienced techs seem to understand and know what is going on. Not that it’s a welcomed issue by any means, they just understand cyanoacrylates in perspective to the cold well with the change of season.
I’m writing this article with the intention of shedding (no pun intended) some light on how the cold or change of seasons can affect your lash glue. Now, ironically at this time my company has just received two different batches of adhesives that were either compromised in shipping or bad from the manufacturer. Which is actually the perfect time to write this. There is a difference between “winter/change of season” issues and “compromised adhesive” issues. Every company out there has experienced this. For me and for my loyal customers it’s how we deal with the situation that counts. For me, the only thing I can do is be honest and offer the best customer service possible by replacing the bad adhesive. For the lash tech, this means lots of free work! Unfortunately, this is part of the business. I know, I’ve been there and done it!! It always seems to happen at the worst possible time. This year for me was Christmas! Ouch.
Okay, here goes it! First, I want to explain fresh vs old adhesives. Fresh adhesive is when you the consumer gets the adhesive within 1-4 weeks after it is made. This is best possible scenario (Lash Savvy’s way). After you receive the adhesive you open it, mark the bottle either with the current date or 30 days from when you open it. The consumer (you) throws it away and opens another bottle after its been opened 30 days. Old or older adhesive is when you receive the adhesive more than 5 weeks after its been made. How does this happen? Well, a few ways. Number one way is that an adhesive goes on sale and you stock up. This is never good. The second way is that if the distributor (me or another company) buys in larger quantities and sells the same batch until all bottles are sold. This could take 1-6 months. By the 2nd month the adhesive is starting to age. Old adhesive can look and feel fine; however, the retention will start to show its effects after the 5th week of being made. All of the manufacturers tell us distributors that the adhesives we are manufacturing are good unopened anywhere from 4 to 6 months and once opened 30-60 days. I have found from experience that this is simply not true! My recommendation is; order your adhesive every month, keep for 30 days and repeat. This will give you the best retention. It also works out that one re-lash per month will cover a fresh bottle of adhesive monthly. Lash Savvy orders a new batch on the 28th of each month. We start each month off with a new batch.
So, assuming you believe you are using FRESH ADHESIVE and you open a bottle and right away you notice the consistency is different. Let’s problem solve a few scenarios.
1st case scenario – It's thick and gooey. = No adhesive should ever be thick and gooey. It’s either old or was compromised to heat or cold during shipping. To best avoid this, choose to ship with signature required or an address that is delivered inside. This way there is less of a chance that your adhesive will be exposed to the elements. If you are positive that the adhesive wasn’t exposed to the elements; let the company know what is going on. It may have been compromised while being shipped to them. Sometimes our adhesive gets stuck in customs in LA. Customs doesn’t have a climate controlled environment. Chances are we are getting lots of calls and will immediately investigate this and get a fresh bottle to you.
2nd case scenario – It's very thin and not drying = Check your humidity. Remember all adhesives need humidity to cure. If you live in a low humidity climate you can expect your adhesive to be thinner and slower drying than normal. Try using a humidifier with the door shut. Unless the adhesive is very thin with a lot of separation you should be able to assume it’s not bad and that the thinness is being caused due to a lack of humidity. You can be sure this is the case if one week it seems fine and the next week it’s thin and not drying. This is due to the change in your humidity/climate. It’s frustrating yes, but the good news is your adhesive is just being adhesive! The kicker or downside is that during low humidity times you can expect poorer retention than normal! It’s just the way it is! Who can you blame? Well, you can blame chemistry!
3rd case scenario – your retention is horrible, but your adhesive seems fine. = Are you new to lashing? Are your bases attached? Are you cleaning the natural lashes well enough? Have you educated your clients properly on aftercare? It’s very normal for a new tech (1 to 6 months of lashing) to experience very poor retention. If changing your adhesive doesn't improve your retention you may be able to assume it’s your application! We call it adhesive hopping! It’s a common scenario (true for me in the beginning) for new techs to keep trying different adhesives for better retention. The problem is that you need to work on improving your application. If your lashes are not attached at the base you can expect them to last less than a week. Same for dirty natural lashes! Put forth your efforts in practicing and not charging clients instead of adhesive hopping! In the end, you will be better off. Trust me, please!!
4th case scenario – all of a sudden most of your clients are experiencing poorer retention than normal = Is it a change of season? Spring allergies will cause many clients eyes to water and they unknowingly are rubbing at night. Summer is usually the best retention season unless your client spends a ton of time in the water or is running in very high humidity. Fall is the worst by far because humans shed more natural lashes during the fall. Also, for some clients fall allergies are worse in the spring. Winter will depend on frequent cold days and where you live. If your clients spend any amount of time out in the cold or freezing weather; especially after just getting her lashes done their retention will be horrible. Remember that cyanoacrylate are fragile. If it freezes or becomes cold it will be very brittle. This directly affects the retention of the lashes. If you live in a very dry state like Colorado, during the winter you may have issues with curing properly which will cause poor retention. All of this can be maddening. But, on average if your clients are coming back every 2-3 weeks with 40 to 50 percent of their lashes; give or take 10 percent during a change of season; this is normal. You have to factor in all of these conditions. If you have a client that is a chronic mascara wearer and complains constantly about poor retention. Mascara wearers will always have poor retention. There is too much wear and tear cleaning them everyday. Not to mention when they don’t clean them every day the mascara piles on making them heavier than normal. Also, when they shower the moisture can get trapped in all the mascara at the base of their extensions and cause the adhesive to mush up. Charge chronic mascara wearers for your time not by the week!
With all of that said there is a sure way to figure out retention issues! A good rule of thumb to go by: If you have 100 clients and 85 of your clients have normal (good) retention and 15 mostly who wear a mascara on a regular basis struggle with retention issues, its them and not you! The 85% rule tells the truth and allows for you to be able to determine if it’s an adhesive issue or client issue. Of course, factor in scenarios 1 thru 4!!!
Moral of the story is that lash adhesives are tricky and are in fact devilish!! The way we problem solve and provide customer service is what matters! Everyone is in the same boat as you are. It is part of the business.
Hope this helps.....