5 biggest lash retention issues and how to solve them.
Is it YOU or is it your client?! It doesn’t matter if you are a newly qualified lash artist or an experienced lash pro, bad lash retention will affect us all at some point in our careers. And that’s ok! All we need to do is take a deep breath, treat it as a learning curve and not hide away when it happens.
I know! Your heart literally drops when a client rings or a screaming message lands on your phone - “Aaaaa, help! All my lashes have fallen out and I have done nothing different!” I have had them during my lash career as well.
Now, messages like this make us feel uncomfortable and make us second guess our ability to do lashes. You want to pack up your tools, shut the salon, go home, cry and eat ice cream. But, your business and reputation rely heavily on how well your clients lashes last, so let’s deal with it, learn from it and fix it! Happy clients=more clients=happy us!
So, is it you or is it them?
Well, It can be a juicy mixture of both.
Now, firstly when we are saying bad retention? What does that even mean to you? Is it 2 days, a week, 2 weeks? 4 weeks?
Rule of thumb is that, to consider a treatment as an infill, clients need to have at least 50% of lashes left. So how do you measure that? Count the lashes? Who the hell has time for that?! If lash extensions have been applied properly, using quality products, and your clients are good with aftercare, lash extensions should last properly until their next infill appointment. Whether that is 2 weeks, 3 weeks or 4. Here we are talking about a situation, when lashes start falling out within a few days or a week after walking out of your salon. If that happens, sorry doll, its on you!
Let’s look at the top 5 biggest bad retention causers, how to avoid them and how to fix them.
Lash prep already starts before your clients walk in through the door.
What you can do to help? Just say to your client- please arrive on time and preferably without any makeup! And I mean …. ANY MAKEUP! Awful I know, but hear me out. If they arrive with makeup, especially eye makeup, it will waste your precious time to take it off. You can use as many eye makeup removers, lash shampoos etc you want, but there will be some residue left. FACT! If there’s residue, there’s a barrier. If there’s a barrier, lash extensions won’t bond properly to the natural lash. Now, I am not saying that you should start lashing as soon as a client walks through your door, but arriving on time, especially without eye makeup, will save you lots of time.
Steps to follow for perfect prep-
- Clean around clients' eyes with oil-free makeup remover or lash shampoo. Rinse properly to get all the product off. Dry thoroughly with a lint-free towel, pat dry with a paper towel or dry with a lash fan.
- Place pads, tape etc
- Prime the lashes with a suitable primer. I personally believe in primers and look at it as having your nails done. A clean and properly prepped surface will make your lashes last longer.
- Try not to use too many pre-treatment products. Because the more you use, the higher the risk of buildup and the products could actually start working against each other.
Lash adhesive - the dreaded subject! If you are swapping and changing your adhesive brand every few weeks hoping for better retention, and clients' lashes are still falling out left, right and centre….I got some bad news for you. It’s not the adhesive, It’s most likely you.
Let’s take it back to basics.
- Use an adhesive that’s right for your experience and speed. There’s no need to go for a faster adhesive if you can’t actually work that fast. Knowing what the seconds on the bottles mean help. If the adhesive speed is 1-2 seconds, it doesn’t mean it cures in 1-2 seconds when it hits the natural lash. It means that you have 1-2 seconds to get the extension from glue to the natural lash. The faster the adhesive, the faster you need to be. The client's natural lash needs to be isolated before you dip the lash in adhesive.
- Date it. When you first open your adhesive, write an opening date on it. Then you know exactly when to open a new one. I would recommend 4 weeks of use and then opening a new bottle. The more you open it, more oxygen gets in and that can weaken the adhesive and also the bond.
- Change your adhesive dots often. How quickly your adhesive dot dries depends on humidity and temperature in your treatment room (humidity 45-55% and temperature 21ºC-23ºC are great!), the surface it’s placed on (foil, tape, jade stone, glue ring etc) and where it’s placed. If you are keeping it underneath your light it will definitely dry faster. Sitting next to a heater will have the same effect. Keeping all these points in mind, and following them religiously should definitely minimise the retention issue.
- Store your adhesive properly. Keep it in a dry and cool place, away from sunlight and in an upright position.
- Shake your adhesive properly and long enough. All the ingredients in the bottle need to be mixed properly every single time you change your dot. When you open it for the first time, shake it for at least 1-2 minutes and I would recommend doing that at the start of each lash day as well. Between adhesive dots, 20-30 seconds should be enough.
- Using enough adhesive. Don’t be scared to use more if you need to. Learn how to use enough for the retention to improve but not to stress out or cause heaviness to the client's natural lash. Sometimes, using a tiny bit more adhesive is all you need to improve your client's retention dramatically.
Shop our range of Professional Lash Adhesives here.
Education- never stop learning!
Especially if you are a new lash artist or just looking to train in lashes, do your research about the courses first. Make sure whoever you pick to start your lash career with, is a professional and experienced trainer, as they will be the ones who are going to lay the foundation for you. At your first lash course, it will be impossible to remember everything. The amount of knowledge you’ll receive will be overwhelming. But actually doing lashes, seeing multiple types of clients and running into different problems, will make you grow as a lash artist.
Wrong length or curl lash extensions have been used & poor application - know your client's lashes and follow the correct application.
Doing a pre-treatment consultation when you are doing a patch test is yes time-consuming, but will actually help you so much at the actual appointment. You have already seen the lashes, photos of what they are expecting and have all the information you need to just crack on when your client arrives at their booked appointment. Educate your clients straight away if the lashes they are wanting are way too long, thick or the shape won’t suit them. Then they know what to expect and things will run more smoothly. Talk politely, be smiley and act like you know everything about lashes. Even if you are just a beginner. That’s why booking a trustworthy lash course with experienced educators is so important, as you will leave confident and ready to tackle the lash world.
What you must/must not do:
- Know the lengths, curls and styles that are suitable for different clients. Lash extensions that are too long or thick can cause trauma to the client's natural lash making it fall out prematurely causing bold patches.
- Don’t swipe the lash extension coated with adhesive up and down the natural lash as it will dry it, which will cause lashes to fall out way quicker.
- Don’t swipe extra adhesive to the pads. Learn and practice how much you need.
- Always isolate the natural lash before dipping the extension in the adhesive.
- Lift natural lashes with tape off the pads to have a clear vision of what you are doing.
- Don’t just drop the extensions on the natural lashes! Make sure the bases are properly and securely attached. If the bases are loose, extensions will just pop off even when gently brushing. Practice the placement and it will become second nature.
- Don’t just lash natural lashes in their mature stage (telogen). These are lashes that are at the end of their growth cycle and will fall off very, very soon. Try to give your clients full 100% coverage, as that’s what they are paying for.
Aftercare - educate your clients!
Don’t be scared to sound like a broken record when you are going through aftercare with them again and again. There’s no need to get stressed out and talk about your dirty lash clients to your colleagues or put it all over Instagram. It’s the wrong audience and this won’t make any difference or make your life any easier. Except for the quick stress relief of getting it out of your system. To sort the situation you just need to tell your client, or even better, demonstrate.
- Talk about it in a calm and firm way. Explain that if they don’t follow aftercare given by you, the lash appointment will be cut shorter as you are spending time removing their mascara, strip lash glue or god knows what they put in their lashes/around their eyes.
- Have little aftercare cards made with all the main points that they can refer to and have them on your social media pages, website etc so it's easy to find and accessible at all times. That’s your and your clients issue. Your clients need to follow the after care but you need to educate them! Recommend products to use, show how to wash the lashes etc don’t be afraid to sound like a broken record.
- Recommend different oil-free products. Have a list of products they definitely shouldn’t use.
- Have a conversation with your clients about their skincare routine, lifestyle, medication etc so you can tackle any retention issues faster. Explain how they can all cause retention issues. The more your clients know, the easier it is for them to make sure that they are doing everything they are supposed to.
When you get a call from your client, that their lashes have all fallen out, firstly don’t panic. Take a deep breath and try to get to the bottom of the problem. Do your best not to take the complaint personally. Keep your emotions separate and work with your client to rectify the issue. How fast and efficiently you deal with this matters!
Love you, bye!
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