Written by Tanvi Patel
Most lash techs use a primer while some use a lash shampoo. If you’re using a primer, you may not realize that this is resulting in retention problems for your clients!
Primers contain small amount of alcohol which are ideal for “sanitizing” the lashes so they can be squeaky clean for the lash application. This includes the removal of natural oils, microbes and/ or makeup residue. However, this alcohol also dries up the lashes, which isn’t the best condition for the extensions to bond.
If you remember how the glue works, this should makes sense. Your lash glue needs moisture to cure/ polymerize. The drier the environment, the longer it takes for the glue to dry, while the wetter the environment, the quicker it dries. If the extension hasn’t formed a strong bond with the lashes due to lack of moisture, it’s going to fall off faster. Too much water is not good! This can lead to shock polymerization. We can talk about that in another article!
My personal preference is to wash and rinse the lashes before I start applying eyelash extensions, using a proper lash foam shampoo. I do this before starting a new set or before a refill. This ensures the lashes and lash line are completely clean without drying them too much. Of course you still need to dry the lashes with a fan or air blower after the wash step, but this doesn't over dry them.
Yes, it takes away 10 minutes from the actual appointment but 99% of my clients actually prefer this added on service. I personally don’t charge for this but it’s still extra time spent so this is certainly something to consider. The 1% who don't prefer it are ones that I feel have a minor case of phobia of either drowning or dark space. They usually close their eyes so shut because they think the shampoo or water will enter their eyes and has a tendency to open their eyes during the application.
Now, it’s not entirely bad to use a primer either; just use it sparingly and only in certain circumstances. In fact, clients with oily skin are the best candidates for a primer. Just make sure you’re keeping track of their retention (e.g., how often are they returning for a refill?). I would also try using a primer on clients with normal skin type if washing the lashes isn’t making a difference to their retention. Although a combination of shampoo and primer isn’t required, you can definitely try this method on a client who just can’t seem to retain their extensions. But don’t do this just for the sake of doing it!
At the end of the day your main goal shouldn’t be preventing the lashes from drying out, it should be making sure they’re clean before starting an application. Understanding whether a primer is essential or not should be determined by your client’s retention and this will vary per client. It’s definitely not a must have product but can be useful in handling cases like this.