July 2012

Lisa Kind - Editor

Esthetic Endeavors | by Judith Culp


The Year of the Lashes

This is the year of lashes and makeup artists need to know it all.

Whether it is lash extensions, semi-permanent mascara or customized strip lash application there is money to be made and clientele to be built with a focus on eyelashes.

Back in school you may have learned about application of individual, cluster and strip lashes; now we are seeing the re-emergence of both upper and lower strip waxes as well as a diversity of mixes based on whatever is better to enhance the client's eyes.

Lash extensions add length to individual lashes. They can create lush, full sooty lashes, but you can only attach a lash to an existing lash. This takes patience and skill to learn, but the money can be well worth it.

We have already seen instances where this one additional skill was enough to clinch a good job. There are numerous different brands out there and there is a variation in the teaching style of each.

I think it is more a difference between what is taught and the support than the product that is sold. Yes there is some variance in the products, but this does not necessarily mean that one is better. It is rather matching the skill level of the technician and the needs and challenges of the specific client.

A client with very curly lashes or those that grow crisscrossed may need a slower drying glue to allow the technician more control. Also, lashes come in different curve patterns and the technician must match what the client has to the shape of the lashes she has available. Slow drying glues work better for some clients and fast drying glues work better for others. It's all a matter of learning to match.

There are also a variety of lash thicknesses and lengths and it is critical to correctly match these to the lashes the client has. If you select too long a lash it can weigh down the client's lash and even result in breakage. Too long or too heavy a lash can cause fine lashes to cross and lay down, unable to support the extra weight.

If lashes are very straight and a curly lash is applied it will be difficult to obtain a good seal along the full length of the lash. Just the right amount of curve must be chosen.

Lashes may be artificial or of natural fiber. Choosing the right one will depend on client sensitivities, personal preferences, and budget... Mink anyone????

If the client has less than lush lashes, then extensions can give length to what is there, but does not fill them in. Thickening can be done by adding clusters or applying strip lashes on top of the extensions.

If clients are wearing lash extensions and want to add permanent eyeliner, they should do this before having a set of extensions applied or when it is time to do full replacement. All lash extensions should be removed before eyeliner is applied. This is an infection control issue. The extensions should not be reapplied until after the eyeliner follow-up procedure is completed and is completely healed. Special care should be exerted to make sure the eyelashes and eyeliner area are absolutely clean before any application procedure is done.

Semi-permanent mascara is a product that is applied carefully to individual lashes to thicken and lengthen them. This requires training and a great deal of care to keep lashes from clumping together which can cause lash strain and potential breakage.

The hair industry saw this same issue when hair extensions were applied. If the strain is too much, breakage occurs. Again scrupulous cleaning is paramount to quality success. The product must be completely removed before re-applying.

With any of these techniques the client must be properly educated so that they maintain the lovely effect and don't degrade them by improper use of cleansers, makeup removers or makeup products. Oils break down adhesives. Classical oil based products shorten the life of lash enhancers. Product selection and client education for home care are very important.

Strip lashes have been my new surprise of the season. While we used to apply one strip, now the trend is to layer and mix two, three or even more for a superb effect that makes the viewer wonder can those really be her lashes. The technique avoids the "patterns" that are typical in strip lashes.

Whether you are a minimalist or go for all out Gaga Glamour, layer those lashes. Strip lashes are being applied regardless of other lash enhancements the client may be wearing. Most people are familiar with the feathery, flirty and drama lashes that have been with us since the 60s, but lashes are now in full color, swoopy, with glitter and an array of exotic that is so fun it boggles the mind.

The diversity will please clients of all ages and personalities. For your clients having your professional assistance to apply false lashes is a real boon. Be sure to have your camera ready – she will feel so flirty in her new lashes you will want to be sure to catch it in a photo that you can use for promotion.

Judith Culp, has been in the esthetics industry since 1980. She is the owner of NW Institute of Esthetics, Inc. and contributing editor for Miladys Standard Esthetics: Advanced and lead author of Esthetician's Guide to Client Safety & Wellness. For more information visit www.estheticsnw.com.