The Evolution of the Lash Extension
Eyelash Extensions are everywhere! Likelihood is if you’ve not had them yourself, you know someone who has. They are even so popular they are becoming less of a special occasion type treatment and more an everyday essential with people prioritising their fortnightly infill appointment over other pampering treats!
We speak to so many people through both the academy and the salon about Lash Extensions and always find it so amazing how such a well known treatment can still have so many conflicting thoughts and opinions surrounding it. From patch testing, to lash types, glues, humidity and the on going ‘Can I get them wet?’ debate! There are so many areas still up for debate we thought this called for a blog post to share our understanding and thoughts on some of these hot topic questions!
Before we delve into the minefield of the modern day Lash Extension treatment, let’s have a look back at the history Lash Extensions…
Interestingly enough the desire for luscious lashes is nothing new. Lash extending techniques can be dated back all the way to the 1800’s, crazy right! As all us women sadly know, as we age we often lose hair where we want it, and gain in other places not too preferable and sadly our lashes are no exception. So often we hear clients say, ‘I used to have such beautiful long lashes, what happened!?’. The women of the 1800’s clearly felt no different and wanted to cling onto their youthful looks no less than we do today. Without all the modern products and research we now have, lets just say their techniques differed quite drastically! From trimming their lashes short to encourage growth, shudder, to using various ointments to encourage growth (think old age RevitaLash) the pursuit of lash-perfection was well and truly cemented. Sadly there are rarely any historic stories without gore and the history of lash extensions is no exception. Reportedly in the late 1800’s the women of Paris went to such extreme lengths that they even implanted lashes via needles and thread into their eyelids!!
The popularity of Eyelash Extensions continued to soar throughout the 1900’s. With Hollywood glamour girls of the 1940’s such as Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth often sporting an overly long, dramatic lash. The 1950’s saw a new generation of lashes that were made out of plastic instead of the previous real hair or fabric. Seemingly this introduction improved the appearance and further increased their popularity, and in the 1960’s we then had icons such as Twiggy whose signature look involved exaggerated lashes.
Like any trends, they come and go. In the 70’s Lash Extensions popularity took a nosedive as a more neutral make-up look became popular. We then had the 80’s
which were all loud bold lip and eye shadow colour and not so much the long lash. Luckily for us the nosedive didn’t last long and thanks to celebs like Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford and Anna Nicole-Smith the big lashes were back in a big way!
Lashes of today
There are always new trends and new treatments in our industry; it’s one of the many reasons why we love it! Over the last 10 years there’s seemingly been a huge development within Lash Extension treatments, especially in the application techniques. From the growing popularity of Russian Volume Lashes (more on that in a bit), to new thoughts on the correct lashing environment the lash industry is continually evolving and it seems at times many have a different opinion.
Classic vs Russian Volume
In recent years the amount of Russian Volume Lashes you see has dramatically increased. Unfortunately we don’t believe that there is enough understanding of the difference between classic lashes and Russian volume, with clients assuming all lashes will look like Russian volume, and also new Therapists training in lashes thinking they can go straight on to do Russian volume lashes.
Classic Lash Extensions are when one individual eyelash extension is glued onto one individual natural lash. This should be the starting point for any new lash technician who wants to train in lashes. Only when you are feeling very competent in classic lashes should you advance onto a Russian Volume course.
Russian Volume requires the Lash Technician to hand-make a fan of lashes in multiples of up to 8. That fan is then applied to the individual natural lash. Depending on the number of lashes in the fan determines if the lashes are 3D, 4D, 5D etc. Many lash manufacturers have started to create pre-made fans however in the lash world these are thought to be far less superior to hand made fans due to the bonding agent they choose to use creating heavy, bulky looking lashes.
Humidity and Water
It is now widely known that the glue used in Lash Extensions is very sensitive to its environment and is cured quicker with high moisture levels (this is one of the reasons why you can’t get lashes wet for 24 hours after application). For the perfect, long wearing bond, you want your glue to have dried as is should over a period of hours. If the glue is dried too fast, it becomes brittle and will break down. If the humidity of the room you work in is not at the right levels for the glue you are using, you’ll struggle with either the following two problems.
Stickies are when two of your lashes stick together during the treatment, a problem that must be rectified before the client leaves to avoid disturbing the natural lash cycle. This will usually mean that your glue is not drying fast enough to keep up with the pace at which you work, usually because your humidity is too low. If this doesn’t seem to be the problem, likelihood is you are using too much glue.
Poor retention As mentioned above, if the glue dries too quickly or gets wet, the glue will go brittle and the lashes will not last in which case, you need to lower the humidity in the room.
Patch testing can be a huge frustration in a Therapist’s life (and sometimes the client’s too) but you only need to Google Eyelash reaction to understand the importance! We spend a lot of time explaining this importance as so often we get clients who are adamant that they don’t need a patch test for various reasons. Regardless of whatever a client says, ALWAYS PATCH TEST!!
Patch testing used to be a quick glue test on the skin very similar to that of a tint test however there are now newer methods thought to be more effective. With the glue being so sensitive to moisture, it is now thought that if someone reacts to eyelash extensions it is from the moisture in their eye that reacts with the glue as technically the glue should never come into contact with the skin. Therefore many manufacturers will now recommend a patch test should involve the application of a few lashes at least 24-48 hours before the treatment. If you are unsure on the best patch testing practice always check with your manufacturer, trainer and insurance company.
This section isn’t exactly a technicality regarding lash application, but none the less its super important! I always liken Lash Extensions being similar to learning to use chopsticks. At the beginning it is super fiddly and at times, massively frustrating. Like everything it takes time to practice and perfect the skills, and making sure you don’t run before you can walk will make you a much better lash technician.
Our VTCT Level 3 Award in Lash Extensions course at Omni teaches all the basic fundamentals of the lash treatment from health and safety, consultation, lash types and lash application. This course will not only give you a fundamental understanding of the treatment and skills to allow you to go away and practice (and practice, and then practice some more), but upon successful completion of your home study, case studies and assessments, you will gain a nationally recognised qualification.
Developing your skills!
Upon completion of your qualification, you will need to continue doing building your experience with clients. Once you are feeling confident in your individual extension skills there are so many advanced techniques you can learn, from advanced classic lashing techniques through to Russian Volume techniques. Not only does this expand your treatment services and cater to more clients, it can also become very lucrative with some London salons charging over £120 for Volume Lashes!
The best way to learn is a hands-on workshop (something we hope to offer very soon…watch this space), but there are also lots of professional Facebook groups and websites that have super informative tutorials.
We hope you have enjoyed reading and that this has been an insightful post for any current or aspiring Lash Technicians.
For more information on the VTCT Level 3 Award in Lash Extensions course with Omni, please follow the link https://www.omniacademyofbeauty.co.uk/product/lash-extensions/