It’s time to talk about my favorite topic!
You know… the one where I lovvee to get adhesive in your eye while I’m doing your lash extensions….
Ok so I admit I’m really not dumping adhesive in my clients’ eye, but when she feels those dreaded fumes and squints her eyes dramatically and says “I think some glue got in my eye”… At that moment I know I can’t convince her either way because she believes what she wants to believe despite my reassurance and what she believes is that you got glue in her eye and now she is going to go blind.
Let’s be real though! What exactly is causing this fuming or burning that makes the client to think that you are this horrible lash technician that doesn’t know what she is doing? Well let’s talk a little about cyanoacrylate and what it’s capable of.
As you know cyanoacrylate is an acrylic resin, which rapidly polymerizes in the presence of moisture. Polymerization is a chemical reaction in which two or more small molecules combine to form larger molecules that contain repeating structural units of the original molecules. Cyanoacrylate +Moisture= Polymerization.
Fun Fact: Our Cyanoacrylate based adhesives do not contain formaldehyde; however , Formaldehyde is emitted as cyanoacrylate cures or polymerizes.
So now that we understand its role let’s talk about your typical lash workday. You are working on a new client and you are just having a great conversation and you realize you picked up too much adhesive and thought oh no! That’s too much… let me dab off a little bit on this eye pad/tape and then all of a sudden your client stops midway through her conversation “Omg this eye is burning, I think you got glue in my eye!” Before you know it she’s watering into a massive puddle of panic. What do you do? You quickly fan her until she feels comfortable and reassure her that it’s just the fumes from the adhesive and it’s normal to feel a slight bit of discomfort. You continue to lash and continue to dab here and there and because you have reassured your client that everything is ok she doesn’t utter another word. You are now near the end of the appointment and she opens her eyes…they are blood shot red! She looks like she could be ready for a zombie apocalypse! You are a bit concerned especially since this doesn’t happen to every client.. so once again you don’t want her to panic, you reassure her that her eyes may be a little red and that it’s normal and the redness will go away in a little while.
Then you wonder to yourself why her eyes are so red. What happened you ask? Brace yourself….A CHEMICAL REACTION JUST HAPPENED!! But how? Why? I’m a skilled technician there is no way I could have caused a chemical reaction!
It’s ok! We are all guilty of this… but can you guess what caused it???? That’s right…. It was the dabbing of the excess adhesive on the eye pad or tape.
When cyanoacrylate comes into contact with wool or cotton it creates a chemical reaction, this is where heat and fumes are released, causing the burning/ stinging that your client experiences. Not only does this chemical reaction cause discomfort to the eyes but it can also cause discomfort and burning on the skin underneath the tape or eye pad. Now if you couple this with the fumes of formaldehyde emitted during polymerization you are sure to have a hot mess when the client opens her eyes and a possible allergic reaction the next day!
So how do we protect ourselves and the client you ask? As lash technicians it is our duty to educate ourselves for the health and safety of our clients. It is impossible to escape the production of formaldehyde as cyanoacrylate cures; however, we can use our best efforts to do our research on the adhesives we are using and make sure they are quality. Some companies will use lower grades of CA with the use of carbon to counteract the formaldehyde fumes. So you need to ask yourself, Who am I purchasing my adhesive from? Is the price of my adhesive on the lower end? Does it emit fumes that you can smell upon opening? All of these questions are a red flag and can help to assess whether or not you are using a lower grade adhesive. Now that we have educated ourselves on our adhesives it’s time to talk about kicking those bad habits that we develop as we first started lashing! Stop dipping excess adhesive on the eye pad especially if they are not lint free! Not only are you causing added fumes to yourself and your client but you risk compromising your retention since swiping of excess adhesive on a surface prior to placing it on a lash causes the adhesive to start curing upon contact. So before you are tempted to swipe that excess glue think about that client’s voice in your head about how she will forever believe you got glue in her eye and save your reputation because she will never let you live it down!