Hey, let's talk about allergic reactions!
When I first started out in the lash industry, I was super freaked out about allergies. I mean, there are so many different things to consider - how do you even recognise an allergic reaction? What should you do if a client has one? And what if they still want lashes after having a reaction?
One of the most surprising things about lash allergies is that your regular clients are often the most susceptible. This is because the main component of lash glue is cyanoacrylate, which is the ingredient that many people are allergic to. In fact, one in twenty people will be allergic to the black pigment in the lash glue, carbon black. In such cases, a clear glue might be a better option, although this should only be used on clients you know well, such as friends and family members, due to liability issues. An allergy to cyanoacrylate is an accumulative allergy, which means that the body builds up resistance over time. Therefore, a client who has been coming to you for years with no issues can suddenly develop a reaction.
New clients are also at risk of developing an allergy. Everyone has different sensitivities, and it's essential to communicate with clients about this. At our salon, we make sure that every client signs a consultation form acknowledging that anyone can have a reaction at any time.
What about patch testing?
his is a real tricky one in the lash extension industry! It's not enforced the same way as with tinting treatments, for example. Back in the day, insurance companies used to tell us to patch test by putting glue behind the client's ear. But we know now that's totally ineffective and unsafe because the glue should never touch the skin. Plus, the reaction can actually be triggered by the fumes, not the glue. Oh, and lash glue generates heat - it's exothermic - so that's yet another reason not to put it on someone's skin!
So how should you patch test? One method is to apply a few lashes (usually 8mm classics) to each outer corner of the eyes and go from there. However, this method often doesn't trigger a reaction, sadly. Lashing a few lashes is nowhere near enough exposure to cause a reaction. In rare cases, clients may be so sensitive that even a small amount of glue causes a reaction. However, it's not guaranteed.
The good news is that insurance companies are starting to listen to us, and there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to patch testing. In our salon, we don't patch test, but we give clients the option if they want to. We also make them sign a waiver to acknowledge the risks and ensure that they are happy to proceed. Ultimately, whether you patch test or not is a personal decision, but it's important to be informed and transparent with your clients.
In conclusion allergic reactions can be a daunting aspect of the lash industry, but with the right knowledge and precautions, you can manage them effectively. Remember to communicate with your clients about the risks and provide them with the necessary information to make informed decisions. By doing so, you can continue to create beautiful lash extensions while prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of your clients.