Working with eyelash extensions is fantastic, we know. Which lash artist doesn't love it when the client looks in the mirror and screeches with joy? It just makes our day, and it's so gratifying boosting people's self-esteem.
But like any profession, not everything is perfect. And in this blog, we're going to talk about one of the most tricky situations an eyelash artist can face: eyelash extensions allergies. Fortunately, they are not that common, but you will most definitely face this situation during your journey as a lash artist. It's essential to be prepared to deal with reactions and help your clients in the safest way possible (for you and them).
The Difference between Eyelash Extension Allergy and Irritation
Before understanding how to deal with an allergy, it's crucial to know the signs of an allergic reaction. It’s important to differentiate between the different types of eyelash extension allergy and irritation that may affect your clients. That way, you will make the best judgment call to ensure your client's safety.
Many customers associate eyelash extension reactions with an allergy, but this is not always the case. It can often be a simple irritation, especially if there’s discomfort right after applying the lashes. After all, intense work was carried out on the eyes for a considerable length of time with the eyes closed. While an irritation will subside in a few hours, an allergic response worsens over time. So, let's discuss the symptoms of eyelash extension allergies and irritations.
Symptoms of an Irritation Due to Eyelash Extensions
Irritation symptoms are less severe than allergy symptoms. They usually disappear within the first few hours after the end of the procedure. The most common include:
- Watery eyes
IMPORTANT: these symptoms may also appear if the client is experiencing seasonal allergies! Make sure to discuss this with your client when talking through their aftercare routine.
Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction
The most common include:
- Swollen eyes/eyelids
- Redness of the cornea
- Itchiness or discomfort around the eye area
Does Your Client Definitely Have an Allergy?
Ok, so if you’ve noticed your client has developed an allergy to eyelash extensions, you should be able to give them the best direction possible. Suppose your client is experiencing discomfort, irritation, redness, and swelling that is severe and/or persists for more than 48 hours. In that case, you should advise them to seek medical attention.
As an eyelash artist, you can advise on how to alleviate the irritation. Yet, it’s best not to provide medical advice when it comes to allergies. Their doctor will probably advise them to remove the extensions, which needs to be done.
Some clients will want to persevere with the extensions even after they have a reaction. This can happen because, over time, people can develop an intolerance to one of the ingredients present in the eyelash glue or a product used during the application process. Dedicated lash clients who love their extensions will not give up on having them applied easily, even after a reaction.
Some clients may insist on doing extensions until they figure out for themselves what is causing the allergy and then change the ingredient (if possible). The decision to continue with this client is entirely yours, but if you decide to continue, remember to ask them to sign a waiver.
In your waiver, you should include that the client consents to continue wearing eyelash extensions contrary to medical advice. Make it clear in the document that they are aware of the risk, and it is their choice entirely. After all, you must protect yourself and your business.
How to Avoid Eyelash Extension Allergy
1. Have a Client Consult Before the Appointment
A client consultation should be your first step when interacting with a client, especially a new one, as it’s the best opportunity to ask necessary questions regarding their experiences with lash extensions. During this time, this is where you can ask if they have had any reactions to lashes in the past, what they experienced and if it had happened recently. This way, you know before starting if the client will be prone to reacting to your lashes.
2. Conduct a Patch Test and use an Anti-Allergy Gel
Although it is a good strategy to do a patch test before starting the eyelash extensions, it's not 100% guaranteed that the client will not develop an allergy. With this test, you can eliminate an allergic reaction to the pads and tapes. There is also a big difference between applying a few extensions and a full set of extensions. Also, as we said before, people can develop an allergy to eyelash extensions over time. They could be getting eyelashes for years and then suddenly develop an allergy. This is not a rare occurrence.
Most client’s allergic reactions to eyelash extensions are actually allergic to the glue used. Therefore, a good alternative is to use an anti-allergy gel. This gel-type captures the fume (and Cyanoacrylate) in this jelly-like jar before reaching the eyes and nostrils.
3. Stock Sensitive Lash Extension Glues
Sensitive lash extension glues contain much less Cyanoacrylate than flash lash glues. Yes, they may not give you the most prolonged retention, but they can be effective for clients with sensitive eyes, but there is no guarantee they won't still react.
4. Wash the Lashes Straightaway
A good strategy is to wash the lashes straight away after doing the extensions. Some lash artists argue that this can help with allergies. It's worth trying, right? Lucky for you, we have the perfect buddy to help you with that: our Cleanser Foaming Pump! It can be used before the lash application for the optimal eyelash base OR after application as a gentle yet effective cleanser to prevent damage and extend extensions' lifespan! Amazing, right?
5. Have a Flexible Refund Policy
Last but not least, remember to have a good refund policy to protect yourself in cases like this. Whether you choose to have a strict ‘No Refund’ policy or a more flexible policy for those with allergies is up to you. Still, it's essential to ensure it is in place, and clients have seen it before you have anyone appearing with a reaction. Irritations and allergies will occur, but regardless of that, you still spend time doing lashes, so don't feel guilty if something outside your control happens.
With these tips in mind you will be able to work every day with confidence.