Adhesive is literally the glue that holds our businesses together as lash artists. If you're not able to get any glue to work perfectly for you in any environment, you need to make some adjustments and be on the lookout for a higher quality product. As an advanced lash artist and supply brand owner, I've put together this list to give you great lash adhesive tips and retention! Okay, let's get into it...
Are you dispensing your fully mixed adhesive onto paper tape yet?
If not, you definitely should!! The reason being is, the texture of the rough surface allows your product to form that round bead that we need. Are you aware that your drop needs to be in a specific form? What I mean is, when you drop a bead of adhesive onto your work surface, you should be seeing a perfect, round dome shape. A bead, not a puddle! This is the optimal result of a dispensed drop, because we know that it's been shaken really well if we're seeing that, it's not puddling out, which would tell us it's not been mixed thoroughly, meaning those ingredients are still separated. The formula of a great adhesive is what gives you proper results, not the ingredients individually. THEY MUST BE MIXED! WELL!! That's why I always recommend an Adhesive Mixer Machine, it can do a far better job of mixing your ingredients than you can do by hand, in mere seconds!
Also, when we're dipping our extensions into that dome shape, we pull from the middle or the center of the drop. The adhesive starts to cure from the bottom up and around towards the top, so working from the inside/center will ensure you're using the most fresh portion of the product. So no matter how long or short you're shaking/mixing your adhesives for, just make sure you're seeing that firm round shape when it's dropped.
Feeling like your adhesive is curing too quickly or too slowly?
There are ways to adjust this no matter what your environment is like. Yes, any environment can produce any result you want, if you know how to work with your product. If your adhesive is drying too slowly for you, up the humidity in your room and/or use less glue. Cyanoacrylate (the main ingredient in our lash adhesives) cures in the presence of hydrogen, so the more hydrogen present, the quicker it'll cure. If it's drying too quickly for you, use a dehumidifier and/or use more adhesive to slow down the curing process, which gives you more time to work with it. If your adhesive is looking tacky, that means it's curing, so you'd want to get a fresh drop well before you're seeing any stringiness, or make sure your humidity level is lowered. Direct AC can affect this too. Make sure you're always screwing your cap on tightly after opening it, we wouldn't want the product to start curing from inside the bottle by leaving it open and exposed. Our adhesive containers are the perfect storage solution, super dark, foam inserts keep your bottles upright, airtight and they even come with a little hole to put your brushes in so they aren't rolling off your workspace during the service!
Wondering about your adhesive's shelf life?
Did you know that "4-5 weeks" is a general guideline for your adhesive's shelf life? If it's being mixed properly and it forms a firm, round bead on micropore paper tape at 5 or more weeks, by all means, use it! It really just depends on how often the bottle is open and exposed to the moisture in the air, which could start to cure the adhesive inside the bottle. So if you aren't using it very often, that should definitely help to prolong it's shelf life! Before I brought Clearly Luxe to market, I was testing and using it in my 16% humidity level studio and used the same bottle for about 7 weeks!! I was working more on the business than tending to a full clientele, so it wasn't being used as often as it would be if I had my books full. Bottom line is, there weren't any signs of it going bad, so there was no reason to toss it. It was still working great and forming that firm round bead, so I kept using it! Always have a back up though, in case it declines on you suddenly! It's so important that your glue is fresh, so it's always better to be safe than sorry, which is why I recommend setting yourself up on our subscription plan, so you're always set with new adhesive at whatever time increment you choose, without even having to place your order!
If you like having a back up bottle on hand and want to keep it stored in the fridge, I recommend only doing so for a few months just to MAKE SURE it's still great, but you can get away with up to 6 months! Once you bring it out of the fridge, you'll want to let it sit in your regular storage container for 24 hours before using it.
Not as sure when to get a new drop of Clearly Luxe as you are when you're working with a multi ingredient black adhesive?
Working with a clear formula can definitely be an adjustment, for sure. You may not be able to see the adhesive curing as well as you do with black, but you will start to see that it's becoming more white or it's starting to become tacky, and that's how you'll know it's no longer a good drop. Either way, dispense a new bead every 20 minutes or so to make sure you're always working with fresh product!
Extensions popping off rather than riding it out with the natural lash until it sheds?
This can be for a multitude of reasons, but when I hear this while working with Clearly Luxe, especially if you're new to the clear scene, I first think it could be from how quickly it can dry, depending on your environment. Really this is with any adhesive, but clears have a tendency to dry more quickly. If you're not working fast enough, the adhesive may be curing before it can make contact or really connect and bond with the natural lash. Also, because it's not black, you may be underestimating the fact that you need to really take your time and watch to ensure the contact is being made and that the lash and the extension are well connected. And if you ever find yourself needing to use more adhesive, definitely do it! As long as we're not globbing it on or having issues with stickies, use more glue, I mean... it's literally what holds the extensions to the natural lash! Very often, new "clear users" aren't using as much adhesive as they need to because they aren't used to what they're seeing when picking up. With any adhesive though, use as much as you can get away with, without getting stickies. If you use too much, the lashes will stick, so that's how you'll know you've got the right amount. Okay, I'm rambling, but this is so important! Just think, enough glue, great bonds, the correct attachments, and clean lashes... you should have great retention!
Wondering how you should store your adhesive?
Honestly, I've never stored mine in the refridgerator. I've heard great things about it, but I've never found it super necessary myself. If you're going to, just make sure you're only doing so BEFORE you open it. Once you open the bottle, having it in too cold of a space can run the risk of causing condensation inside the bottle, and as we know, hydrogen cures adhesive. The main thing is, you want to ensure the bottles are kept in a cooler, more dry space, just to guarantee you're keeping it fresh and away from direct light or heat. Some people do this with rice in a jar, but I recommend a storage container like the one we sell. Here's the main points of storage... your bottles should be upright to prevent clogging in the nozzle, the lids need to be screwed on tightly, they shouldn't be exposed to warmth or a hot environment, and darkness helps as well! Oh, and for when you run into glue mess issues, grab one of our Adhesive Emergency Kits in the shop! They come with two replacement caps, two extra nozzles and two pins to poke through any build up!
Primers and sealants, yes or no?
That's a decision that’s totally up to you, but as you can probably guess, my philosophy is "less is more" and I like to keep it to the basics. I have never considered either product when giving my advice for lash adhesive tips and retention. Great retention comes from proper and thorough prep of the lash line, strong connections to the natural lash and excellent aftercare. I personally believe that if your lashes are washed and rinsed really well before the service, that’s all you need for the adhesive to adhere perfectly to the lash. Our adhesives cure in the presence of hydrogen, (moisture) so introducing water to the lashes from washing them beforehand, will only help the curing process, which will create a really strong bond. Primers are alcohol based, which is drying and not hydrating. Doesn’t really make sense to me to use it, but some people love it and if so, that’s great too! As for sealants, I’ve never tried them and never really felt the need to. I always go back to the simple things that create great retention and amazing results and that’s good enough for me!
Overall, my best advice, and what seriously made my days lashing so much better, is when I finally took control of my product. I left all the "firm guidelines" from lash brands behind and started to ADJUST ACCORDINGLY. For example, I stopped shaking my bottle "for 30 seconds" as I was always told. When my adhesive wasn't looking it's best, I shook for longer, sometimes less, sometimes more, whatever it told me it needed by what I was seeing in front of me. I just started to take notice of what I was experiencing and used my troubleshooting knowledge differently in every situation. My adhesives will work in ANY environment you guys, I'm telling you. I've seen Clearly Luxe perform in the lowest and highest of ranges and everything in between, because it's really up to us and how we use it to ensure that it does. We are what makes us Masters at our craft, not our products.
xo, Jess Brandler