In order to achieve optimal retention, you need to make sure your product is in proper working condition. Knowing how to prep and dispense your glue is so crucial when it comes to making sure it will provide you with long lasting bonds. It all comes down to what you’re doing with your adhesive drops, and I’m going to share with you exactly what those things are!
A little disclaimer: my best advice is to make any and all adjustments more so based on what you’re seeing your product do rather than a firm guideline. That said, a great rule of thumb is to get a new drop to work with about every 15-20 minutes. This will depend on your environment as well, meaning if your space is more humid, it will need to be refreshed more frequently as your drop is exposed to the moisture in the air and will cause it to cure more quickly. Less often if your space is more dry. So like I said, it’s better to know how to troubleshoot any situation and become really educated on all things adhesive so you can always get it to work perfectly for you!
So before you get to the dispensing part, you’ll wanna make sure your adhesive is thoroughly mixed. Notice I said “mixed” and not “shaken”. The reason that shaking your glue by hand isn't sufficient is because in order to get the best retention out of your adhesive formula, the ingredients need to be THOROUGHLY mixed together. They separate when the bottle is not in use, and shaking it just doesn't cut it when it comes to getting that formula to deliver you a desired viscosity and performance for the best retention. Which is why we highly recommend an adhesive mixer machine. You can snag one here. You’ll wanna mix your adhesive well before you begin your service, anywhere from 20-60 seconds and then again for about 20-30 seconds whenever you feel your drops aren’t looking as good as they were when you started the set. Once you see the difference a mixer machine makes, you’ll understand how an adhesive drop should look.
Speaking of which, when you dispense your drop, you should be seeing and working with a round dome shaped bead. Yes, a bead, not a puddle! This is the desired result of a dispensed drop, because if we see this, we know that it's been mixed really well. It's not puddling out, which would tell us it hasn’t been mixed enough and the ingredients are still separated. Another great way to ensure we’re getting round beads is to dispense your drop onto paper tape. The textured surface allows your product to form that round bead and helps hold it into shape.
Once you have that round dome shaped bead you wanna make sure you’re dipping/scooping your extensions into the middle or the center of the drop. Adhesive starts to cure from the bottom of the drop, where it’s in contact with the surface, and then up and around towards the top. Working from the inside/center will ensure you're using the most fresh portion of the product and not any that’s already begun to cure.
Like I said in the beginning, it’s important to know how to troubleshoot any situation and make adjustments based on what you see your products doing, rather than what someone has told you has to be done. So no matter how long it’s been since your last drop was dispensed, if you’re ever seeing it becoming more tacky or like it’s turning white anywhere, that will be a sure sign that it’s time for a new drop and maybe even another round of mixing.
If you see your adhesive puddle out rather than forming that bead shape, you’ll either need to give it more time on the mixer, dispense it onto something less slick, bring up your humidity level or realize you need a new bottle altogether if none of the above have provided improvement. It’s really difficult to ensure you’re working with fresh product and not any that’s partially cured if you’re picking up from such a thin layer of glue.
Another great practice is to drop some water onto adhesive beads you’re no longer using once you get yourself a fresh drop. This will prevent it from continuing to emit fumes by shock curing the entire drop as a way of detonating it. Plus then you won’t forget which drop is your newest!
So much goes into having great retention, but if your product is not prepped and used properly, you won’t achieve long lasting bonds no matter how secure your attachments seem to be!
Thanks for reading and if you’d like more information on how to get THE BEST retention possible, check out THIS video!