How does the environment affect lash glue, and how to control it?
The cyanoacrylate curing process depends on these outside factors:
- relative air humidity (RH for short)
- products used during the treatment
- the pH of natural lashes
We say “relative air humidity” because humidity is always measured with air temperature, and air can hold a different amount of moisture depending on the temperature. Hot air holds more moisture than cold air. This means that if you take two cups of air with 50%rH in them, one at 100°F and another at 70°F, and cool them down, the actual amount of water you get is higher in the first cup than in the second cup.
It’s essential to fully understand this concept to understand why your adhesive behaves differently in different temperatures and humidity.
Watch this video for further explanation:
Another important aspect of temperature and humidity is that warm air travels up in any room. This means that when you turn on a heater and the room starts to heat up, warmer air takes moisture. This means that the RH in your immediate working environment will drop, making your adhesive cure slower. If the adhesive starts to cure too slowly, turn on a humidifier.
I highly recommend investing in a good hygrometer – a gadget that tells you your room temperature and relative humidity. Buying a good one is essential because the cheaper ones can give wildly inaccurate readings and therefore be confusing. You wouldn’t know how much the reading is off, so if your adhesive is not behaving as it should, you would have no idea what’s wrong.
Gadgets to control lash room microclimate:
- Humidifier: adds moisture to the air to increase air humidity (RH)
- Dehumidifier: pulls moisture from the air to decrease air humidity (RH)
- Hygrometer: gives temperature and RH readings
- A/C (aircon): lowers air temperature and humidity (RH)
- Heater: increases air temperature and reduces humidity (RH)
What’s the best lash glue?
Most lash artists tend to pick a lash adhesive that sets as fast as possible to work as fast as possible. This was the best course of action until I introduced a new concept to the lash world called “controlling your lash adhesive with boosters.” Boosters are different liquids that affect cyanoacrylate’s curing.
Before boosters, the only option to control lash adhesive curing was to control the environment (temperature and humidity).
When choosing a lash adhesive, I recommend determining whether your room conditions are stable or fluctuate a lot.
Is your room on the dry or humid side? (the split is from 40% RH. Anything under that is considered dry, and anything above that is damp) Look for an adhesive that is recommended to be used in that humidity range.
Everyone’s room conditions and technique is different, so there is no point in asking other lash artists for their glue recommendations. Instead, study this manual and make an educated decision yourself. If you understand the physics and chemistry of lash adhesives, you can get great retention out of almost any glue!
The problems with controlling lash adhesive by controlling the environment are:
- Changing temperature or humidity takes too long. The exact time depends on how powerful your heater/humidifier is, how large the room is, and how many degrees you need to change.
- The environment depends on and changes because of things that are out of your control: outside temperature, amount of direct sunlight, temperature fluctuations throughout the day caused by the presence of people (people’s body temperature and the air they breathe out changes the environment in the room)
- You are unable to tailor your lash glue needs to specific customers.
I wanted to give lash artists more control over the adhesives they were working with, so the idea for different boosters was born. Understanding boosters and manipulating lash glue with boosters is paramount to getting the best retention out of any lash adhesive.
What can you do with different boosters?
Today you have the possibility to:
- speed up adhesive curing speed
- stop the adhesive from crawling up lash fans and closing them
- wrap extensions around the natural lash for maximum retention
- close the adhesive surface after the treatment to prevent fumes and irritation
- shrink adhesive bond to create better retention
To be able to work with boosters, you need to have a lash adhesive that does NOT set super fast by itself because most boosters speed it up more or less.
Which boosters should I use for the best retention?
When our first innovative booster Superbonder became the No1 most talked about product in the lash industry, many companies started trying to copy what it does. So from the name Superbonder, our industry started calling all lash glue sealers "bonders."
However, "bonders" chemical compositions differ significantly from our Superbonder. So is their effect on lash adhesive very different? When choosing between other boosters, it's essential to know that and make an educated decision based on what you want to achieve with the booster!
It's crucial to understand how your lash glue works before you start adding any boosters to it:
When you know which effect you want to add to your lash glue, then you can find out the products you need like this:
Why lash fans close?
Please read our dedicated article on Why Lash Fans Close and How to Prevent It?
To combat this annoying situation, we devised the idea of Glue Stop.
It’s a product that speeds up adhesive curing time by just a little bit and prevents lash adhesive from traveling further and closing your fans.
We recommend using Glue Stop when you are happy with how your adhesive is curing but want to avoid lash fans from closing.
Glue Stop works with all lash adhesives.
My key points for achieving maximum retention
- Ensure lashes are as clean as possible so that adhesive does not adhere to makeup residue or sebum. Customers' lashes must be washed thoroughly before the treatment, + excess sebum must be removed to achieve this. Leaving makeup residue/sebum on the natural lashes will reduce retention, even if it looks like customers' eyes are clean enough and don't need shampooing.
- Avoid using alcohol-based products.
- Create a wider surface for the lash adhesive to grab onto. Open lash cuticles with a primer for this. Wider surface = increased retention
- Use an adhesive with a flexible curing speed to speed up according to your needs.
- Pick up glue in a bubble shape.
- Wrap as many volume fans as possible.
- Shrink the glue bond after you finish.
The correct way of applying extensions is to ensure that the extension base (s) is glued to the natural lash. If you place extensions incorrectly and glue them from the middle part instead of the base, the base will start poking into your customer's eyelid and irritate. It will also provide low retention compared to the correct placement.
The longer the bonding point between the natural lash and extensions, the better the retention.
Which glue pick up method creates the best retention?
Depending on what you want to achieve, there are several ways to pick up the lash adhesive. You can pick up:
- Even a thin layer of adhesive by slowly dipping lashes into the glue dot
- Small bubble (droplet) of adhesive at the base of extensions using the scooping (also known as stabbing) technique. The faster you pull the extensions out of the glue dot, the bigger the glue bubble you get
- Multiple bubbles of glue. This can happen if lash glue has gone off and become too thick or if you pull lashes out of the glue dot too fast. The amount needs to be bigger and should be reconsidered.
Since air humidity cures glue from the outside, it cures a thin layer faster than a bubble. This is why I recommend picking up a bubble of glue instead of an even-thin layer. Like this, you can have the glue as fresh as possible when it touches natural lashes. The bubble will burst upon contact, and the fresh glue will create maximum retention by the laws of physics explained earlier in this post.
PRO TIP for best retention:
- Always use the freshest middle part of the glue
- Pick up a bubble of glue at the base of the extension(s)
Fresh glue provides the best retention, so work with fresh glue. The glue needs to be fresh:
- Inside the glue bottle
- As the glue dot where you dip extensions
- Upon contact with natural lashes
When should I renew my glue dot for maximum retention?
The first drops from a just-opened lash adhesive are of higher quality than the last. Therefore, the quality of a fresh glue dot on your lash plate is also higher than its quality after 20 minutes. This is why it’s recommended to get a new glue dot after 20-30mins.
How often should I change my lash glue bottle?
The lash adhesive stays fresh in the glue bottle for about one month. After that, it has degraded so much that it will impact retention. Degradation happens because every time you dispense a glue dot, a tiny bit of air enters the bottle and neutralizes the stabilizers that keep it liquid. When stabilizers are neutralized, adhesive starts curing faster – that’s why adhesives that have just been opened always cure a little slower than after a few weeks of use.
Degraded glue does not provide excellent retention, so getting a fresh bottle of glue once a month is recommended.
Lash wrapping (also known as “locking”) is a volume lash technique where the bases of extensions are wrapped around the natural lash instead of laying flat like with classic lashes. Encapsulating the natural lash inside the volume fans creates superior retention to classic placement.
So to achieve maximum retention, you should always wrap as many fans as possible. It’s not an easy task. Most new lash artists find it even more difficult than creating volume fans.
Working as a lash artist was also the most challenging part of lashing for me. I could make beautiful fans fast, but the wrapping was challenging and time-consuming because my hands could be more steady. All of this inspired me to create a product to make wrapping easier, and after years of developing, we launched Easy Wrap in 2021.
Easy Wrap is a 3-in-1 product: it's a primer and glue accelerator, and it works like a magnet for cyanoacrylate to make lash wrapping easier.
It's used by applying it on the extensions on the glue strip and the natural lashes (it's super important to apply both from the top and underneath). When you dip extensions into the glue dot, Easy Wrap mixes with the glue. When you place extensions on the natural lash, the glue & Easy Wrap mixture is pulled towards and around the natural lash, encapsulating the natural lash inside the volume fan.
It has a balanced pH and works with all lash adhesives.
There are two options how to wrap volume lashes:
- Pressing the base of the volume fan against the natural lash ever so slightly to make it wrap around the natural lash
- Using Easy Wrap. The magnetic effect pulls the base of the fan around the natural lash without you having to apply any pressure:
Superbonder was my first innovative booster that took the eyelash industry by storm. It’s a sealer that completes adhesive curing in 3 minutes, minimizes glue vapors, and tightens the glue bond, thus increasing retention by up to 30%.
Cyanoacrylate cures in the presence of moisture – air humidity (RH) starts the curing process from the outer layer and works its way into the middle of the glue dot (read the full article here). It takes air humidity up to 24h hours to cure the last 10% of CA molecules in the glue dot.
How does Superbonder increase retention?
Superbonder’s working mechanism is different: it mixes with half-cured lash adhesive and finishes the glue curing from the inside by pushing humidity out of the glue bond. Here is a video comparison between curing lash adhesive with Superbonder and with moisture:
The genius behind Superbonder lies in its ability to push humidity out. By the laws of physics – removing humidity from a liquid reduces its volume = glue bond shrinks. If you want to increase retention by shrinking the glue bond, use a Superbonder to achieve this. Alcohol does not push humidity out of cyanoacrylate, so using alcohol-based Superbonders does not increase retention by shrinking the glue bond.
Original Superbonder also adds elasticity to glue bonds which helps to increase retention. Alcohol does not make the adhesive more elastic. It has the opposite effect – alcohol makes lash adhesive more brittle.
How does Superbonder minimize irritation?
Alcohol makes lash adhesive more porous, so alcohol-based bonders do not seal the adhesive surface to prevent vapors from escaping. Sealing adhesive fumes with the original Superbonder reduces fumes about tenfold, minimizing the risk of lash customers developing an allergy to lash glue. For this reason, every lash appointment should be finished with Superbonder.
If you are still determining if your bonder achieves this goal, you can do a simple test by adding Superbonder to a glue dot. Here is a video that shows how our Superbonder cures lash adhesive and how another “bonder” does it:
Original Superbonder contains less than 0.01% and is pH neutral. Since it works with cyanoacrylate, it works with all lash adhesives.
To use Superbonder, wait 2 minutes after applying the last lash extension to let the first 90% of cyanoacrylate molecules cure. Then apply one drop of Superbonder to a long-tip micro brush and cover all bonding points from the top and underneath:
How to use Superbonder?
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