Blog: The Lash Industry; Then & Now

As the new year settles in I find myself reviewing my lash world, this is something I regularly do in January, albeit I’m usually somewhere more exotic and hot than in cold, grey London this year!  I do this because I am passionate on what I do and to continue to love what I do I need to keep up to date with my skills, knowledge base and trends within the industry.

The lash industry is constantly evolving and this is welcoming to see, because an industry that doesn’t change is already starting to die.  I embrace the updates and have over the years even introduced some of my own.  This year I have found myself thinking back to when I was a newbie and my introduction into lash extensions regarding training and standards and then seeing how much more newbie’s receive today.  We are so much more evolved and polished as lash artists because of the amazing amount of information available.  Anyone entering the lash industry today is truly blessed, we really do have an overload of super information available to any lasher who has the desire to become truly fabulous in the lash industry.

Back in the day when I first qualified back in 2006, 30 lashes on each eye was considered a full set.  Yes, you read that correctly, 30 lashes!  At our disposal we used X Tweezers, loose lashes up to .30 in diameter and took up to 3 hours to complete a full set.  Lash extensions was all about length, and thickness, and length and curl, but most of all length!

Lash students were generally taught with a low performance adhesive which meant we were taught to paint the whole natural lash.  This was the norm and we were advised by the ‘Masters’ we wern’t creating a perfect bond if we were having retention issues with our clients.  It was a popular belief that you only needed to attend one class to be top notch lash artist and we only knew about the classic technique (1:1), the volume technique (x:1) wasn’t even a twinkle in our eyes!

Fast forward to 2016, clients expect at least 100 lashes per eye and are disappointed with anything less.  A full set of lashes should be done in less than 90 minutes and clients tend to get irritated if a technican takes longer than this.  We use different tweezers, generally straight or curved/angled for placement which uses the hold:release placement instead of release:hold placement using the X-Tweezers!

Loose lashes have been replaced with lash trays so our lashes are all lined up and ready for pick up which has helped with the technician’s speed, and we are taught from the beginning to use a high performance adhesive.  Additionally, we are all very much more aware of technical and mathmatical information that helps us with the use of our products and lash design.  The thicker lashes of .25 and .30 are now considered too heavy, and therefore unhealthy, to natural lashes and have been disgarded to the lash graveyard.  The lash graveyard now holds a myriad of tools, products, implements and techniques that are considered out-dated and inappropriate in today’s lash industry.

And now the buzz, the huge buzz, that is rocking the lash industry – the introduction of volume.  It’s become a game changer for some, it uses different lashes, different tools and application techniques… and creates a completely different look from classic lashes.  It’s all about thickness, thickness, thickness.  And I would say, it’s created a different demand; a different type of client.  It’s also widened the horizen of further education, which in my opinion is fantastic!  We never really stop learning and it’s so important to not get stuck in a rut, because then you’ll get left behind.

There have been and there continues to be great advancements within the lash industry.  It’s exciting and I’m enthusiastic to be a part of this but I do question whether it’s good to rubbish techniques that have stood the test of time.  I’m talking about the use of social media to influence on what is right, and  wrong, with personal opinions on what works for them.  And usually what I have observed, it that whoever shouts loudest, tends to receive credibility on their personal views, rightly or wrongly.

Lets look at the technique of painting a lash with the adhesive.  Lashers before me were taught this technique and I know of a few training schools that still teach this method today.  I do get that if there is a problem with a technique and it’s not solving or even creating a problem, it needs to be amended.  But, if for the last decade technicians who have used this method have not had issues, why has it become a problem now?

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a right and a wrong way of doing this technique and this is why it’s so important to receive accredited training so that skills learnt are from an industry standard of a consistent methodology.  It’s good to hear other people’s opinions but it’s also important to remember they are just that – opinions, and technicians should not change their fundamental lash skills because of that.

The issue of retention has been around since the birth of eyelash extensions.  There are so many reasons for this and sometimes it can become a complete mystery as to why one client can wear your lashwork for 5 weeks plus and come back for an infill with 70% left and another client will loose all her lashes within a week.  Good techniques do not contribute to retention issues, bad techniques do, not the technique itself!  Understanding your clients, products, techniques, environment and ensuring great aftercare is essential for longevity.

I’ve always believed, and I teach this in my Master training, there’s always more than one product to do a job, ie the variety of gel pads.  There are more than one methodologies to isolate the natural lashes, pick up the extensions,  place the extension onto the natural lash, etc.  The LASH Academy pride itself in teaching comprehensive basic fundamental skills to their students and moving on with further lash education on the various options to expand and inspire lash artists.

Ultimately it’s learning the skills correctly and then finding out what works for you is what makes a great lash artist..  It’s about regularly updating your skills and education to increase awareness and not to rubbish essential skills learnt at the beginning of your lash career.  This makes a great lash artist.

Always LASH with passion!

Francesca xx

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