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What I want to talk about today is how to handle eyelash extension reactions. Oh my I have had a week watching the lash forums and going through the content that is in there... Part of what I do in market research is I use a lot of the Facebook lash artist forums to get a bearing on what the hell is happening out there. So I will literally type ‘reactions’ into the lash forums and see what people are saying. There was one that got me riled right up this week, like took everything in me not to write a reply that would have very much offended the person that I saw talking. So essentially, what I want to do is I want to run through some legalities around this and try very hard to keep my cool. Because there's some BULLSHIT running around the lash industry and some awful advice that will end in a lawsuit for someone eventually. You know what kills me? One of the comments on this particular feed was 'we will never see lawsuits about this stuff'... I need you to know how truly pissed off that makes me.
So I have worked with over my time some pretty incredible solicitors who specialise in beauty and the eyelash extension industry. Now what I know from that and what I know from working with ABIC (The aesthetic beauty industry council), for those who don't know I represent the lash industry and we go straight to government. So I do have a lot of insight from them from our meetings, from what they say and let me tell you… yeah they do happen! And they are nasty and if you haven't done everything, crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s you will lose the case. And guess what, if you haven't crossed your T’s and you haven't dotted your I’s your insurance won't cover you!
I'm going to run through a step-by-step process of what I see typically happen with allergic reactions caused by eyelash extensions. It's really important that you understand about 5% of the population will react to eyelash extensions at some point in time. Normally that reaction does actually happen from continued exposure. So you'll find 6-12 months down the track, some people three years and I've seen up to six years, that they just suddenly have a reaction.
I have a working theory that often these reactions come when people's immune systems are low. This is literally just a theory guys. Every reaction I've ever had from my clients they've been highly stressed whether it's getting married and they’re having an awful time organising it, their immune system is rundown because they've got a disease, or they’re currently battling off the flu and a chest infection and all sorts of different things. Most of the time I find reactions are linked to some sort of immune system compromisation. Now that is just a working theory for me, so for us as therapists I really encourage clients to have a really healthy lifestyle, to take care their gut health to ensure that they are eating the right vitamins and minerals and vegetables. Working from the inside out, taking care of your body, taking care of your mindset, it is holistic. In terms of taking care of the client, it actually truly starts before they have a reaction in telling clients that they can have a reaction, and this again is my personal working theory, it is often linked to immune system to being rundown.
So what does that mean? In terms of protecting your clients, I truly believe it starts before you do the lash extensions, before they have the reaction we need to be nourishing them continuously with information. I truly believe education is key here, you need to keep your clients educated on how to take care of their lashes, how you're applying the lashes, what you're doing safely and adequately to ensure that you're protecting them long term. While part of that comes down to their own physical health, we're not telling them how to live their lifestyle, we're just saying gut health is associated to a really high immune system. When our immune system gets rundown, essentially our skin barrier changes, our level of tolerance changes, absolutely everything about our formula makeup changes. So it's really important that our clients understand, we are made up of chemicals essentially. Everything is made up of a chemical and when our balance changes, there is a brilliant book called the water book, and essentially what they do is they talk to two glasses of water and I should cheque that title for you guys that could be incorrect I'll try to link it for you but they talked to two glasses of water and they talked to one super positively and they talked to one super negatively and when they do that the charge of the water changes. The water physically changes. Now this book goes into such brilliant detail about how the glass of water that's spoken to negatively (kind of like that speaking to an apple positively and negatively) and then you begin to rot the negative one, it changes in a way that would literally begin to deteriorate your body, that would start to change the cells and the way that you function. If that is not an example of how nourishing our body and taking care of our body changes the way that our entire system works and including self-talk I don't know what the hell is.
Our job as therapist is to teach them how to take the best care of themselves, but also I try really hard in my sessions to begin to change the self-talk, so if anyone has trained with me and is listening to this, they will definitely attest to the fact that I'm like, OK hang on we've got to change your mindset, we’ve got to work in a way that will allow ourselves to learn. It's really important for beginners to not beat themselves up because they haven't nailed it on day one, it's OK to be a learner. I want you to think about helping your clients before the reaction even bloody begins, and no I'm not a nutritionist with all this information, this is just my personal experience and what I have found truly helps and works.
The other thing that you can do before the client even has a reaction is educate them on the reaction. What does a lash reaction look like, how rare is it, how often can it happen, what is the main causes of it happening. So having just spoken about taking care of your body that's a really big one that you can talk about. You really want to sit down and write down the key factors that cause a reactions, obviously glue touching the skin. At the end of the day we're human, maybe we do it without noticing, maybe this glue bleeds down slightly and we don't notice. What we can do in house to reduce that is to wash the lashes at the end of an application, it is that simple! We wash away the chemicals sitting on the eyelid and we finished curing of the glue. Now this will only affect your retention if you're using too much adhesive. You can also use barrier creams if you like. You might feel that you’re just not on board with washing the lashes, for a lot of people it is very intimidating. I have been doing it for years and I can tell you, it has not affected my retention. Allowing the glue to continue to cure right near the eye, does heighten the risk of their reaction. It truly does. And that is not just something I'm pulling out of my bum, that is a true scientific fact that the longer you're exposed to a chemical, the quicker you're going to sensitise to it. it's why I don't recommend one week infills and I do recommend trying to get the best retention possible so clients aren't coming into us as often. Now one day I will come up with a miracle glue that doesn't need any of those sorts of things, but today is not that day.
Essentially what will happen in your step by step process;
- Step one is to educate the client before the reaction ever even happens. I can't stress how important this is because when a reaction does happen, they are going to understand what's happening and they're not going to be freaking the fuck out. ‘My goodness my eyes are swelling, my eyes are red, they’re itchy, this or what is going on”… your client needs to understand how to not only take care of their body, but they also need to understand that there is a 5% chance of them reacting at some point in time. If they do react, they need to use a cold compress on their eyes and seek medical advice. Let's not wait until they have a reaction to tell them this. Yes we want them to message us of course, we need to know, but we don't want them in panic state. We want them to know exactly what they need to do even when that happens so they have the information. They should understand that the quicker they get onto a reaction they may be able to minimise these side effects. If they're getting on to a reaction nice and fast, maybe it won't swell as much because they've seen a doctor straight away.
- Step two you should be following up with your clients. Now reactions don't generally happen within 24 hours, they happen after 48 hours. After 48 hours essentially the client is going to contact you, or you should be following up with them and they will say OK I've got itchy eyes, my eyes are swelling, they’re red, what's happening? This is where you should have a protocol or procedure of what to tell them. I would recap all the things you've ever told them, because you should have been telling them. Remember cold compress on the eyes and please seek medical advice. Now what I don't want you to do here is freak out and start saying ‘I'm so sorry, this never happens’, it happens, it just happens, it's part and parcel of what we do and it sucks. it is a shitty side effect and one day I really hope to be able to fix it for you, but for now it is a rare and possible side effect.
For example I can work on minors, I went and got insurance and said OK I want to be able to work on people that are 16 and up. My insurance company charges me a lot more to be able do that. But I am able to do that, because there are 16 year olds who do want to leave high school and do want to work in beauty, particularly in lashes. So I didn't want to leave myself without the opportunity to work with them. Now your insurance could be completely different, you might not be able to work on a minor and the lack of information or the lack of care around this particular topic is astronomical. How can someone be like, Yep I've got insurance, I'm covered. How do you know if you're in covered? What has the under writer put in there? What are their terms and conditions? Email your insurance company and ask them, in case of emergency here is my policies, here is what I am planning on doing, do you approve of this? If you want to remove clients lashes you need to write in there; clients with a reaction will be using remover to remove the lashes. Now here is the extra kicker, what does the manufacturer say? Because the insurance company has no fucking idea what we do. They have absolutely no idea! So then they rely on the manufacturer of the product to tell them what to do. So is the manufacturer willing for you to use their product on someone who is having a reaction? Well let me tell you Lash Vision’s stance on that, absolutely not! What happens when we put glue remover onto the lashes is it re liquefies, it becomes adhesive again! That's why when you wash it off and you haven't got off all the glue, it turns white, because that's residual adhesive. So if we’re removing the lashes with a remover and the residual adhesive is actually on the lashes and we don't get it all, do we run the risk of potentially making that reaction worse? Logic would say yes, but the Facebook forums they would argue with me, they would say no. It absolutely makes me laugh in disbelief some of the shit I see in those forums. I have seen people say well I've never seen a reaction and it creates instant relief… Well never say never, follow the manufacturers guidelines, stick with your insurance requirements and do what is safe because you never know. I'm the prime example of people when they're like oh that could never happen, everything has happened to me, everything everyone said would never happen, like Oh my goodness like that could never happen, never say never. Don't be naive enough to think that you can't follow the required guidelines and that it won't bite you in the ass. Because it very well could bite you in the ass and you don't see it coming. So get the client treated, let the reaction subside, then my personal advice would be to work on them after that. I don't touch a client in a reactive state, that is based on my insurance and my insurance is really high. I have to be, I can export to pretty much every country but one. That is the level of insurance I work at. I have to get medical malpractice insurance, because I literally sit here and give you guys advice, because I give my students advice because I teach and I give information over. So I have to work at a stupidly high, very expensive level.
- Step three make sure that you get a photo for your own records and you keep all records of your conversations back and forward and ensure the client seeks medical advice account stress this enough please double cheque they're actually getting medical advice Step 4 follow up so your client knows you truly care if you enjoy this podcast don't forget to jump on your socials and tag us listening we love to hear where you're listening from and also your feedback if there's any topics that you would like to hear from us please reach out because we would absolutely love to cover them until next time I'll see you soon
Please stop taking unsolicited advice off the forums. And please ensure that if you were getting given advice from a lash trainer, that it is accurate and correct and they have done their research. I know that that can be really treacherous because we admire people and we look at people as pillars of the industry, people that we want to replicate their success. Now just because someone is good at lashes, does not make them a solicitor. I'm not even a solicitor, my goodness I can't even give you legal advice. I have to literally state on here; this is general advice only, this is advice I've been given by my solicitor! Yeah Lash Vision has a solicitor, guys that's the level I have to work on, I have to make sure that I'm doing everything legally. I have to make sure that when I deal with people I do so in a respectful way. Sometimes even I don't know exactly what that means, hence why I outsource that and I literally pay for it.
ABIC is an incredible resource, they have a legal team that you can access with a program, they have HR teams, solicitors, everything that you freaking need at an affordable rate, so all of your bullshit excuses about cost, they're gone, I don't want to hear them. I can't even legally give you certain aspects of advice, because I would have to go pay my solicitor and then my solicitor would say well that's not relevant to you, you're my client. I hope this makes sense, it's really important that you have that protection and ABIC is a great resource, hence why I am on their board and I work with them, because I believe these resources need to be affordable and accessible to everyone.
Having good policies and procedures in place is essential to running a successful business!