LASH GLUE 101: What Makes Lash Glues Different
Ever wonder why some lash glues outperform others?
Or maybe you're confused on why certain lash glues have higher price points - either way we're going to eliminate the guessing game for you!
Let's break down what ingredients are in your lash adhesives, what factors play part in performance and price. There are so many options for lash products now a days that it can be overwhelming and at times...misleading.
Let's use this analogy, you can have two 100% cotton t-shirts, one from Forever21 and the other from Gucci. Both used cotton as the fabric of choice yet the quality varies based on the type of cotton, geographical region it was harvested and how it was produced. These factors impact the lengths, strengths and feel of each fiber. Thus, ultimately a cotton tee from Forever21 will last 1-2 machine washes before it becomes your favorite pajama shirt. Yet that Gucci cotton tee will easily last seasons to come and countless washes without a worry. This analogy is the same as adhesives within the lash industry.
Truth is most lash glues use the same ingredients, however the quality of each contributing element and the formula used to produce the adhesive is the secret sauce!
LASH GLUE INGREDIENTS
The main ingredient in lash adhesives derive from cyanoacrylate. Say what?? The big "C" word can intimidate some so let's try this together, cyanoacrylate is pronounced sahy-uh-noh-ak-ruh-leyt...with practice you'll get it right!
Cyanoacrylate is part of a family called esters, derived in the reaction between cyanoacrylic acid and various alcohols, such as methanol (methyl-2-cyanoacrylate) and ethanol (ethyl-2cyanoacrylate). These various family members all work together to create a unique formula and impact performance. The main elements work together in a chemical chain as both viscosity agents and bonding accelerators.
Here is a break down of the cyanoacrylate family tree.
Ethyl Cyanoacrylate is the main ingredient in lash adhesives and account for any where between 80-90% of the composition. Ethyl acts as the quick setting for glues. When you see 1 sec, 2-3 sec or 4-5 sec drying time, this is what impacts how quickly the lash extension sets to the natural lash.
POLY (METHYL METHACRYLATE)
Lash artists are talented and wear many hats like therapist, magicians and beauty professionals. One thing we are not is... scientists. So without breaking down complex terms, poly methyl methacrylate are responsible for the retention time for lash glues. You'll see certain brands advertise anywhere between 4-8 week retention. This is the ingredient that deserves all the credit. It also creates the various levels of viscosity in glues. Some lash adhesives will have a thin runny consistency, some will have a thick texture and in our opinion the best glues will have a mild viscosity balance that isn't too watery or thick. When you properly mix ethyl cyanoacrylate and poly methacrylate, you get the two most important components to your favorite lash glues!
This ester of cyanoacrylates is commonly used in medical glues. It increases the bond, is safer for the skin and provides flexibility. This is an added flavor to a lash glue recipe. SheLuvsLashes Max Out lash adhesive includes this component and is why each droplet is able to last 2x longer despite humidity levels.
Yup this is pretty self explanatory. Carbon black adds the deep black pigment you see in most lash adhesives. Transparent aka clear glues lack the presence of carbon black. Many lash artists have mixed feelings on this newbie. It is known to leave a white residue on clients lashes and can impact the artist's ability to determine how much adhesive they are dipping into. Either way it's preference, no wrong or right here.
WHAT ABOUT FORMALDEHYDE?
Formaldehyde is that elephant in the room every lash artist needs to address. This strong chemical is found in glues and adhesives and is a respiratory irritant that causes chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and nose and throat irritation. The presence of formaldehyde can either be included in the receipe of your lash glue (typically levels if 0.2% or less that it's not even required to be listed on product labels) or it can be generated as part of the polymerization process. When cyanoacrylate comes in contact with the moisture in the air, it begins to cure. Thus, certain glues may contain more percentages than others or be developed in a way that levels rise quicker over time and/or when in contact with moisture. This is also why brands advertise to replace glues after a specific time frame. The industry norm is to replace an opened glue bottle after 6-8 weeks. Either way product technology is now sophisticated enough where formaldehyde shouldn't be of concern for most lash glues.
Understanding what ingredients are in your adhesive and how they work independently and collectively will enhance your confidence as a lash artist. Each lash glue has its own recipe and despite the fact many use the same ingredients, each will have various levels of quality based on the origin of production, chemical composition process, proportion and mixture of ingredients. Remember some lash glues are like Forever21 buy while others mirror that Gucci designer quality that delivers unparalleled results.
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