HEALTH AND SAFETY

Sanitise, Disinfect & Sterlise

These are the key terms of proper infection control. It is important to understand these terms and the difference between them.
Sanitise 
This is the first step in infection control. It is essentially cleaning and is a necessity. We sanitise in order to make a surface clean and safe for use. It is the removal of visible or surface debris from an object or surface. Pathogens (germs) are not destroyed, instead they are removed.​An example of sanitising would be washing your tools in soapy water.
Disinfect
To disinfect something is to render it free from pathogenic organisms or to kill the germs and bacteria making them harmless. To keep you and your client safe, any item that touches a customer MUST be disinfected before it can be used on any other customer. Disinfection is for non-porous items only, porous or single use items must be discarded after use. To disinfect, the item or surface MUST be cleaned first, you then need to use products such as barbicide, saloncide or navy hygiene disinfection wipes. To properly disinfect you need to follow manufacturers instructions, mix the solutions with the right concentration correctly, make sure the disinfectant has had enough contact time on the tool or surface. If using a product like barbicide, you need to be changing the solution as per instructions.
Sterilise
Sterilisation is rarely required in the beauty industry. This method is the complete destruction of all microbial life and is most frequently done with an autoclave that uses heat and pressure to destroy microbes. ​This process is normally used in the medical and dental field. You should always sterilize areas that come into contact with blood or other bodily fluids.

Patch Testing

Patch testing has changed so much over the past few years, we used to get taught to blob the glue behind the ear or on the wrist, We now know that this way of patch testing (even though sometimes trainers still encourage to do this).​Lash glue is not meant for the skin. The main ingredient is an irritant for skin, eyeballs and respiratory functions. It can really irritate the skin as it dries and causes the skin to go red, which will show a false reaction. It is not a good technique of testing because the fumes from the glue being around the eyes will usually give a reaction.

 

The most well known way to patch test is by booking a 15 minute slot, putting eye pads on a client, use your usual priming products and apply a few single lashes per eye. 5 very natural lashes per eye, apply them very fine so the client wont notice them. When that client comes in for the full set and they are still in remove them as you go along. This technique is very thorough but it does take time, and booking patch tests in the system is hard to find time.

 

It is important to know before you decide how you will be patch testing you will need to contact your insurance to see if they have their own requirements When it comes to lash day there is still a chance that a client could develop and allergy. We can only do so much when it comes to patch testing and sometimes a few minutes of exposure to the glue vapours is nothing compared to the 2+ hours of glue exposure in a full set. ​Sadly we have done all we can but there is going to be that 1% that is allergic and it may be that the allergy is not noticed until sometimes 12-48 hours after the lashes have been applied. But would you feel better knowing you tried to patch test rather than going straight in without one? What if your client was coming in for her lashes a few days before her wedding?

In 2018 Lashbase were the first company to come out and completely change their patch testing guidelines. They argued that the above tests aren't always clear. and reactions usually happen after having lashes on so why bother? So people saw it as a very clever marketing play. 'Buy our glue because you wont have to patch test' a few companies then hopped on the bandwagon.

 

I personally will always patch test. If it all goes pear shaped and a legal case hits you, you're going to feel better knowing you attempted a patch test. ​Things to take away from this is never patch test on skin, check your manufacturer guidelines and most importantly also check what you're insurer advises.

Glue Safety

These are the key terms of proper infection control. It is important to understand these terms and the difference between them.
99% of the time adhesives are made up of cynoacrylates along with other bonding ingredients. Cynocrylate adhesives cure by reacting with small amounts of moisture in the environment and on the bonding surface.​ Lash adhesives are almost to their maximum bond in just 10 minutes. The ideal humidity range for most adhesives is 50-55% as this allows the monomers to bond and fall.. If your humidity is lower than 40% that means there is a lower amount of humidity and therefore the adhesive will not sure as effectively and as quick. ​The longer the adhesive stays uncured for, the more likely irritation and respiratory symptoms will occur. You should always aim to get your humidity levels above 40%.
Nanomisting, nebulizing, sealing and cleaning the lash line after application are all techniques which will instantly cure the adhesive and reduce the chances of irritation. Although, these techniques do not replace the need for moisture in the air throughout lash application.​When choosing you lash adhesive and lash products you should always request the safety data material sheet. These documents provide more information than what you find on the label and provide you with health and safety information.

To aim for a safe working environment when using adhesives you need to be mindful of the following things....​

  • Make sure you room has adequate ventilation, avoid working in a room without airflow.​

  • Work in a room that has below 40% humidity will increase the chance of irritation and respiratory symptoms. Try your best to keep kevels above this mark for optimal bond,.

  • Keep cotton and cotton based products away from your adhesive. When cynocrylate and cotton are in contact with each other a chemical reaction happens. The cotton will usually start to smoke and rarely (but possible) catch fire.

  • ​Always wear a mask when lashing. Disposable, paper masks are useless and do not protect you from the glue fumes. Look for a FFP3 face mask (VOG masks or the Cambridge mask co). If you continue to lash without protecting yourself with a mask you will eventually get irritation and respiratory problems.

  • Avoid using adhesive rings, when using a ring the adhesive is right underneath your nose. It also only takes a sharp knock for the adhesive to go flying. Stick to a jade stone or palette,​Changing your adhesive every 20 mins or as often as needed. After time the adhesive starts to get stringy and thick, the longer its left out. This is because while its sat on your jade stone it is very slowly starting to cure from moisture in the air.​

  • Always throw away your bottle of adhesive after the recommended time, To keep it as fresh as possible try to store it in an airtight jar.

Allergic Reactions

All lash techs will experience a client having an allergic reaction and its not pretty. There's nothing worse than telling a client that they can no longer have lashes on, even though its more than likely they have had regular lash infills with no bother. For a newly qualified techs this can be quite a worrying thing.

 

Most allergic reactions happen due to the vapours/fumes coming off the adhesive. The moisture in the eye attracts these vapours and causes sensitivity. Like a lot of allergic reactions, it happens because of over exposure across periods of time. Which means it really important to be reducing the exposure to the glue fumes as much as possible, to reduce the risk of a reaction.

 

To reduce the exposure, there's quite a few things you can do:

  • Make sure your room is well ventilated, air needs to be freely circulating around the room.

  • If you don't have windows in your room and its an enclosed space, then invest in an air purifier to keep the air clean. Don't keep old blobs of glue lying around, bin them straight away into a closed pedal bin. If your bin is open its another chance for those vapours to escape.

  • Don't use too much glue on your client, get into good practise of using a minimal amount of glue. You might just find your retention its better!

 

Sometimes you can do as much as you possibly can to reduce those fumes and you still might get that one client allergic. It might be because they've been somewhere else previously and exposure has already started to build up, or simply because they are more sensitive to allergic reactions you might find this is people that are allergic to other things like hair dye and latex.

When a client gets in touch to let you know they think they have has an allergic reaction, you need to try and determine whether it is a reaction or sensitivity (like bloodshot eyes). Ask if the eyes are puffy, red, itchy, dry and ask for a photo.

 

You have to remember that we're not doctors and we cannot diagnose but its safe to say we know an allergic reaction when we see one, but despite this you do have to be careful how you word things to your client. "I am not medically trained and so can not diagnose this but your symptoms would suggest its an allergic reaction. Sadly its the age of insurance claims and it only takes that 1 client to take legal action. So be careful and mindful how you word everything.

You will need to get the client back in as soon as you can, to remove the lashes safely. If left on the risk of the reaction getting worse is higher and the client is more likely to start picking them out whilst itching their eyes which is going to lead to natural lash damage, Once you've removed the lashes safely give the eyes a thorough wash to remove any residue and glue fumes.

Advise your client to get in touch with their GP or go to the nearest pharmacy where they can legally advise them on what to take to alleviate the symptoms.

You are not qualified to tell your clients to take anti histamines. I know its ridiculous, but if you were slapped with a legal case they would nit pick everything and this could be seen as you prescribing the client to take antihistamine,

So you've taken the lashes off safely, you've advised the client to seek medical advice what now?

Most clients will be allergic to either the cynocrylate or the carbon black pigment the adhesive. If its the cynocrylate, they won't be able to have lashes on again. If its the carbon black, you can actually use a clear adhesive.

To safely figure out, the client will need to keep their lashed off for at-least a good month so the histamine in the body has had enough time to calm and their eyes are back to normal. Do a very thorough patch test with clear glue apply at-east 10 single lashes (0.07 or under)b across both eyes, wait at-least 48 hours to see if a reaction occurs,

As we covered in patch testing even by doing a thorough patch test there is still a chance a reaction will occur when it comes to doing a full set. You need to speak with your client and be realistic about their expectations and give them all the knowledge so that they can choose whether to go ahead and try the clear glue.

Bloodshot & Flickering Eyes

Bloodshot Eyes
This is guaranteed to happen to at-least one of your clients at some point. Some people think its bruising or an allergic reaction. It is actually none of these but its good to know how to advise clients. ​Bloodshot eyes occur when you're lashing and the fumes from the glue irritate your clients eyes. This can happen due to your clients eyes being slightly open. Sometimes its because your clients eyes will flicker the whole treatment. Flickering can be caused by talking, so after a brief chat encourage your client to relax.​Sometimes it can be because the eye pads have been placed too far up and are pushing the eye open slightly. ​Caffeine, if your client has had a lot of tea or coffee throughout the day this can cause eyes flickering. ​If blood shot eyes does happen advise your client that they will begin to calm down over a few days.
Flickering Eyes
If the clients eyes are flickering a little bit you can do something as simple as applying micropore tape to the eyelid. Just a single strip going across the eyelid can help.