· By Carlee Workman
Lash Extensions 101: Safety and Sanitation
One of the most important lessons taught in beauty school is safety and sanitation.
With any cosmetic service, it’s crucial to learn the proper ways to decontaminate your tools and workstation. In lashing especially, this is vital because of the proximity to the eyes, nose, and mouth. As we’ve learned very well from the past two years, bacteria spreads easily from our hands and other surfaces – so hygiene needs to be top of mind when working with clients.
Client safety should be the #1 priority for any procedure, and lashing is no exception. Without proper sanitation, you are putting your clients (and your reputation) at risk. In fact, your state’s health department and the Board of Cosmetology can fine you for not following the required guidelines. So, for the safety of your clients and your business, let’s take it back to lashing 101 and discuss lash safety and sanitation.
Decontamination can be broken down into 4 primary categories. Knowing these terms is the foundation of lash safety and sanitation, so let’s break them down:
- Cleaning: This eliminates the surface from particles by using warm water and soap.
- Sanitizing: This eliminates or reduces the amount of bacteria by using alcohol-based products.
- Disinfecting: This reduces bacteria to a safe level by using products with Barbicide or Germicide.
- Sterilizing: This is the most effective method for eliminating bacteria and uses high heat and pressure.
What are the proper sanitation procedures for eyelash extension?
Now that you understand the basics of decontamination, we can move on to what needs to be maintained. Each state has specific regulations, so while this is a general checklist, the best course of action is to check the requirements of your local law.
- Wash your hands often: Be sure to use warm water and soap for at least 30 seconds making sure to get under the nails and in between your knuckles. Your hands should be freshly washed before handling any of your tools. If you have to grab or touch something that is not sterile (such as your phone), then wash your hands again before continuing the service.
- Never reuse disposable items: Most products used during sets are one-time-use only. Eye pads, micro swabs, mascara wands, and tape should never be used across multiple clients – even if they are sanitized.
- Disinfect after every client: Your tools that are reusable, such as tweezers, should be disinfected between every set. One of the best ways to do this is by using Barbicide. Make sure to measure and mix the correct amount into a bowl of water, and allow your tools to soak. Follow the instructions on the product label to ensure you do not over soak (and possibly damage) your tools.
- Wipe down your workstation between clients: Make sure to clean up between each client, including changing the bedsheets. Everything should be as fresh as possible before your next client walks in!
- Always have sanitizer on hand: Having sanitizer within arms reach is a good idea for when you need to quickly decontaminate your workstation.
How to store your lash tools?
Storage falls under the umbrella of lash safety and sanitation. This is because proper storage prevents bacteria growth and prevents dirt or debris from contaminating your tools. Finding the right storage doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! As long as it is airtight and easily accessible, it will work great for lashing.
When you aren’t using your tools, always make sure to put them away in their proper containers. Lash tools should never be left unattended and exposed. The reason for this is that dust and bacteria from the air can contaminate them, and it could potentially put your clients at risk. It’s better to be on the safe side and keep them stored away until use.
One of our best-selling products for keeping workstations clean and organized is our Happy Tile. This large acrylic tile is perfect for keeping all your lashes organized and at your fingertips during your set. Plus, it has grips on the back so it won’t slip away – the perfect lashing sidekick!
When should I sanitize my lash tools?
As a lash artist, you’ll spend a lot of time cleaning your space. Generally speaking, there are the key times when you should be sanitizing your tools:
- After any client: Whether you’re doing a removal or a full set, all the tools used should be washed and disinfected after every client. Disposable items, like mascara wands and eye pads, should be thrown out.
- If you drop the tool on the floor: The 5-second rule does not apply here! If you drop your tweezers (and hopefully they don’t bend), you need to immediately wash and disinfect them. If you have butterfingers like us, try our Tweezer Saver. No more fear of ruining your favorite pair again!
- At the end of the day: Better safe than sorry! Plus, it’ll save you time in the morning.
- If they are left unattended and out of storage: As we mentioned earlier, lash tools should be stored in an airtight container when not in use to prevent bacteria growth.