Curing your client’s eyelash extensions is a new trend on the lash scene. It is important to not only understand the benefits of curing but also to know the differences in options available. Cyanoacrylate is not a glue; it is an adhesive, so it does not dry, it cures. Using traditional handheld fans like we have until now was not “drying,” or curing, the adhesive, but merely moving the lingering fumes away from the eye so as not to bother the client when they opened. We have asked our clients to keep the lashes dry for 24-48 hours because it can take that long for the adhesive to capture the hydrogen-filled moisture in the air to cure. In dry conditions, the adhesive may even pull moisture from the skin or the eyes to cure, causing dryness and irritation. The new curing process sets the adhesive and reduces the risk of redness, swelling, and irritation for your clients. Curing also rehydrates the lashes and the area around them, so it is great to pre-treat your clients with extremely dry skin or lashes so you can get a better adhesion. You can also use your mister/neb periodically for a client who has involuntarily opened her eyes during a service and is stinging, as the curing will reduce the fumes and the sensation for the client.
The curing process is activated by hydrogen. Because water contains hydrogen, the best way to cure the adhesive is by introducing a small amount of moisture through a fine mist. Moisture accelerates a process known as polymerization, which means that smaller molecules combine to form larger ones. In most cases, when using a mist to cure, clients can wash their lashes after just two to four hours, rather than 24 or more. This is a great feature for some clients who work out regularly or for those who need to shower the same day.
Many lash artists use a handheld product such as the Nano Mister to cure their client’s lash extensions, but science and testimonials are suggesting that nebulizers, which are traditionally used to treat asthma and other respiratory conditions, may be more effective.
About the Nano Mister: Pros and Cons
The Nano Mister is a small and inexpensive handheld device that sprays a fine mist of distilled water. The manufacturer recommends holding it about six to 12 inches from the client’s eyes and moving it in a sweeping motion across both eyes for a total of 30 seconds. Other companies offer similar products that work much in the same way.
The Nano Mister is effective, when used properly. It cures the lashes immediately, which, again, cuts back on irritation by reducing the client’s exposure to adhesives and fumes. One of the most obvious benefits is the price—less than $20. The device is also lightweight and portable, making it convenient.
The risk with the Nano Mister is over-wetting, which has the opposite effect of curing. The goal is to introduce a small amount of moisture, not actually to get the lashes wet. There’s a fine line between curing and causing “blooming” or shock polymerization, a true set killer. Flash polymerization happens when the adhesive becomes saturated before it has cured and cures rapidly (one of the other reasons we ask clients to wait to wash) This is usually marked by a white residue and means that the bond has been compromised and most likely will not hold up for any length of time. It is essential to not use the Nano Mister too close to the lashes or for too long, or the device will leave too much moisture on the lashes.
TIP: Try getting the hang of how far to hold it and how long to mist by setting a piece of paper down on your table and misting above it for 30 seconds. If you notice droplets of water or that the paper is actually wet you may be too close. Also ONLY use distilled water in your mister to avoid a mildew smell from forming or mineral build up on the interior parts. It is also nice to place one drop of citrus or tea tree oil in the refill bottle to keep down bacteria in the water and also provide a pleasant scent experience for your client.
About the Nebulizer: Pros and Cons
Nebulizers are also devices that spray a fine mist, but they’re most often used to treat medical conditions. They’re used to administer vaporized medications to people with chronic conditions such as asthma and COPD. Nebulizers are sold in tabletop or handheld models.
More recently, nebulizers have been used as a tool for curing lashes, and as an alternative to the Nano Mister and similar products. The mist is much finer and they have less risk of leaving too much moisture on the lashes because the water particles are smaller.
Most lash artists use what’s known as a compression nebulizer, a handheld device that is filled with distilled water. However, it’s important to note that if you’re using an adhesive that tends to bloom, you should use a pre-treatment, such as a sealer, before introducing moisture.
Nebulizers can be a little bit larger and more awkward to hold or direct near the client. Some are tippy and can spill if not set upright and others may be best placed on your cart and simply turned on from there and directed near the client’s head.
The greatest drawback to nebulizers, compared to the Nano Mister, is the price. Depending on the model, expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 or more.