Extension Retention

Tips for the longest-lasting lashes


Being a lash artist is more than just applying lash extensions. There is a technique, as well as a few important factors. One of the most important factors of lashing is retention. Did you know that one of the biggest reasons a client doesn’t return is because of poor retention? You can create an incredible set of lashes but have bad retention, which will result in you feeling inadequate. You want your clients’ lash extensions to last, only needing a fill every couple of weeks. Are the extensions falling off just days after application?  Or are your clients coming back after three weeks with little to no lashes left? Here are my top retention tips, broken down into five important steps!

Adhesive is attracted to moisture. If you are in a high humidity area, keep that in mind that you need to be quick and get that lash extension onto the natural lash so the adhesive does not dry before getting there.

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1. Clean Lashes Matter 

One of the most important things to remember is that lash extensions do not stick to dirty lashes.

Every so often I will have a client who comes in with mascara on. I send them to the bathroom to use remover the best they can, and I think we are good to go. The truth is, that client’s lash extensions will NEVER last. The retention will be horrible. Between the leftover mascara and the makeup remover, the set will result in poor retention. When scheduling a client, it is important to tell them not to wear mascara the whole day of their appointment. Leftover mascara on the natural lashes will make it so the extensions do not have a good connection. A reminder call, text, or email is also helpful. 

Once the client comes in, washing their lashes is the first thing you will do. You need to start with a clean surface, and although the lashes may look clean, make sure they really are. I recommend washing with foaming wash and a cleansing brush. This combination will help get in between those tiny lashes and remove any dust or oil that will stand as a barrier between your lash extension and the natural lash. 

Keep in mind that washing lashes and applying a prep solution are two different steps. Primer is considered a prep solution; it is great to use on oily clients after a good cleanse. If the client’s lashes are oily, I would recommend to prime them. Primer is not one-size-fits-all though. It can be drying, so use it sparingly.  Always start off a lash set with a clean, natural lashes. 

2. The Amount of Adhesive Matters

Make sure you are using a fresh adhesive. Once it is opened you have six to eight weeks to use it, depending on how often you are opening it. If you are opening it a few times a day every day, you will be closer to the six-week range. The more it is exposed to air (aka opened and closed), the sooner the adhesive will weaken.

Make sure to use enough adhesive. Many artists use too little which results in lashes just falling off. You also do not want to use too much and glue someone’s lashes all together – yikes!  I recommend about two small “beads” of adhesive on each extension. Something to keep in mind is the thickness and length of the natural lash. The smaller and thinner the client’s natural lash is, the less surface area you have for adhesive. 

Humidity plays an important role and does affect your adhesive. The higher the humidity, the quicker your adhesive will cure, or dry. Adhesive is attracted to moisture. If you are in a high humidity area, keep that in mind that you need to be quick and get that lash extension onto the natural lash so the adhesive does not dry before getting there. 

3. The Curl You Use Matters 

If your client has very straight lashes, what do you think will happen if you apply a D Curl? The lashes will most likely not last as long because there is not enough surface area that is meeting with the lash extension and natural lash. Applying a D Curl (which is the curliest) to someone with straight natural lashes will result in the extension just popping off. If you find a curl that matches their natural lash better, retention will be better because there is more surface area that is connected. 

4. Application Matters 

Good retention will result from good application. It’s simple. Make sure the bases of the natural lash and the eyelash extension are flush with each other (think laying on top of each other). You never want the lash extension base to be in the air, that can lead to pain and irritation, as well as causing the lashes to pop off. Remember, poor placement = poor retention.

5. Aftercare Matters 

It is your job as a lash artist to TEACH aftercare. Teach your clients how to take care of their lashes, as many of them will have never had lash extensions before. Teaching proper care is crucial to good retention. I like to tell my clients while I am doing their lashes how to care for them, but also send them home with a take home card of how to care for them. Things you should point out to clients include: do not use mascara, avoid high heat, try not to sleep on your face, stay away from oils, and cleanse your lashes daily. 

Follow these steps and I promise you will see improved extension retention!