2017 has been the year of the lash lift. Requests for the treatment soared, fluttery “after” images popped up all over social media and pro brands raced to get their own version of the treatment speedily launched to market.
More noticeable than a tint but subtler than lash extensions and requiring no maintenance, lash lifts fill a gap in the market for a quick, affordable treatment that gives great results and doesn’t demand any of the client’s free time for upkeep.
The latest lift on the market came from Eyelash Emporium, the lash brand owned by Grafton International, which launched GDL – or Gravity Defying Lashes – in October as a fuss-free lunchtime treatment for busy clients who want an impactful look. “GDL is ideal for those clients that don’t have the time to maintain extensions but desire fuller, longer lashes,” says the brand’s education manager Amber Ivison.
As clients have less time on their hands, the industry is busy innovating express routes to beauty, and with treatment times of around 45 minutes, lash lifts are bang on trend. “Short treatment times and results that last six to eight weeks without the need for maintenance means lash lifts are now proving more popular than extensions,” says Deborah Mitchell, founder of London Lash & Brow, which uses organic plant extracts in its lift products.
Salons have social media to thank in part for driving in clients requesting lash lifts. Search #lashlift on Instagram and hundreds of thousands of “before and after” pictures appear, showing natural lashes transformed from short and stubby to long and luscious.
“Consumers are becoming more aware of the treatment from celebrities, as well as magazine jounalists sharing their thoughts after press appointments,” says Steven Douch, a trainer for Nouveau Lashes, which was a frontrunner in the lash lift market with LVL (Length, Volume, Lift). “This is creating a huge demand for salons, with clients actually requesting LVL by name.”
Aside from the celebrity buzz, lifts are also easily marketable to clients with very fair or sparse lashes who want a little definition and enhancement but shy away from thick, voluminous extensions.
Even extension wearers can get in on the act, with lifts offering a great option if lashes need a rest but the client can’t bear to go completely natural. The treatment could even help nourish and condition natural lashes weakened by adhesive bonds, as in most systems the final step before an optional tint sees the technician apply a nourishing, conditioning lotion.
Lash health is a big consideration for Nouveau Lashes with LVL. “Our new formulation includes ingredients like hydrolysed collagen and oats; powerful proteins that deeply condition lashes and protect the outer cuticle, leaving the consumer with beautiful, conditioned lashes,” says Douch.
LVL uses curling tools called shields, which cover the whole eyelid as opposed to the thinner rod-style curling tools used by Lash Perfect. GDL and London Lash & Brow also use shields to curl and lift, while Marvelash offers both styles.
With a low cost per treatment and fairly short appointment times, lash technicians used to performing laborious extensions all day will welcome the introduction of a much more time-effective treatment that still offers a good profit margin. “Our cost per treatment is £5.17, so we expect the average profit to be between £29.83 and £49.83,” says Ivison. The recommended selling price for the London Lash & Brow Lift “is between £35 to £40, depending on area, plus the cost of tinting, and the cost of products per treatment to you as a therapist is £8.86,” adds Mitchell, leaving a maximum potential profit of £31.14
We asked our experts to troubleshoot four commonly encountered treatment difficulties to help you get up and away with lash lifts
Q My client says her lift has dropped out after a few days – where did I go wrong?
A “This can be difficult as the client may also be at fault. When you’re applying our lifting and setting products, you need to apply them to the roots and half way down the lashes, avoiding the tips, and make sure you’re sticking to correct timings,” says Emma Apps, trainer for Lash Perfect, which launched its own lash lift earlier this year. “Also ensure there are no products left on the lashes that could act as barriers before you apply the formulas.”
Douch adds, “Aftercare is essential for this treatment, and dropping could be due to exposure to excessive heat in the first 24 hours after the treatment or getting the lashes wet.”
With Marvelash’s lift, Atkins says: “You may want to increase your treatment time for stronger, thicker lashes as they need longer to process than fine or weaker ones.”
Q The result is too “straight up” – can a lift be relaxed?
A “As the results are permanent, it’s tricky to relax a lift,” says Atkins. It will gradually drop naturally in the weeks following treatment, but Atkins advises: “The only way to fix this is to redo the treatment, but remember that repetitive treatments can damage the natural lash and result in breakage. Leave a few weeks before you redo it and advise the client to use a nourishing lash treatment nightly.”
Q My client’s short lashes all but disappear when applied to the rod/shield – what can I do?
A “Choose a small shield and place it 1-2mm away from the lash line. This will create a curl and make the lashes visible during treatment,” advises Ivison. “If this doesn’t work, it may be that you advise against the client having the treatment as it won’t provide a good end result,” she adds. “Extensions or a tint may be more suitable for this client.”
Atkins suggests: “Use micropore tape to lift the eyelid and make it easier to see what you’re doing. You can also add an extra layer of adhesive to keep the lashes in place; shorter lashes have a habit of lifting away from the rod.”
Q My client has hooded lids – can I still perform the treatment?
A “Of course. Use a medium or large shield. We teach all about styling for different eyes on our training course,” says Ivison.
Apps adds, “Use micropore tape to lift the brow and hooded lid once the eyes are closed. I would also suggest a medium-size rod, as a small would only lift the lashes and cause them to lay on or under the hooded area. A medium rod can give a dramatic look but also hide the hooded area behind.”