As the wedding industry gets back into gear, your phone may be ringing off the hook with keen brides seeking lash services for their long-awaited wedding day. However, lockdown 3.0 has prompted a shift in bridal lash trends.
“Lockdown seems to have affected so much, from fashion trends, buying habits, what we wear and the number of new things we buy,” explains Kristina Shepherd, chief executive and founder of 27 Two 6 Beauty and KSLA Professional, who has 12 years of experience in lash services. “We’ve become used to the ‘lockdown’ look, and although most of us will be ready to go out and enjoy life after lockdown, I think a natural look will be popular with lashes,” she says. “After the first lockdown, we saw a huge number of lash extension clients opt for a lash lift as they’d become used to a natural look. Natural, wispy and softer looking lashes will be more popular on brides this year,” she predicts.
Edy Kurowska, celebrity lash technician and owner of Edy London, agrees. “Pre-lockdown, most of the brides I worked with were already being very careful with their choice of lashes, wanting to look like the best version of themselves. Post-lockdown, this will be even more so, especially for those who have lived make-up free for more than a year now,” she says.
Perfect your consultation
For enquiring brides, a consultation is perfect for discussing their vision – not just for the lashes, but the whole look. “The dress is definitely a key discussion, as is make-up, because eyelashes play a very important role in the finished look. You want to make sure the style of lashes is suitable to the final look you have in mind,” says Kurowska.
“When creating a set of lashes for my client’s special day, I always make sure to do a thorough consultation with them beforehand to make sure we can talk about the desired look and achievable expectations with their lashes,” says Amy Martin, Georgie Smedley Group ambassador. “It is also very important that all patch tests have been carried out correctly, and recorded to minimise any risks to the treatment,” she adds.
Liaise with the bride’s makeup artist
If the bride is having her make-up done professionally, it can be beneficial to speak to the make-up artist ahead of their lash appointment, so you can work in unison towards the final look. “You need to discuss the make-up they will be having on the wedding day, and perhaps ask for the make-up artist’s contact details so you can communicate how you will be achieving the final look,” says Kurowska.
“For example, if the designed eye make-up is a smoky eye, it’s important the technician knows as lash extensions can really help to achieve that look. Alternatively, an eyeliner flick can be beautifully enhanced with lashes too,” she adds.
Book a trial run
A trial run is essential to ensure the bride likes the effect of the extensions or lash lift ahead of the wedding. “It’s particularly important if you have a client who is new to lashes,” says Shepherd. “Ask her to send you images of lashes she likes a few days before her appointment and to tell you the type of make-up style she will be having. This will give you an idea of the mapping, lengths and curl to be used and how the lash look and make-up will complement each other,” she says.
“Make sure the trial is one or two months before the wedding day to allow plenty of time to have another trial if needed. Alternatively, you can conduct the trial run to coincide with pre-wedding celebrations, says Martin. “A great time to practise your client’s lash look is to apply a full set for the hen do. This will be a good test to see how your client found the lashes to wear and look after, and will then give you time to change any little things to suit her preferences,” she says.
If your client is opting for a lash lift, do a trial at least two months beforehand, advises Shepherd, because “you need to wait eight weeks before you do another lift”.
Take photos of the lashes
Once your client is booked in for a trial, be sure to take before-and-after photos. “This can be done at the patch test stage, and photos should be taken with the client looking directly at the camera with even lighting,” says Shepherd. “Taking a before picture ahead of the appointment will give you time to study the eye shape and lash direction and work out the mapping best suited to the client before they arrive for their appointment.”
Save the date
Once you and your client have come to an agreement on their lashes, organise a date for the bride to come in for her final treatment. “Ask when and where the wedding is,” says Kurowska. “It is important to get the timings right for weddings. Often, brides travel to the location a few days before the ceremony, sometimes even a week if it’s abroad, so you want to make sure you keep your appointment slot as close to their departure date as you can,” she adds. “If, for whatever reason, you cannot do it close, a week would be good enough. It’s not that they will lose many lashes, but there is less chance of them keeping them as tidy and in-place as possible. Often, we forget and rub our eyes, which can slightly misposition them, or you can even pull some out accidentally.”
Educate on aftercare
“Aftercare is key, especially for new clients, as lashes will naturally shed every day while the bride is on honeymoon, so she will need to understand the importance of brushing them daily, using a lash shampoo to clean her lashes, being careful with make-up and
sun cream while on holiday, and avoiding too much make-up on her lashes,” explains Shepherd. “You can retail a lash microfibre cloth, lash shampoos and lash-safe eyeliners and ensure she knows never to apply mascara on lash extensions. Lash lifts are easier to maintain as the result will last six-to-eight weeks and requires little aftercare compared to extensions.”
Different lashes for different brides
Tailoring the lashes for your bride and their wedding can set you apart from your competition. “Indian bridal lashes are usually dark, striking and heavy with sharp lines, accompanied with dark smoky eye make-up and eyeliner,” explains Shepherd, “while Afro-Caribbean bridal lash looks are typically a softer, natural look, either with strip lashes or natural volume.” Kurowska agrees, adding, “In Asian weddings, it’s part of the look to have dramatic make-up and eyelashes. For this, strip lashes are highly recommended, because of the heaviness of the look; eyelash extensions would be way too heavy.”
If your client is mature, a softer look can be more flattering. “Lashes are suitable for all ages, but it is the way we custom-create the set that needs to change,” advises Shepherd. “When mapping the lashes, the longest lengths need to be near the centre to open up the eye. Using longer lengths on the outer corners for a mature client will not be flattering and could age them,” she says.
How to attract brides to your salon
Optimise your website for brides
To help attract brides who are searching online, provide as much information as possible about the benefits of having lash extensions, tinting or lash lifts for their wedding day, and use keywords relating to weddings to boost SEO and appear in brides’ searches. “Post and blog about the top treatments brides can have done as they may not realise there are so many ways to enhance their look and they might want to try new treatments for their big day,” says Shepherd, who recommends writing “how-to” style blog posts, explaining how brides can best prepare for their lash lift or lash extension treatments.
Focus on word of mouth
When considering lash services, many clients rely on word of mouth. “Most of my bridal clients who are new to lashes are persuaded by their friends,” says Kurowska.
Therefore, your work has the potential to draw new business, whether through their bridesmaids, or other guests at their wedding.
Host a bridal event
Hosting a dedicated bridal event in your salon (when restrictions permit) can help you draw in potential business. “Host a bridal event and invite wedding photographers, cake makers and wedding planners,” says Shepherd, explaining that this can broaden your network in the bridal space.