As covered previously, WHS requires you to not only keep your clients safe, but you must also keep yourself safe! Hygiene, sterilisation and sanitation keep everyone safe, and for your own personal safety, there are three key areas that you need to be aware of:
As a lash technician, you will be seated with your arms raised for most of the day, and you will often be bending at the waist to get a better view of your client’s lashes. It is critical you develop good posture from the outset in order to avoid long-term injury. In addition to this, the way your work area is set up throughout your services is equally important.
Key phrase | Ergonomics: the process of designing or arranging your treatment area, products and systems so that they meet your specific needs.
No two work areas will ever be set up the same because we all have different needs. People who are taller may be able to store certain products at a further distance than those of us who are shorter. If you need to use a step or a ladder to reach items that you use regularly, you are adding additional risk where there doesn’t need to be!
To set up your workspace ergonomically, you need to think about the space you are working within and the sorts of products, tools, and equipment you use frequently and less frequently. Unless you are blessed with a huge treatment area with loads of storage space and working space, you will need to strategically think about where everything needs to be placed. Ergonomics also includes factors such as:
The ergonomic requirements for an office would be different to those of your lash treatment area. When working at a computer, you need to consider where your monitor is positioned, how far away from the keyboard you are, and the brightness of your screen. In contrast, in your lash space, you need to reduce eye strain and physical strain by positioning yourself comfortably, with your tools in easy reach. Some tips to consider when setting up your workspace:
You also need to make sure that your client areas are ergonomically set up. If the treatment pillow has a sharp angle, this could cause neck strain. Lash services can range from 1 to 2 hours, so you need to carefully consider your client’s comfort with their body position.
If you would like to learn more about ergonomics, access the resources linked:
If you don’t look after your own health, your career will end before you know it. If, for any reason, you start to feel sore in any areas or if your eyes feel tired, you need to think about how your work area is set up. Of course, when we start out as lash artists, we may not be able to do more than a couple of clients a day.
As your skills develop and your body gets used to the various positions, you will develop muscle strength and will be able to increase your contact time. If you feel tired and sore in the beginning, do not push through, it is not worth it! Make sure you take breaks, have a restful sleep and seek medical attention for any pain that does not subside.
Aside from using disposables, personal protective equipment (PPE) has not been necessary for lash artists, in contrast to, say, someone doing spray tans. When doing spray tans, there is a chance that the solution could blow back into your eyes, so goggles or other protective eyewear should be worn. However, in recent times, there have been additional PPE requirements in response to contagious viruses, and these changes will likely become the norm in years to come.
PPE that you will likely need to have on hand will include, but will not be limited to:
When there is no legal requirement for PPE, you should still select any PPE that you feel will protect you while at work. For example, you may choose to wear protective eyewear during all of your services to protect your eyes from repeated exposure to lash glue, chemicals and other fluids. To protect your eyes from eye strain, you may also consider getting yourself a pair of magnifying glasses.
As lash artists, we will come into contact with a large number of different products on a daily basis. In summary, to protect yourself and your client and our best practices include:
There are lots of suppliers that stock PPE for lash artists, and you will likely find that PPE used for hairdressers, beauty salons and other cosmetic industries will be suitable for your use as well.
Maintaining your personal safety also means that you need to develop effective self-care practices. Self-care can mean different things to different people because the way we relax and recharge will be very different. You will have seen in the linked articles earlier that Safe Work Australia outlines requirements for mental health and wellbeing as well. Our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health is paramount for our success in our careers and also in our personal lives.
When you start out as a lash technician, it is a super exciting time, and you will want to practice and refine your techniques at every opportunity. It is important to remember that a healthy balance between work and life must always be a focus for you.
Key phrase | Work-life balance: the equilibrium between your professional life and your personal life, with a good work-life meaning you have congruence between the different aspects of your life.
Working 80 hour weeks is not sustainable for anyone, and as a lash technician, it is not physically possible unless you are willing to compromise your health.
If you are planning to work for yourself, you will have the client service side to contend with and also the additional duties of running a small business. If you do not plan your time accordingly and plan for time off, it can become overwhelming and harmful quite quickly! Having effective self-care strategies in place to ensure you are balancing your responsibilities, making time to connect with others and allowing yourself to rest and have some fun will make you more successful in the long run.
When we are really passionate about something, we can often get tunnel vision and get so focused on achieving what we need to. This can be a great motivator, but it can also lead to increases in stress, health issues and can impact other areas of our life. Self-care is not all about bubble baths, scented candles, Netflix and a block of chocolate! Let’s take a look at some self-care strategies for each area of health:
|Self-care area||Overview||Example strategies|
|Physical||Physical self-care relates to how we look after our bodies. If your diet consists of red bull and cigarettes to get you through the day, you will suffer the consequences. Maintaining a healthy diet and undertaking frequent exercise can help to keep our bodies strong. Additionally, keeping hydrated throughout the day and getting enough sleep at night will help us stay on top of our health.||1. Make time each day to go for a walk|
2. Plan your meals
3. Take your lunch break!
4. Establish a regular sleep pattern
5. Talk to medical professionals if you feel fatigued
|Social||Humans are social creatures, and while you may not want to talk to anybody after a long day at work, making time to see friends, family, and other connections is so important for our health and wellbeing. All small business owners do have to make sacrifices from time to time, and frequent nightclubbing on a Friday night may not be an option for you if you have clients booked on your Saturday’s! However, you should be careful not to let your work take up all your time – save some for you mates as well.||1. Schedule time to spend with your friends|
2. Take up a hobby which involves others
3. Join online lash technician communities
4. Take a weekend off every month and 5. plan your annual leave
6. Make time for activities you really enjoy doing
|Mental||Mental health can be tricky because we can’t always see when something is wrong. When you have a physical injury, it is clear to you and everyone else that the injury is there. Mental health issues can also develop slowly over time, and you yourself may not even be aware there is a problem the problems becomes serious.||1. Take time out away from electronics, people and other stimuli|
2. Reduce stressors where possible
3. Seek help if you are struggling
|Spiritual||Whether you are religious, a spiritualist, an atheist or other denomination, looking after your spiritual wellbeing is an important part of self-care, which is often overlooked. All of us have a set of morals, values and beliefs, and we are constantly learning and evolving with each new experience. It is important as we go through life that we have the opportunity to reflect, see how far we have come and have a greater understanding of the world around us.||1. Engage with spiritual/religious practices that you find fulfilling|
2. Make time to reflect on your lived experiences
3. Share and discuss your experiences with others
4. Learn about other people and their values, beliefs and experiences
|Emotional||Like mental health, emotional health can sometimes go undetected, and a build-up of emotions can result in extreme reactions. I think it has happened to all of us at some point when you may have found yourself getting really angry or upset over something minor. Usually, it is not the minor problem that is the issue; it is a build-up of emotions that have not been recognised or released in a healthy way.||1. Learn how to identify and be comfortable with your emotions|
2. Talk to others to help you process your emotions
3. Express your feelings, don’t suppress them!
These strategies are just examples. You will have your own unique ways of relaxing, grounding yourself and looking after your health and wellbeing. If you want to watch some trashy TV to relax, or drink a green smoothie or read a good book, it is completely up to you! Balance and variety will be important for you to stick with whichever self-care strategies you choose.
It can be extremely easy to neglect our own health when we are busy, but you should never be so busy that your health suffers. If you continue to ignore your health and the warnings in favour of getting work completed, you will likely have more time out of work in the end because the more serious the health issue is, the more extreme and lengthier the treatment options will likely be. Early intervention and treatment are key!
If you would look like to learn more about self-care and other strategies you might find useful, access the resources linked: