3.4 lash lift and tint 101

As you have already learned, the key to a beautiful lash lift is using quality products and the correct techniques. If done correctly, a lash lift can last 6 to 8 weeks. Lash lifts are suitable for all genders, and we recommend not completing any lash services to anyone under the age of 16. There may sometimes be exceptions to this age limit, depending on the context and whether parental permission is granted. It is important to note that even with parental permission, your insurance may not cover clients under a specific age, so be sure to check you are covered before proceeding with any of your services.

In terms of the lash lift and tint sequence, steps may differ depending on the lash lift kit you are using. As you learned earlier, you must always follow the exact instructions of your kit to prevent any mishaps. If your client wants a tint, you can do the tint after the neutralising step before applying lash moisturiser/serum. Our expert recommends the following sequence:

We will demonstrate the lash lift and tint process via tutorial videos in Module 6: Skills Hub, however, for now, as an overview check out the lash lift process end to end by watching the following videos:

As you can see, there are lots of different techniques, tricks and tips for each step. As such, let’s break down the process and take a look at each step in more detail:

Step 1: Prep the eye area

The first step when preparing for a lash service is to wash and sanitise your hands in front of the client. This clearly shows that you are professional and that you take health and hygiene seriously. The next step is to prepare the eye area by ensuring the eye area is free of makeup and adequately cleansed. There are numerous products available on the market for makeup removal and cleansing, and it is important to use products that are oil-free because oils can prevent lashes from sticking correctly to the rods.

The table below outlines a basic overview of what you need to do to remove makeup and cleanse the eye area:

Makeup removal  When booking appointments, you should always request that your clients arrive without makeup; however, this is not always possible. If your client has just come from work, they may have makeup on, so you should ensure that you have makeup remover in your kit just in case. There are lots of makeup removers on the market, and we will look at a few in more detail in a later module.
Cleansing  Even if your client arrives makeup-free, it is important to give the skin a cleanse. You can simply use a cotton round and micellar water to get rid of any dirt or excess oils that may have built up throughout the day. If you prefer, you can also use foam cleansers or cream cleansers.

During the eye preparation process, you have an opportunity to clearly identify the client’s face shape, eye shape, natural lash curl and the lash condition. As you are applying each product, you can not only view their features closely, but you can also feel them. When working product with your hands, you will also be able to identify any contraindications such as dry patches, scarring or blemishes. In terms of natural lash health, check out the examples below:

Client 1
Client 2
Client 3

Of the examples above, which client do you think you should refuse service to? If you thought client 1, you would be correct. Client 1 has some serious damage from lash extensions, and before any sort of lash service could be conducted, those remaining crusty extensions would need to be dealt with. Client 3 also has some damage, but you could technically still perform the lash lift; you would just have to take extra precautions when fixing the lashes in place and when applying the solutions. If proceeding with client 3, work in very small sections and if any hairs pull out when fixing to the rod/shield, then you should stop the service immediately. Client 2 has healthy lashes and is good to go! Remember, if you do identify contraindications, remember to discuss this with your client. Never be afraid to refuse a service if the natural lashes are too damaged; it is just not worth the risk!

Step 2: Select your rods

During the eye area cleanse, you will have had the perfect opportunity to assess the length and curl type of your client’s natural lashes. Once you have determined this, the next step is to choose an appropriate rod or shield. As you progress as a lash artist, you will soon find what works for you and your clients and will likely have a mixture of rods and shields in your kit. So, what is the difference?

Unlike the cylindrical rods used for #oldskool lash perms, lash lift rods are usually made from silicone and typically give a “C” or “D” curl and are notably more rounded than lash shields. Lash shields, by design, have a more graduated curve, so they allow more of a lift and can achieve a range of curl types, depending on the length of your client’s natural lash.

Both lash rods and shields come in all shapes and sizes! What makes it a bit tricky is that some manufacturers refer to them as the same thing or even call them ‘lift pads’, so always read the product descriptions before you make purchases. Ultimately, you and your client need to decide whether they want a more natural or dramatic look, and then the appropriate rod/shield can be selected.

Lash lift rods
Lash lift shields

Usually, the manufacturers will include information with the rods/shields that will explain the type of curl that will be created, the length of lash they are suitable for and the eye shape they are most suited to. As you learned earlier, if you over-curl a client’s lashes, it can actually make the lashes look shorter (not the effect we are going for!), and over-curled lashes can be very uncomfortable for the client as the lashes will be touching the eyelid.

Once you have chosen whether you will be using a rod or a shield, you need to select the correct size. If you think about it logically, clients with longer lashes will usually need a larger rod/shield to ensure there is enough space to place the lashes. In contrast, if your client has shorter lashes, small to medium rods/shields will usually be better to achieve an aesthetically pleasing lift. From experience, most clients want a dramatic look, so make sure you have lots of small to medium rods/shields at the ready. An easy way to remember: the larger the rod/shield =, the more natural the curl, and the smaller the rod/shield =, the more dramatic the curl.

The table below provides a rough guide for selecting sizing based on the client’s natural lash length:

Lash lengthRod/shield size

To learn more about the differences between rods and shields and to select the right ones, access the resources linked:

Once you have selected your rod/shield, double-check that you have the correct size by placing it on the client’s lid and brushing up the hairs with a mascara wand or spoolie. If lashes extend beyond the rod/shield, then you will need to go up a size. If lashes are only sitting a third of the way up the rod/shield, go down a shield size. It is always better to double-check the size at this stage before moving on to the next step!

Step 3: Apply the eye pads and rod/shields

With your rod/shield chosen, the next step is to start the application. The first step in this process is applying an eye pad to the lower eye area. You will want to make sure that this is placed over the lower lashes to ensure that they do not come into any contact with solutions and so they keep out of your way. There are a range of eye pads available on the market, and we suggest not skimping on quality! Cheap eye pads can be really uncomfortable, too sticky or not sticky enough. You need the eye pads to be sticky enough to stay in place, but not so sticky that you are ripping the skin or lashes out. You can also go really top end and get eye pads which also provide nourishment and hydration treatment, although this is not essential.

You may think it is easy positioning eye pads, but it really isn’t! Like any new skill, practice makes perfect, so you will be able to nail perfect placement the more you practice. Eye pads can be easily trimmed, so if you have a client with smaller eyes, don’t be afraid to make some adjustments for a more comfortable fit.

Watch the videos below to see how you can apply the pads:

As you saw in the videos, you want to make sure that the bottom lashes are covered, but you don’t want to go too close to the waterline as the eye pads do slightly shift upwards when the eyes are closed. You will want to aim for about a 2mm distance from the waterline so that the eye pad does not cause any irritation, but the lower lashes are covered. Once the pad is in place, you will also want to make sure that none of the upper lashes are trapped in the eye pad. This can sometimes happen, and it will usually occur with lashes in the outer corner. You can simply use a mascara wand or microfibre brush to lift out any upper lashes. Always confirm with your client that the eye pad placement is comfortable before you start your service.

Once the eye pad is in place, the next step is to fix your rods/shields in place. To do this, first, check the direction of your rods/shields! Some rods have coloured ends, and while you might think that you would match them in the inner corners or outer corners, this would actually result in different curl types.

Watch the videos linked for further explanation:

Once you have the direction confirmed, you will simply apply some of the adhesive provided in your kit to the back of the rod/shield and then place it on your client’s eyelid, holding firmly for 10 – 20 seconds. You want to get as close to the lash line as possible and ensure that there are no gaps and that there is no drooping:

Correct placement
Incorrect placement

If you also perform any other lash services, ensure that your adhesives are clearly marked and separated! You would not want to use lash extension glue or strip lash glue instead of lash lift adhesive, so make sure that you triple-check what glue you are using. Sometimes you might see lash artists using micro-pore tape under the lash rod/shield, over the eyebrow, across the eyelid region or even in place of eye pads. For some reason, lash artists just love a bit of micropore tape! We recommend only using micropore tape if you need a bit of a lift to the lid for a more mature client or someone with very hooded eyes, although you could use your fingers to lift if needed. Other than those situations, it really isn’t necessary. Plus, micropore tape is quite sticky and can actually dry out the lid.

Step 4: Set the lash hairs in place

Once the rod/shield is in place, the next step is to start applying the adhesive to the top of the rod/shield and then begin manipulating the lashes onto the rod. You must always do this in small sections and do one eye at a time. To get the hairs onto the rod, you can use a range of tools, including a Y-comb, lash isolators, lash wands, lash combs, specific lash lift tools and some people even use toothpicks, although we recommend you leave your toothpicks in your martini olives where they belong!

Getting the lashes onto the rod/shield can be a bit difficult at first, but with practice and patience, you will get the hang of it. It is critical that you take your time in this step because how the lashes are positioned on the shield will be how they will remain at the end of the service. The goal of this step is to ensure that the lashes are separated and fixed firmly to the rod/shield.

To see a range of techniques, check out the videos linked:

Step 5: Apply lifting cream and allow to process

Once your client’s lashes are fixed to the rod/shield, you can then begin adding the lifting cream (step 1) solution to the lashes. As you learned previously, you usually only apply from the base and to about 2/3 of the way up. The reason for this is the bulk of the lift happens at the base and mid-section of the lash, and the ends of our lashes are the weakest part, so where you can avoid using solution, try and do so. Some lash solutions do require the full lash to be coated, so be sure to check your kit. When applying the lifting cream, you will want to work quickly as the activation starts straight away. Be sure to set your timer for processing as soon as you have completed both eyes.

For clients with coarser and/or longer lashes, you may need to process for a little bit longer. If you over-process, your client’s lashes may look frizzy, or you could split the lashes. If you under-process, then the lift may not work. Some sources online offer ways to fix botched lash lifts. If the cuticle of the lash has been damaged, there is little that can be done to repair it. If you follow the instructions on your kit and use the correct techniques, you will get gorgeous lashes each and every time!

Step 6: Remove lifting cream

When the time is up, you can then begin the remove the lifting cream. To do this, you can use a cotton tip or a dry applicator. Start at the base of the lash and shimmy upward, ensuring you get all the product off. You may even find using a slight rolling technique helps. You must ensure that all of the cream is removed from the lashes before you move on to the next step.

Fun fact: Most people are surprised to hear that our eyelashes require the same tender care as our hair does. On average, only one of ten women who were asked if they wash and condition their eyelashes confirmed that they do so. In fact, most people do not realize that our lashes require regular washing and conditioning, just like our hair. When not properly cared for, eyelashes could become damaged, develop various diseases and experience higher than normal shedding.

Step 7: Apply neutraliser, allow for processing and then remove

Once the lifting cream has been removed, you then apply the neutraliser, using the same techniques as applying the lifting cream, but with clean cotton tips or applicators. As with the lifting cream, be sure to get all of the neutraliser off before moving on to the next step. If the client wants a tinting service, you will do this after this step. If not, then you will move on to step 9 (step 3 of your kit) – the moisturising serum.

Step 8: Apply tint (changing under eye pad or remove altogether)

If your client has opted for a lash tint as well, you have two options. The first option is to remove the existing eye pad and replace it with a fresh one (ensuring the pad is below the lower lashes) and apply tint to the lashes while they are still on the rod/shield and then the lower lash line. Alternatively, you can remove the shield and tint the upper and lower lash line together. You can also remove the eye pad altogether and use a cotton round while tinting to prevent transfer. It doesn’t matter which option you choose as it comes down to preference.

You may see some lash artists only tinting the upper lashes on the rod and then not doing the lower lashes. This might be ok for clients with super dark lashes but will not be suitable for our blonde and red-haired clients. Imagine coming out of a lash service with only half the job done! When choosing colours of tint, your client will most likely ask for darker colour mixes such as dark brown, blue/black or black. As you learned earlier, there are loads of different colours available, so consult with your client and let them choose.

Fun fact: The 1930s “lash beautifier” Lash Lure was a cosmetic dye meant for eyelashes and eyebrows. In effect, it should’ve given women darker, fuller, and more beautiful lashes and brows – and for some women, it did just that. For other women, however, Lash Lure was a beauty nightmare. The most famous Lash Lure victim had no idea that eyebrow dye would change the course of her life. After she plucked her eyebrows out, she had a salon paint the area with Lash Lure to create the illusion of full, dark brows. Since her skin had open wounds from plucking, the Lash Lure caused her to develop a Staph infection. Her eyes soon swelled shut, she developed a fever, and within a week, she had a serious case of conjunctivitis. On the 8th day of battling her infections from Lash Lure, she died.

When you are mixing colours, it is always good to do this in a mixing dish, and you must always follow the instructions for each product. Processing times and the ratio of dye and developers will vary from product to product. In turn, always make sure you know exactly what you need to mix and how long the dye needs to stay on. Unlike applying the lifting lotion, when applying tints, you will want to make sure that the entire lash is coated, being careful not to touch the skin.

To see some lash tints in action, watch the videos linked

As you saw in the videos, you can remove the tint with damp cotton rounds or damp cotton tips. Be careful not to over-saturate your cotton rounds as you want to limit the amount of moisture on the lashes. The biggest enemy to the perfect curl is water! When applying lifting cream, the neutraliser or tints do so in a neat and orderly fashion. Slapping the product on is not only wasteful, but you also waste product and increase the risk of chemicals entering your client’s eyes.

Check out the videos below and see if you can identify some errors in the application process:

As you saw in the first video, the eye pad placement was super dodgy (lifting in parts), and the lash artist rested the solution on the eye pad! This technique is absolutely asking for trouble. There are loads of little containers and dishes you can use as a lash artist to help you decant the product you need when you need it. Blobbing products on the client is definitely not advisable!   

Let’s just say that the client in the second video is lucky the lash artist kept the eye pads on! There might be a little bit of transfer onto the eye pad when removing the tint, but your tint application should not look how it does in the video – this is just sloppy work and is more likely to enter the clients eyes.

If your client just wants a lash tint without the lift, then you cleanse the eye area and apply an eyepad just as you would for a lift, and then just apply and remove the tint.

Step 8: Apply moisturising cream

Also marketed as ‘lash botox’, the final step (step 3 in your kit) is to apply the moisturising serum. When you think about it, at this point, you have essentially broken down your client’s lashes, rebuilt them, and then you have dyed them (if they opted for a tint). Applying the moisturising serum at the end acts as a mask for the lashes. You can also sell moisturising serums as an aftercare product to your clients so that they can continue to keep their lashes healthy and strong in between services.

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