Three weeks before Christmas 2018 I started to experience something I never thought would happen to me.
I had an allergic reaction to cyanoacrylate - the main ingredient in eyelash extension adhesive.
This was an absolute nightmare - as I apply lashes every day as a job!
Initially, I didn't identify what I was experiencing as an allergic reaction to the adhesive.
My eyelids started to become dry, and directly below the start of my brow developed a dry, red patch of skin.
I thought that maybe I was experiencing eczema or dermatitis - I'd never had either before, but that's what it appeared to be, and I was a major advocate of eye creams, so figured maybe I had developed a sensitivity to an ingredient in one of the products I had used.
So I ceased using all creams.
There was no improvement.
I consulted one of my clients who is a nurse, who suggested I apply hydrocortisone cream to alleviate the rash which was slowly spreading across my eyelids.
I purchased this - praying for a miracle.
All it did was burn, and irritate my skin. Zero improvement, if anything it made it worse.
A fortnight before Christmas, I was working additional hours to get everyone lashed before the festive season.
A weekend had just passed - and my eyelids, having had a 48 hour reprieve from the fumes that adhesive releases when it cures, had started to heal, and whilst were still raw, had improved considerably.
I, foolishly, thought this meant my body had figured out how to fight against whatever it had taken issue with.
Having not applied any eye creams or lash serums for a week, this day I chose to apply a lash serum.
I woke up with very swollen eyelids.
I was NOT thrilled.
I refrained from using any creams or lash serums for the following week, only to realise that the swelling would go down during the evening, but return the following day, meaning whatever I was reacting to, was still present, and causing a continued, and worsening reaction with each exposure.
The rash was back, and with each night passing, I would awaken with puffier eyes than the morning prior.
I began to think that maybe, the cause of this irritation was the adhesive.
Notice anything about the above video?
I would like to draw your attention to the fact I wasn't wearing any lash extensions.
I hadn't had any applied in well over a year - it was the exposure to the adhesive fumes at work that triggered this reaction.
Had I applied barrier cream to my eyelids daily I wouldn't be allergic to cyanoacrylate, as the function of a barrier cream is quite literally - to put a barrier between your skin and the fumes the adhesive produces, and protects you from reacting, as I have.
I have the typical kiwi attitude of 'She'll be right' however, which was a blatant error - do not underestimate the adhesive we work with, you can, and you will react with continued exposure.
It is absolutely essential that you protect yourself from the fumes emitted from this adhesive.
It was too late for me however - and I was VERY concerned.
I legitimately considered wearing googles for the rest of my career.
I couldn't stop doing lashes - I've been doing this for a decade, and I love applying lashes.
It's my creative outlet, and I adore transforming people into more confident versions of themselves - to quitting wasn't an option.
So I started searching for alternatives, and using myself as a guinea pig.
I attempt to see the silver lining in this by telling myself I am now proof that the lash world isn't dependant on cyanoacrylate based adhesives.
I wish I had protected myself from the fumes however, as I without a doubt put myself in harms way to find this solution.
But a solution, I have found.
Introducing; the worlds first cyanoacrylate free adhesive.
It is a World First, and formulated with Polyacrylates, Ethanol, Deionized Water, Benzoic Acid, and in the black version, Carbon Black.
The addition of a transparent version of this adhesive means that clients sensitive to carbon black as well as cyanoacrylate can now be lashed again.
I cannot endorse this adhesive enough.
Not only am I able to lash others - I can wear extensions myself!
I do, however, apply barrier cream daily.
Using this adhesive, my clients have experienced the best retention they have ever had whilst being lashed by me. They are coming back at 3/4 weeks with 70%+ lashes remaining - some having grown out to the very end of the natural lash.
Whilst this adhesive is incredible, and has allowed me to continue to work, prevention of this allergy is without a doubt better than a cure, so PLEASE protect yourselves.
Wear a mask, apply a barrier cream to yourself daily, and your clients at every appointment prior to lashing, purchase an extraction unit, and use the best quality adhesive you can find to give yourself the best possible chance at having a long, allergy free career.
*ANOTHER* adhesive without cyanoacrylate is available, and water based!
This makes it ideal for those who are allergic to the acrylate family.
I have bought in bulk, and it will be available through this link.
UPDATE 2 -
Jody from Galaxy Dreaming has reviewed this adhesive in her youtube channel.
UPDATE 3 -
The adhesive that was originally reviewed was CFB Golden Pearl.
Unfortunately, this adhesive has been discontinued, so I have sourced the manufacturer and am now selling it as the Ultimate Hold adhesive.