#16 - Trouble-Shooting Retention

Trouble-Shooting Retention Issues


Every lash glue currently on the market throughout the world has a cyanoacrylate base.  Cyanoacrylate is the name used to describe a family of glues which h
ave a special chemical formula. Also in this family is superglue, instant glue, nail glue, some medial glues etc.

Different chemicals & ingredients may be added to the cyanoacrylate to make it faster or slower drying times, to make it black or clear, to have a high retention or low retention etc. But the base is always cyanoacrylate.

In very simple terms the cyanoacrylate sets/cures (goes hard) by tiny particles of moisture almost moving into the glue and locking (polymerising) with the cyanoacrylate particles.

Not enough moisture = takes a long time to dry.

Too much moisture = dried too fast (sometimes before you get the extension onto the natural lash) & can make your glue go ‘gluggy' too quickly.

For a full understanding of your glue and exactly how it works, we recommend you read this blog

How to Get Longer Life From Your Glue

 Here is a simple checklist you can run through if you are having a problem with retention:

1. How did you store the glue?
    • The best way to store your glue (regardless of brand) is with the least amount moisture & heat in it’s environment.

    Some options & tips on how to store your glue

    • foil resealable bag with silica sachet enclosed
    • in rice
    • cool & dry place (like your draw etc)
    • lid tightly screwed on at all times with no build up of dried glue around the nozzle
    2. How old is your glue?

      - Every lash glue currently on the market throughout the world has a cyanoacrylate base, which unfortunately does not have a very long shelf life.

      Many glues available in Australia have a 6 month expiry date on them. However this 6 months is with the lid ON & stored correctly. Once you have unscrewed the lid, you really will only have 3-8 weeks before the glue becomes unworkable (how long will depend on your storage, humidity/moisture level, how often you open it etc).

      3. Is your glue dark? Check the consistency.

      Glue should be a nice dark, rich colour & it should be of a medium thickness.

      It should NOT be any of the following;

      • watery
      • have clear parts (although sometimes if you see clear parts, you just need to give it a jolly good shake)
      • sticky
      • gluggy
      • have a ‘white powder’ around the nozzle/ lid
      • a high overwhelming fume
      4. Humidity & Temperature in your room/environment.

      Most glues will have their ideal humidity and temperature range on the instructions. If not, then ask your supplier for it. You can easily measure the humidity and temp by purchasing a measuring thing called a hygrometer (available at Bunnings in teh thermometer aisle etc).

      If you need some tips in how to change by increasing or decreasing your humidity level, have a read of this blog here.

      Increasing and Decreasing Humidity in Your Room

      • does your room humidity level change too much during the day?
      • does your room temperature change too much during the day?
      • are you in an environment where you have not enough or too much air flow?
      5. Chemical reactions?

      Sometimes other chemicals in your environment can also effect your glue. Some typical ones are;

      • chemicals from hair dye (if you work in a hairdressing salon for example)
      • storing your glue right next to primers
      6. Application faults with the glue
      • taking too long to put the extension onto the natural lash (the glue has dried too much and partially set before it is on the lash)
      • not frequently changing the glue dot. Ideally it should be changed every 10-20mins depending on your humidity level etc.
      • not enough glue
      • too much glue
      • not dipping your extension into the centre of the glue dot (the rim and outside has dried too much)

      See this video on proper glue application.

      Client Issues:

      It is not always the technicians fault but can also be the clients fault for low retention. It is always advised to first look at what you as a technician may be doing and if that doesn’t resolve it, then look to what the client may or may not be doing.

      • does the client have oily skin?
      • is the client pregnant? (the change in hormone levels etc can effect retention sometimes)
      • are they wearing heavy eye make, mascaras, excessively oily products on the lashes?
      • do they swim, sauna etc. a lot?
      • on medication?
      • having HRT (hormone replacement therapy)
      • cleaning their lashes regularly?


      Did you fully prep the lashes before you placed extensions on them?

      Incorrectly Applied:

      Another thing to look at was were the extensions (classic or volume) correctly applied, with the base of the extension firmly attached at the start of the natural lash? 

      Hope this helps.