Patch testing for eyelash extensions is always a debated subject within the lash industry. When it comes to patch testing for eyelash extensions, many insurance companies simply say to follow the manufacturers guidelines. However, you will also see that many manufacturers say to follow insurance companies’ guidelines for patch testing for eyelash extensions so it can be very confusing. The sad fact is that neither are lash specialists so have little understanding of how and why reactions occur as well as painful symptoms clients can experience if they have an allergic reaction to a set of eyelash extensions.
So, when the question is asked: “do we need to patch test for eyelash extensions?” it is us as the “lash experts” that should be setting the standards, not the insurance companies or manufacturers. And what is it that we are patch testing eyelash extensions for? It is to conform to insurance (for those companies that do require eyelash extension patch testing) or is it for client safety as this will dictate how you patch test?
Here at Eyelash Excellence, we produce some of the safest Eyelash Extensions adhesives as well as other cosmetic based products. Being based in the UK, we still fall under strict EU regs which govern the quality of the products that we are “legally’ permitted to retail.
We avoid any cosmetic product that is produced in Far East unsafe due to the poor ingredients and overall safety of these products which sadly dominate the industry.
Despite our adhesives being some of the safest in the world, we still (along with our manufacturers) recommend patch testing for eyelash extensions. Yes, our products have been certified as safe, however there is always the possibility that a client could react, just how any person can react to any product, liquid, food etc.
However, it is not just the adhesive we should be testing for when we do a patch test for eyelash extensions, we should be patch testing for every product we are going to be using (cleansers, saline, primers, ph balancers, lashes, pads, tape, de-bonders etc) . As stated above, a person can react to any product, therefore we would be negligent to only patch test for the eyelash adhesive.
When we apply a set of eyelash extensions, we apply the products to the eyes. The eye one of the most vulnerable, delicate and sensitive parts of the body. Injury to the eyes (even minor) is serious. The eyes are used for sight, without sight humans are restricted.
Other parts of the body that provide less function, can tolerate injuries or wounds from minor to major, however the eyes cannot. A rash, sting, or reaction to a product applied to the arm is likely to be less serious than if it occurred to the eye.
Eyes provide a moist/porous part of the body where ingestion of products can occur and enter the body, therefore any product applied near or on this area has the ability to quickly and easily ingested.
Many argue that patch tests for eyelash extensions are useless due to such a minimal amount of product being applied at the test, as well as sensitivities/reactions most often being an over exposure to products over time.
Therefore, patch tests are believed to rarely be a true indication as to whether that client will react.
However, there are clients that “do” react to patch tests, so imagine the severity of a reaction if that client had not been tested. For this reason, we must patch test for eyelash extensions – simple!
New clients: Every new client, despite wearing eyelash extension previously, must be patch tested. Not all products are the same, even the adhesives. Many are made up of a cocktail of different ingredients therefore clients can happily wear one adhesive but not another.
If clients have been absent for over 6 months or have changes to their medical history then patch tests are advised. The bodies’ immunity levels can change making clients more susceptible to sensitives to exposure to any product.
The above information is the reason why we MUST patch test for eyelash extensions, using all the products that the artist will be working with during the treatment and never just the adhesive.
We as the experts have a duty of care to protect our clients. Our professional training teaches us that reactions to eyelash extensions can happen, therefore we must put these patch testing for eyelash extension systems in place to protect client health.
Do disclaimers for “not patch testing for eyelash extensions” stand up in court?
The answer can be both yes and no and is still a very grey area, and this is the issue.
The client understood the risks of refusing an eyelash extensions patch test but still went ahead with the treatment and signed a disclaimer. The client had a reaction to eyelash extensions, understood they had signed a disclaimer and doesn’t take any further action.
In this scenario having the disclaimer worked.
The client understood the risks of refusing an eyelash extensions patch test but still went ahead with the treatment and signed a disclaimer. The client had a reaction to eyelash extensions, however despite signing the disclaimer, felt that the artist was at fault, due to application or the products used. Client also understands that we now live in a compensation culture as well as a “no win no fee” which makes it very easy to take cases to court.
The client instructs a good solicitor who takes the stance that as a professional lash artist, they should know the associated risks, as such had a duty of care to always patch test for eyelash extensions.
Although the client signed the disclaimer, as a professional this may not stand up in court. The result of the case could depend on the solicitor as well as the judge’s opinion and severity of the reaction. This is also where they could take a detailed look at the ingredients in your products and the safety certifications of your products. Do you know that what you are using is actually safe and approved? Refer to our other blog on the use of safe products.
How much is an eye worth?
If you google eye injuries caused by negligence, you’ll see that claims can be in the many thousands. Ask yourself, can you find that sum of money if you ended up in court? Is it worth the risk to not patch test for eyelash extensions?
We do hope this information assists as to why we MUST be patch testing, despite an uneducated industry which sadly still tells many it is acceptable not to.
Unsure how to patch test, see our video below where Frankie demonstrates this during one of her beginner’s courses: