The Science Behind Lash Lifts: Understanding The Treatment Process

As a Lash Lift Technician, understanding the science behind the treatment you’re offering is really important. When working with chemical solutions, knowing exactly what it is that’s happening within the lash lift process is highly advised, and will go a long way for client trust, especially during consultations when they’re asking questions. So, we’ve broken down the science behind lash lifts in the simplest of ways to help you wrap your head around it and in turn, help your clients understand the process along the way!

Lash lift before and after

The Science of Hair Structure

To understand lash lifts, we must first understand the structure of hair. Eyelashes, like other human hair, are primarily composed of keratin, a fibrous protein. The strength and shape of hair are largely due to disulfide bonds between keratin molecules. These bonds are responsible for the natural curvature of your eyelashes.

Breaking and Reforming Disulfide Bonds

A lash lift changes the shape of these natural curves through a two-step chemical process. Here’s how each step works:

Breaking Down the Bonds

The first step in a lash lift involves applying a cream containing an active ingredient known as thioglycolate. Thioglycolate is a reducing agent that breaks the disulfide bonds in keratin. By breaking these bonds, the keratin molecules become less rigid and more malleable. This allows the eyelashes to be reshaped around a lash lift shield, setting them into a new shape. The efficiency of thioglycolate in breaking down these bonds without damaging the lashes is a key component of the lash lift’s effectiveness.

Lash Filler solution

Reforming the Bonds

Once the eyelashes are moulded around the lash lift shield into their new shape, a second cream, typically containing hydrogen peroxide, is applied. Hydrogen peroxide acts as an oxidising agent. It neutralises the thioglycolate and helps to reform the disulfide bonds in their new configuration. This "setting" process solidifies the lashes in their new curled state. The reformation of these bonds in a new shape is what gives the lash lift its lasting effect.

Factors Influencing the Lash Lift

Several factors can influence the effectiveness of a lash lift, including:

Lash Condition and Type: Thicker, coarser lashes may require longer treatment times or stronger solutions to achieve the desired curl.

Solution Strength and Exposure Time: The concentration of thioglycolate and the duration for which it is left on the lashes must be carefully controlled to prevent over-processing, which can lead to lash damage or breakage. Always follow the instructions given for the particular product or brand you are using. 

Technician Expertise: The solution application technique and the type of lash lift shield used can significantly affect the outcome. If you’re using a dish to distribute the solutions into, remember to use a glass or plastic dish, as metal mixing containers can cause a reaction which can alter the effectiveness of your products, useless. Skillful application ensures an even and desirable curl across all lashes.

Lash Lift Technician

Innovations in Lash Lift Chemistry

The industry continues to evolve with safer and more effective treatments. Innovations include:

Conditioning Agents: Some modern lash lift products, like InLei® Lash Filler, include conditioning agents like keratin, silk proteins, or collagen. These additives help to nourish the lashes during the chemical treatment, promoting health and preventing the damage that often occurs with standard lash lift solutions.

Variable Strength Solutions: In some cases, there may be different strengths of lash lift solutions that can accommodate various lash types and sensitivities, allowing for a more tailored and application, however, adjusting the timing of a lash lift solution has the same effect.

Understanding the detailed chemistry behind lash lifts allows Lash Technicians to optimise the procedure for each individual, ensuring not only the beauty of the results but also the health and safety of their clients' lashes. As the beauty industry grows, continuing education in these chemical processes and new innovations will be key to providing top-notch services.