Secret Recipe to Long-Lasting Lashes

Achieving great lash retention is essential for the success of your lash business. Not only does it keep your clients happy, it also enhances your business's reputation and attracts new clients who want to experience the same outstanding results. While good retention doesn’t happen overnight, with dedicated practice, skills, and knowledge of the products, tools, techniques, and science involved, you can achieve incredible lash retention.

Lash retention depends on various factors, such as lash preparation, lash porosity, adhesive quality and usage, application speed, application skill, and aftercare. Although client aftercare is critical, the main factor that determines lash retention is the lash artist’s skill and technique.  

Fortunately, we have identified the key factors that contribute to excellent lash retention, and we are excited to share actionable tips and recommendations to help you improve your retention and impress your clients. Get ready to take your lash business to the next level!

What Does Poor Retention Look Like?

Poor retention is when the lash extensions are falling and popping off prematurely without being attached to the natural lash. This results in the client’s lash extension set lasting for a very short period of time. Lash extensions should be shed naturally along with the client’s own lashes.

During a lash appointment, if you notice that some extensions are already popping off when you’re touching or brushing them, it is a clear sign that the lash extension set will not last long. When extensions are falling off even during the appointment, this is a red flag that the bond is subpar. 

The Lash Cycle - How Long Can Lash Extensions Last For? 

The lash cycle is the natural process of growth and shedding of our eyelashes. It consists of three phases: the anagen (growth) phase, the catagen (transition) phase, and the telogen (rest) phase. For the average person, the lash cycle lasts for approximately 90 days.

During the anagen phase, the lash is still connected to the follicle. Lashes appear as baby lashes that actively grow. Next comes the catagen phase, which is a short transition phase. During this phase, the lash stops growing and the follicle shrinks. The final stage is the telogen phase, also known as the resting phase, which can last up to two to three months. During this stage, the lash remains but is not growing. Eventually, the old lash will shed, and a new lash will take its place. At any time, we have lashes in every phase of the cycle. This is why it is completely normal to lose 3-5 natural lashes daily. 

PRO Tip: Never forget to educate new clients on the natural cycle so that they expect extensions to shed along with their natural lashes. You’d be surprised how many clients assume that lashes rarely shed on their own. 

If lash extensions are applied properly, they can last as long as the natural lash that they are attached to. Clients with long lash cycles will have better, longer retention than clients with a shorter lash cycle. This is because their lashes grow much slower and stay on the eyelid longer prior to shedding. Some clients will have extensions hanging on even after 8 weeks! 

Lash Prep 

Preparing the natural lashes before applying lash extensions is crucial for achieving great retention. It is essential to ensure that the client’s lashes are clean and free of any makeup, dirt, oil, or debris to allow for proper bonding of the lash extensions. 

Always educate clients to come in with clean lashes and no makeup around the eye area. 

Even if your client comes in with seemingly clean lashes, it is necessary to cleanse them again at the appointment time. The best result is achieved when you use a lash cleanser specifically formulated for use with lash extensions. Our Balanced Lash Cleanser is a great option, as it's gentle, effective, and pH balanced. Plus, it's tear-free, so it won't irritate your client’s eyes.

When applying lash extensions, take the time to prep the natural lashes properly. This will help you achieve long-lasting lashes for your clients.

Lash Porosity

Lash retention can be influenced by a unique factor of your client, known as lash porosity. The degree of porosity in their lashes is primarily determined by genetic factors, but can also be impacted by exposure to chemicals and heat. Lash porosity is determined by the condition of the cuticle layer, which is the outermost layer of the lashes. Clients with less porous lashes have cuticles that are tightly bound together, resulting in a glossy or shiny appearance. In contrast, porous lashes have cuticles that are less tightly bound, giving them a matte appearance. Adhesives adhere better to surfaces that are more porous, hence, clients with more porous lashes tend to have better lash retention than those with less porous lashes.

Understanding the Science Behind Cyanoacrylate Adhesive

Lash extensions adhesive plays a major role in the longevity of the eyelash extensions so let’s dive into details of the science behind your lash adhesive, and how it affects your retention. 

What’s in your Lash Adhesive?

Most lash extensions adhesives on the market, and the ones you’ll find at The Lash Shop are made up of a few key ingredients: cyanoacrylate, carbon black, and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). The most important ingredient is cyanoacrylate because it’s responsible for the instant adhesion and bonding power. It is a type of fast-drying adhesive that is used in a variety of industries. It's a clear, colorless liquid that polymerizes quickly in presence of moisture, creating a very strong and solid bond. 

Carbon black gives black adhesive the distinct black color. PMMA is used to improve elasticity, and strengthens the bond for long-lasting retention.  

How does Cyanoacrylate Work?

Cyanoacrylate adhesives work by a chemical process known as anionic polymerization. In the adhesive bottle, cyanoacrylate is in monomers which are very small individual molecules. When cyanoacrylate comes in contact with moisture, a chemical reaction occurs. The cyanoacrylate monomers begin to cross-link or polymerize, meaning that they form long chains of molecules that create a solid-state bond between two surfaces. The curing process is therefore activated by moisture in the air. 

Temperature & Humidity Affecting Lash Adhesive

Since cyanoacrylate forms a chemical reaction in the presence of moisture, it should not be a shock that the humidity and temperature in the room will have a significant impact on the adhesive’s curing speed and performance. 

Higher temperature and humidity will increase the curing speed, meaning that the adhesive will polymerize much quicker. During the summer months, when the humidity and temperature are higher, you will notice that adhesive will cure faster. 

PRO Tip: Switch to an adhesive that cures slower during this time, such as Eternity (low humidity) or Ionik (high humidity). This ensures that you will have enough time to apply the extensions before the adhesive is cured. 

Lower temperature and humidity slows the curing process. During the winter months when it is cool and dry, you may find that the adhesive takes much longer to cure. 

PRO Tip: Switch to an adhesive that cures faster such as Infinity or Clarity (low humidity), or Kovalent (high humidity)

Another way that artists can work better with their adhesive is to alter the temperature and humidity of their lashing environment. 

PRO Tip: If the adhesive is curing too quickly, you can use a dehumidifier, and turn on the air conditioning. If the adhesive is curing too slowly, you can do the opposite, which is to use a humidifier and turn on the heat. 

Choosing the Right Adhesive for You

One of the most common causes of poor lash retention is using the wrong adhesive. Many artists use adhesives that cure too quickly for their lashing speed, leading to issues during application. This results in the adhesive curing partially or even entirely before the extension is applied.

For a strong bond between the extension and the natural lash, the adhesive must be in a liquid state during application. One of the ways to identify this is by the adhesive's appearance. If it looks shiny and glossy, it's still liquid, but if it turns slightly matte, it may have partially cured. Another way to tell is whether or not you’re able to slightly shift the extension the moment you apply it. If the adhesive seems to have solidified already, you will be unable to alter the angle of the extension even slightly. 

PRO Tip: We recommend that new lash artists use a slower-curing adhesive, such as Eternity (low humidity) or Ionik (high humidity), until they become more experienced. This provides them with an extra second or two to attach the extension correctly, leading to better results.

PRO Tip: Always isolate the natural lash first before dipping your extension into the glue drop. This way, you will be able to apply the extension immediately after dipping it into the adhesive. 

How to Properly Use & Store Adhesive

On top of choosing the right adhesive for you, it is also important to use premium lash adhesive, and use them correctly. To guarantee maximum effectiveness, we suggest only purchasing adhesive that you can use within 2-3 months. This ensures that your adhesives are fresh, and will work properly. 

PRO Tip: 

Shake your adhesive by hand or with an adhesive mixer prior to each use (30 seconds - 1 minute)

Dispense 1-2 drops of adhesive 

Wipe nozzle with an adhesive wipe

Use a new drop of adhesive at least every 30 minutes (or whenever you notice that the adhesive is getting thicker)

Proper storage is critical to maintaining the adhesive's quality. 

PRO Tip: We highly recommend using the Adhesive Capsule to store your adhesive, which has a unique vacuum function that prevents exposure to moisture in the air. The capsule can also help you monitor the temperature, humidity, and the date since the last opening of the capsule.

To guarantee freshness, replace your adhesive every 3-5 weeks after opening. At The Lash Shop, we order adhesive in small batches every month, ensuring that our adhesives are fresh when they arrive at your doorstep. Our adhesives have a shelf life of six months when unopened.

Dipping into the Adhesive

The amount of adhesive used is another critical factor that affects lash retention. It's essential to avoid using too little or too much adhesive. Using too little adhesive will result in a poor bond, while excessive adhesive will lead to stickies and damage.

PRO Tip: When dipping the extension into the adhesive, it's crucial to be mindful of the speed of dipping. Dipping too quickly can cause the extension to pick up excessive amounts of adhesive, while dipping too slowly will result in too little adhesive being picked up.

Moreover, it's necessary to keep in mind where you dip the extension into the adhesive, and how far you dip into the adhesive. It's advisable to dip towards the middle of the adhesive drop since this is where the adhesive is freshest. Avoid dipping from the bottom or top of the drop where the adhesive has already begun to polymerize. This is where the adhesive will be more stringy and tacky, leading to poor retention. 

PRO Tip: When dipping classic extensions, dip 2-3 mm of the base of the extension into your adhesive drop. When dipping a volume fan, dip 1-2mm (no more than the base of the volume fan), so that the adhesive does not travel up and close the fan. 

Lash Application

Proper lash attachment is one of the most important factors that affect lash retention. The strength and longevity of the lashes is greatly determined by the quality of the bond. Getting perfect lash attachment takes practice, but once you master it - your retention will be off the roof! Here are some of the requirements for a strong, solid bond:

The extension is applied seamlessly onto the natural lash. No lifted bases.

There is a large bonding surface between the extension and natural lash. (~2-3mm+)

The extension is applied when adhesive is still wet.

The extension is only attached to ONE natural lash

The extension is wrapped around the natural lash when appropriate

Another factor that is important to keep in mind while applying extensions is to have the extension applied approximately 0.5-1mm away from the lash line. If the extension is applied too far out, it will resemble a grown out lash extension that can start twisting and turning shortly after being applied. 


Client aftercare is also crucial in maintaining the longevity and appearance of lash extensions. Always take the time to educate your clients about how to take care of their lash extensions to prolong retention. 

Avoid picking, pulling, or rubbing the eyes excessively

This is highly important in maintaining their lash extensions, and the health of their natural lashes. Not only can these bag habits causes premature falling off of the extensions, but they can also damage their own lashes, leading to gaps in the lash line. 

Clean the extensions daily using a lash-specific cleanser, such as Balanced Lash Cleanser

Keeping the extensions clean not only improves lash retention, it also maintains the health of the eye area. Neglecting to clean their lashes properly can lead to poor retention, and the accumulation of dirt, oil, and bacteria that can cause infections. 

Book regular lash refills within 2-4 weeks after the initial appointment

To maintain the appearance of the lash extensions and health of their natural lashes, you should be educating clients on the timeline for lash refills. Educate clients on WHY it is important to get lashes refilled in a timely manner. Clients must understand that refills remove grown-out extensions to prevent twisting and turning, and to avoid discomfort and an unappealing appearance. Booking clients for refills ahead of time will also improve client retention (getting you closer to being fully booked!) and to ensure they don't miss the optimal time for refills. Educating clients on the significance of refills will keep their lashes looking exceptionally beautiful and healthy.

In Summary

Achieving amazing lash retention is crucial for any lash artist because it plays a significant role in keeping clients satisfied and building a solid business reputation. The better the retention, the more likely clients are to return and establish a long-term relationship with you as their ride-or-die lash artist! However, achieving outstanding lash retention is not an easy feat, especially for beginners. It requires practice, skills, and knowledge of the products, tools, techniques and science involved. 

To achieve the best possible lash retention, it’s not a matter of luck, but rather ensuring that you use the best products and execute every step of the lash application process correctly. By following our actionable tips and recommendations, we can guarantee that your clients’ retention will significantly improve, leaving them even more impressed with your work! 

If you LOVED this resource, then you’ll want to learn MORE with us! We offer award-winning courses online and in-person for lash extensions and lash lifts. Our courses are regularly updated (we help YOU stay up-to-date with new industry changes), and you’ll have lifetime access to the online materials to learn at your own pace. PLUS, you’ll unlock perks such as lifetime support and exclusive product discounts. If you’re ready to upgrade your skills, and take your business to new heights, sign up for The Lash Shop courses!