It's an every lash technician's worst nightmare.
You get a client, do their lashes, you're both happy with a result and then... She messages you the next morning saying her eyes are swollen and red. She sends you a picture of her puffy eyes and asks for help.
What do you do??
First of all - keep calm. Unsatisfied clients are the part of your job and you'll face them sooner or later. Not all complaints are about glue reaction, but sometimes something goes wrong and the way you deal with it may cause your client to go away and never come back again. Respond to their messages/emails calmly and in professional way. Don't forget - your client trusted you with her eyes, she paid for a service and she needs to treated respectfully and professionally.
So how to handle the situation?
- Saying 'sorry' shouldn't be even mentioned here, as presumably we all know that it's just polite to apologise, even if we did our best to make a client happy in the first place.
- Ask your client (if there is no picture attached) what exactly happened? What symptoms is she having?
Swollen, red, puffy eyes? Most likely a glue reaction or eye infection.
Itchy eyelids? "Feeling" lashes when blinking? Most probably it's not a glue reaction, but lash extensions that haven't been applied properly (too close to skin)
Bloodshot eyes but only on the bottom? Probably caused by gel eye pads that have moved up and got to a client's eyes (leaking gel)
Bloodshot eyes (complete bloodshot) may indicate that a client had her eyes half open, (not properly shut during procedure) and the eyes reacted to fumes of glue.
- Ask your client if the symptoms appeared next day, after the treatment, or later. If same or next day - it may mean glue reaction (or reaction to fumes or pads). If later, days after, it might be an eye infection (that includes: Blepharitis: swollen, itchy eyelids, red, watery eyes, and a burning sensation and Conjunctivitis: red/pink eyes, gritty feeling in the eyes, watery or thick discharge that builds up on the eyes at night, itchiness, abnormal amount of tears. Conjunctivitis is caused by a virus and is highly contagious. It can spread from one person to another quite easily by hand contact. If you don't sterilise your tweezers - they may spread viruses between clients.
- Think about what you may have done wrong during, or even before an application. And that includes skipping a patch test, which is a crucial part of an eyelash extension treatment. Patch test rules out glue allergies and should be performed at least 24h prior lash appointment. It's your responsibility to do a patch to each new client and every time you change your glue. Even clients who had their lashes done before may be allergic to your glue, so it's advisable to do a patch test before the appointment. It's said that allergic reaction to a glue can occur at any time, even after months of having lashes done, so even a patch test doesn't guarantee it won't happen in the future.
- Any chance you may have applied lashes too close to an eyelid? There always needs to be a gap (1-2mm) between a lash extension and skin. Neither lash nor glue should have any contact with the eyelids.
- If the eyelids are swollen and red - offer your client a free lash removal. It should be done as soon as possible to avoid further complications. In case of bloodshot eyes - you can reassure your client it should go down within a day or two. If it doesn't get worse - lash removal is not necessary.
- Advise her to see a doctor. Since you're a lash technician and NOT a doctor, you should not recommend any particular remedies (incl. antihistamines).
How to avoid issues in the future?
Make sure you follow the prep rules. That includes:
- Applying gel patches on lower eyelids, covering bottom lashes. Before - and during lash application - check whether patches are in the right place and if they don't slide up.
- Using disposable micro-brushes, one for each eye to avoid spreading potential eye infection.
- Sterilising your tweezers after each client. Wash them with soap and water. Place them into barbicide for 10 minutes. Wash again with soap and water. That will help avoiding spreading potential infections.
- Patch testing min. 24h before a lash appointment.
- Clients that reacted to a lash adhesive should not be having lash extensions in the future, as all lash glues contain Cyanoacrylate - the main ingredient that causes reactions.
- Using lash adhesive with low or no fumes. Try Dream Lashes Master-Pro. It's safe and has very low fumes.