Being hygienic is the single most important thing you mustbe as a lash artist. Poor hygiene can lead to serious eye infections, like eye mites for instance so it’s not something to take lightly. Lash artistry deals with areas around the eyes - some of the most delicate parts of our bodies - so it really is essential to follow best practices.
Being a hygienic lash artist is something that requires the right knowledge, commitment and self-discipline to master. Hopefully, if you’re a certified lash artist you’ve already been taught the required sanitation and sterilization processes. But, just in case, in this article we’re going to cover everything you need to know to achieve the right levels of hygiene in your salon, starting with some of the basics.
In a nutshell sanitation, disinfection and sterilization are different levels of cleaning. The lowest level being sanitizing and the highest being sterilizing.
Here’s a couple of excerpts from the FDA to explain their definition of disinfection & sterilization:
Disinfection: “The destruction of the most recognized pathogenic microorganisms, but not necessarily all microbial forms, such as bacterial spores”.
Sterilization: “A process used to render a product free of all forms of viable microorganisms”.
Another way of looking at it is that disinfection kills 99.99% whereas sterilization kills 99.9999%. This might not seems like a big difference, but that extra 0.0099% can include some potentially dangerous organisms!
So as we can see, sterilization is better than disinfection but what do we, as lash artists, need to do?
Sterilization is generally only required if you’re going to penetrate the skin. As we don’t do that when applying lash extensions, we only need to disinfect.
However, and this is important to note, if you have an extra bad day and end up stabbing yourself or your client with your tweezers then they will have to then be sterilized as they will have remnants of blood on them, and disinfecting them just won’t cut it.
If you don’t have the proper equipment to sterilize them (i.e. an autoclave), then unfortunately the best advice is to toss them out! Obviously you want to avoid this at all costs!
Disinfecting the tools we re-use on a day-to-day basis is incredible important. The good news is that it’s very cheap and easy to do. Here’s what we suggest:
It’s best to have a few sets of tweezers handy as you won’t always have time to sterilize your equipment between appointments, so when one set is being sterilized you can get out your other set and get started right away. No time wasted!
Sterilizing your re-usable tools is not the only thing you can do to become a hygienic lash tech. Here is some more useful advice and information:
We should all be aware how important it is to wash your hands. Wash them between clients with an antibacterial soap for a minimum of 20 seconds and dry thoroughly. Hand sanitizer is an acceptable alternative to antibacterial soap.
Keeping your workspace and your tool storage area clean is essential to keeping good hygiene. Clean any surfaces with antibacterial wipes regularly and ensure all disposable tools like micro brushes, mascara wands, eye pads etc. are tidied and thrown out immediately.
Following on from above, we now know that it requires some work to disinfect tools between clients to avoid cross-contamination. Take advantage of the convenience of disposable tools and remove the need for disinfecting to ensure you’re being hygienic.
Some examples of disposable tools are: flocking applicators, Q-tips, micro brushes, under eye patches, tape, glue rings and treatment table paper.
Just remember that no matter what, you should never ever re-use a disposable brush or tool – always dispose of them as soon as your appointment has finished!
OK this one falls more into your service as a lash tech rather than being generally hygienic. However we don’t only cleanse our clients lashes so we have great retention. There are some horrible disease-causing germs that can hang around in unwashed, dirty lashes so it’s always essential to cleanse your clients’ lashes when you see them. You should also encourage them to cleanse regularly in-between appointments as part of their aftercare routine too!
Not only will a proper face mask protect you from some of the adhesive fumes we’re exposed to all day every day, it will also help to prevent any unwanted particles from passing between you and your client. Disgusting I know, but it happens!
Maybe this is a surprise to you but, the one place that harbors lots and lots of germs is door knobs. Your clients likely come from all different walks of life and, let’s be honest, we don’t know how hygienic they are.
Everybody has to use the door handle when entering or exiting your salon, so make sure that it’s clean to prevent the transmission of germs between you and your clients.
The key to staying on top of all of this is keeping organized.
Track your tools so you know what has and hasn’t been used and what need disinfecting before re-using. Keep them separate from your clean tools so there’s no mix up.
Keep cleaning supplies on hand at all times –a day shouldn’t pass without you questioning whether or not you need to stock up on cleaning supplies. Do you have enough disinfectant to last the next few days? Do you have antibacterial wipes for your surfaces?
Knowing that you have cleaning supplies ready to go will set your mind at ease and allow you to continue practicing your good hygiene procedures as normal. Run out, and you risk having to turn away clients.
Keep stock of disposable tools. The same applies to disposable tools – don’t run the risk of running out and having to cancel appointments!
It’s not always easy to remember everything you need to do as a lash tech, especially when you’re just starting out. However hygiene is an area where you just can’t afford to notknow what you’re doing.
Get it right and you’ll have a clean salon and a great footing to build your business. Get it wrong and your business is at risk.
Remember a clean professional salon means happy, healthy clients! And happy clients will recommend you to all their friends!
As always, if you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear them. Just comment below.
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