Once in a while, we get a phone call from a lash extension technician because their adhesives are seizing up the moment an extension is dipped in it. This used to happen more often in the very early 2000s, before Brazilian hair straightening products were an option to high-ammonia straightening products. Unfortunately, ammonia-containing hair products cause a chemical reaction with cyanoacrylate, the main component in lash extension adhesives, that causes the adhesive to begin solidifying almost from the moment it leaves the bottle. Now that bleach and the double-process are having a moment, more lash stylists in full-service hair salons are finding themselves in the midst of chemical warfare with the hairstylists with whom they share salon space
Can’t we all get along? We can, however, if ammonia levels in salon air (even if lashes are being done in a separate room) are high enough to cause this kind of chemical reaction, that’s a good indication that ammonia levels in the building are too high for healthy human occupancy. So, what should you do? First off, be a good friend and share this information with your co-workers who are doing hair. Don’t accuse anyone of using products that are too strong. This is a ventilation problem that is probably hurting them more than the lash stylist. It’s a topic worth kindly discussing with your landlord so that he/she can be sure they’re also protected and not liable. You might be working in a space with the kind of ventilation found on airplanes, which recycles the same air from room to room without fresh air being allowed in or chemical fumes let out.
Certain types of air purifiers can help a bit if the problem is not severe, but a high-quality one that filters chemicals (not just dust, pollen, etc.) can be pricey. If the problem isn’t severe and/or you’re stuck in a lease and can’t get any help, there are a few tricks that can help until you can find a healthier workspace. See if your landlord and/or co-workers might be willing to share in the cost of a purifier that works on chemicals (AirIQTM filters work on chemical fumes). Switch over to an adhesive formulated for lash extension beginners who must work slowly while they are still getting used to proper form, hand positioning and spreading adhesive without air pockets. NovaLash’s Sensitive Eyes AdhesiveTM
is made for beginners, is rubber-toughened, non-toxic and dries slowly.
Symptoms of ammonia inhalation
include olfactory fatigue, AKA “nose blindness”, meaning that the more prolonged the exposure to it, the more unable one becomes to detect its odor, headaches, dizziness, vision changes, tightness in the chest, respiratory irritation, nausea and vomiting.