Diane Lytle, owner, TheLashChick: Eyelash extensions are very lucrative. Clients love the instant gratification of thicker and longer lashes, and they don’t have to worry about smearing mascara or lashes falling off—once they get extensions, they don’t want to let go of them. The retention is 80 to 100 percent, which sets up a huge revolving cash flow for the technician and the spa. Guests will pre-book for lash fills and—based on the pro’s experience—top dollar can be charged.
Michelle Rath, owner, Sinful Lashes: Quality lash extensions look beautiful, feel weightless, and can change the eye by lifting and opening. Well-placed extensions are lighter than mascara and, with proper maintenance, can be worn indefinitely: After getting a full set, guests will come back for fills every three to four weeks. Put the right lashes on your client, and she will be a client for life.
Winnie Lee, product manager, i•Envy Professional: It’s becoming clearer that strong retail sales lead a spa to profitability, and eyelash services—both extensions and/or selling strip lashes to clients—are a smart way to make extra profit, as eyelashes are consumable and turnover is very fast.
Tonje Fjeldberg Elshaug, brand ambassador, NovaLash: Clients’ time is limited. They’re looking for simplicity and don’t want to be driving to different beauty appointments. So it’s a great advantage for a salon or spa to offer a total package where guests get all their needs met in one place.
What are some of the different options a spa can offer?
Lynn La Palermo, master instructor, Occhi’ Institute for Lash & Brow Training: For a lash bar, that’s a 15- to 20-minute service; makeup services may be up to 45 minutes. Extensions are up to two and a half hours for a full set, and at least 45 minutes to one hour and 25 minutes for a touch-up. I believe that those longer eyelash extension services are more beneficial because the guest spends more time with the technician. The lash artist performs a higher-quality service, and that’s what keeps these clients coming back. The girl who pops in to have a pair of strip lashes applied—you may never see her again. It’s a quick service that she can have done at a number of places, whereas extensions take training and render superior results.
Shannique Austin, trainer, JB Lashes: There are a variety of new techniques, such as lash lifts (a ‘perm’ for lashes) and classic or volume lash extensions. Extensions allow for the perfect combination of creativity and application. Each set is unique, and clients leave feeling confident and satisfied. These patrons will keep coming back, tell their friends, and are more likely to purchase other products and services.
Elshaug: With extensions, you can blend techniques to create an illusion and customize each look. For example, placing the longest lashes in the center will make eyes look more open; you can put the longest lashes outwards for the appearance of wider distance between the eyes; or place them inwards to reduce the distance.
Lytle: For clients who are new to extensions or just don’t want the upkeep, I recommend lash tinting, lifting/perming or strip lashes to start out. These are great add-ons that can increase sales and the revenue of the facility, and they can also be tied into each other. For example, if you offer a makeup service, strip lashes are an easy upsell for a more complete look.
What tips do you have for spa owners who want to add lash services to their menus?
Austin: To become a certified eyelash technician, you should first obtain a cosmetology or esthetician license. Then, most lash extension courses will provide you with a kit that includes tools and lashes for you to practice with. I suggest starting with a classic eyelash course, and continuing with a volume course once you’ve mastered classic lashes.
Rath: Licensing varies from state to state. Some don’t regulate lash extension services, and in others you must be a licensed cosmetologist or esthetician. Start with quality training for your staff. They need to understand product ingredients, clean application, styling and proper after-care. The service can take some two hours for a full set and one hour for fills, so a comfortable bed and good lighting are key.
Lee: If a spa owner is unsure about this new business model, they might want to begin by hiring a part-time lash technician who would pay some commission and do extensions only by booking. Salon owners can also offer discounted lash applications for clients who receive expensive hair services.
La Palermo: Determine which staff member could potentially be the most qualified to do a lash service. Have them go through extensive lash training, as well as practical experience on models; those models should be spa employees so that the lash work is seen by clients. Once you have a solid clientele, you can add a second lash artist. It’s crucial that the first one is well trained, because if that service doesn’t match the quality of your other offerings, your clients are going to seek their lash services elsewhere.
What retail products are essential for spas catering to lashes?
Rath: Oil is one ingredient that can break down the adhesive bond, so carrying products made specifically for lash extensions is necessary: Lash wash is a must, plus eye makeup remover and a sealant for more active clients.
Austin: Lashes act like tiny umbrellas and can trap little particles. This dirt builds up and can cause the lashes to slip and fall off quicker. The No. 1 product that clients need is an oil-free cleanser; we also recommend our clients use the JB Lashes Lower Lash Stretch Mascara, which doesn’t clump and keeps the lash extensions intact.
Lytle: The correct makeup is very important. Make sure clients avoid liquid liners and gel pencils, as these products will cause the adhesive to break down and their extensions ￼￼to pop off. Powders are most recommended for use around the extensions if a client wants darker eyeliner, have them wet their brush and drag the wet powder along the lash line. A pillow is another great retail add-on for clients with extensions.
Elshaug: If the guest has weak or fine lashes, I suggest a strengthening serum. But I don’t recommend using these serums with lash extensions, because the client will need more touch-ups. Those with extensions should also have a lash wand to comb out tangles and spread the lashes.
– by Laura Waldon
[Product images courtesy of each brand]