What's in Eyelash Extension Adhesive, Anyway?

Eyelash adhesive is a huge part of successful lash extension application and retention. Since it's a chemical, it's a serious tool for lash artists and needs to be treated appropriately as such.

You may have some eyelash extension clients who ask you about the ingredients in adhesive. Just like you'd read ingredients in what you're eating, you should be knowledgeable about the components of the adhesive you're applying to clients' lashes. Here are eyelash adhesive ingredients to be aware of.

WHAT IS Cyanoacrylate?

Cyanoacrylate is the base chemical that's in most eyelash extension adhesives you'll find. It helps lash extensions stay put, since the chemical cures when it is exposed to moisture. It can be processed a variety of ways to create different strengths. 

Cyanoacrylate in lash adhesive is a colorless, thin liquid that in some forms -- like that used in lash adhesive -- is safe for use around skin. The cyan in the adhesive refers to cyanide. This is a carbon atom that has been triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanide is a thickening agent, but it actually isn't present as a singular agent in the adhesive. It's just used for manufacturing purposes with the acrylate. 

Acrylate come from acrylic acid, which hardens or thickens when it's exposed to air. Acrylate combines with cyanide to form cyanoacrylate. The result is a biodegradable, quick-drying adhesive.


Ever wonder why eyelash adhesive stays liquid-y in the bottle but hardens once it's applied? That's due to hydroquinone. This organic compound is found in lots of skincare and facial products.  

Even when moisture from the air is exposed to the adhesive in an open bottle, hydroquinone is a stabilizing ingredient that stops the curing reaction inside. That way, you're not stuck with a useless bottle of hard adhesive every time you open it. 

How does it do this? When adhesive cures, it creates free radicals. Free radicals are uncharged, highly reactive molecules. They react with molecules around them and cause the chain reaction that dries adhesive. 

Hydroquinone locates and disarms free radicals, stopping the curing process. This means the adhesive lasts longer in the bottle. Hydroquinone is used in really small amounts so that curing doesn't occur in the adhesive container, but when added moisture is applied during application, the adhesive works.



WHAT IS Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA)

Polymethyl methacrylate is a mouthful, so we'll refer to it as PMMA. PMMA:

  • Polymerizes, which means to harden.    
  • Has methyl, which unlike ethyl, means there is one carbon atom.    
  • Has acrylate, that thickening acrylic acid.     
PMMA is used in eyelash extension adhesive to strengthen ethyl cyanoacrylate, and thus, the adhesive bond for the eyelash extension. Think of ethyl cyanoacrylate as responsible for quick curing, and PMMA as responsible for increased adhesive strength.


One more ingredient you might find in some adhesives is carbon black. Carbon black is a form of solid carbon that can be used as a dye to give lash adhesive a rich, dark black finish.  

It can also be used as a filler to give reinforcing effects in adhesive. It's often used in rubber and tire manufacturing.



You won't find carbon black in clear adhesives like Clear Connection, which is a good choice to use for clients who have a sensitivity to carbon.

Know Your Ingredients to Increase Your Lash Artist Expertise 

Consumers today are more concerned with beauty ingredients than ever. When you can educate your clients about the materials you're using and what is in them, you become a more trustworthy expert. Don't risk leaving client questions unanswered or making your clients feel uncomfortable because you don't know what's in your adhesive. 

Lash extension adhesive ingredients can vary dramatically from product to product. Now that you have base knowledge, be vigilant about checking and researching ingredients. Take notes about which products work best for your clients based on their unique needs and sensitivity. Check back regularly on the Lash Affair Artist Blog to stay educated on what's new. 




Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published