The 5 Steps You NEED For Long-Lasting Eyelash Extensions! 

We understand that you might feel a little overwhelmed by all the different kinds of pre-treatment products on offer, and why you may want to find ways to save time on your lash sets. However, if you're a Lash Tech who desires amazing eyelash extension retention for your clients and wants to keep them coming back for more, then you'll definitely want to know more about our tried, tested, and well-loved 5-step pre-treatment routine

Pretreatment products for preparing natural lashes before eyelash extensions

Step 1: Foaming Lash Shampoo 

Lash Shampoo is a really good product to have on hand if only because you can literally give it to your client to wash their own mascara off if they show up wearing some. Really though, Lash Shampoo will do you a world of favours when it comes to your pre-treatment routine and can even be retailed to your clients to use for aftercare


It’s gentle, easy to use, and contains antibacterial Tea Tree Extract to help protect the eyes from nasties like Blepharitis. When used during pre-treatment, Lash Shampoo will remove the vast majority of makeup, sebum and any other kinds of dirt that can be present on your clients' natural lashes. So it will actually save you time compared to using Protein Pads, Lash Cleanser and Lash Primer alone on your clients who are wearing makeup when they arrive. It’s also worth noting too that Lash Shampoo is the only pre-treatment product that needs to be rinsed, everything else is just applied to the lashes and left alone.


One thing to consider though, is that due to Lash Shampoo containing Tea Tree extract, repeated use can be a little bit harsh for clients with very sensitive skin. So for them, it might be worth looking into InLei Foam Cleanser instead, which still provides a gentle and thorough cleanse, but is a better fit for those with more sensitive skin. 


Remember: Whilst Lash Shampoo can be used alone if you’re in a VERY tight pinch when it comes to time, it just doesn't provide a thorough enough cleanse of the natural lashes by itself if you want amazing eyelash extension retention.

Lash shampoo for cleansing natural lashes and eyelash extensions

Step 2: Protein Removing Pads

Back in 2017, this was the first step of a 3-step pre-treatment routine. Protein Removing Cleansing Pads basically do what they say on the tin - they remove proteins and cleanse the skin and lashes. They're great to have on hand all the time - not only can they be used in your eyelash extension pre-treatment routine, but also for other treatments like Brow Henna and Lash Lifts. It's important to keep in mind however, that Protein Removing Pads aren't as gentle as Lash Shampoo, and are pretty powerful when it comes to getting rid of makeup on the lashes. 


Protein Pads really are impressive little things - they are so effective, you can actually do more with them than you’d think: 

  • They’re especially good for cleansing the skin and lash line before a full set of lash extensions because you can really get in amongst the natural lashes for a deeper clean. For infills, just be careful around the lash glue bonds and focus instead on the skin of the eye area to help your under eye patches stay in place. 
  • These pads have way more liquid in them than you see at first glance - so for a really deep and targeted cleanse, push a cleansing eyelash brush into the top of the patches to pick up some of the liquid. 
  • Lastly, they do leave some liquid behind. So you can either squeeze out excess liquid before using them so that you have more of it left over at the end for your cleansing lash brush, or throw some cotton pads in there for easy eye makeup removal at home!

Protein Pads are a must, whatever your level of experience as a Lash Tech - they’re so underrated for how excellent they are, especially considering that they cost you about £0.37 per treatment when only using the pads as they arrive. However, whilst brilliant, they still aren't sufficient on their own as a pre-treatment that removes everything you need to for great lash retention.

Lash Technician cleansing client's natural lashes with protein removing lash pads

Step 3: Lash Cleanser

Lash Cleanser is so important, and regardless of what else you use during your pre-treatment routine, Cleanser MUST be used with Primer. Anywhere that supplies eyelash extensions is highly likely to have Cleanser and Primer available. They’ve been known as the super prep duo for eyelash extensions since the dawn of the lash industry!


In our case, Cleanser is the alcohol based product which strips away any oils, makeup, dead skin cells, and skincare residue on the natural lashes that might have been left behind after using your Lash Shampoo and Protein Removing Pads.


London Lash Top Tip: It varies from lash brand to lash brand whether you're supposed to use their Cleanser or Primer first - they each have their own specific function with one being alcohol based, and the other being water based. Make sure you check which is which, so you know what to use first!

Close-up of Lash Technician holding Lash Cleanser for natural lashes

Since our Cleanser is alcohol based, it ends up being quite drying for the natural lashes, which is why it needs to be followed by…

Step 4: Lash Primer

Lash Primer is the opposite to Lash Cleanser - the Yin to Cleanser’s Yang - one can’t exist in completion without the other. Many Lash Techs ask if they really need both (or either) and say that they'll only use Primer if their client has oily skin - the answer to that is always the same, you absolutely do need both, regardless of skin or hair type! 


If you apply Primer without Cleanser - you’re essentially rinsing the natural lashes and giving them a bit of extra softness without actually cleaning them. You’ll not be doing your clients any favours, especially those with oily skin. Since using Primer alone won't remove any of that oil, this means that your clients' lash extensions will just slide right off as soon as they wash their lashes. 


If you use Cleanser without following it up with Primer (or if you use Primer and then Cleanser) you won't be giving your eyelash glue much to work with in terms of hydration. As you know from your lash courses, eyelash extension glue is cured by moisture, which is why we have to keep a close eye on our humidity levels using our trusty Hygrometer to make sure they’re not too high (making our lash glue dry super fast) and not too low (making our lash glue dry ever so slowly). Either scenario is undesirable where eyelash extension retention is concerned, but when your lash glue dries too slowly, you’re increasing the risk of an untidy set of lashes since the eyelash extension has more time to lean to one side or the other. You'll also be increasing the risk of your clients experiencing a chemical burn in their eyes as the lash glue fumes will hang around for longer. When we say you MUST use Primer after Cleanser, we’re not joking! 

Lash primer for natural lashes before eyelash extension application

Step 5: Retention & Speed Booster

Comparatively, Booster is the most recent addition to our pre-treatment routine. Booster quickly became a miracle product and a must-have for many Lash Techs when we launched it back in 2019 as a product designed specifically for enhancing your work speed and improving your eyelash extension retention times, as well as being a must for anyone who found their Volume lash fans closing on them. 


Booster has an alkaline pH, which causes the cuticles of the natural lashes to open up slightly, giving your eyelash glue more surface area to adhere to and further extending your clients' eyelash extension retention times. While Booster seems like magic, it can’t actually perform miracles, so it does need the natural lashes to be completely clean in order to work effectively.


London Lash Top Tip: If you’re finding that your lash glue is starting to feel a little bit slow, but you’re not yet ready to move up the next glue, adding Booster to your routine can be a great compromise! 

Lash Booster for the eyelash extension glue of eyelash extensions

What Can You Skip?

While Lash Shampoo might be an okay one step pre-treatment routine, it’s not as thorough as you’d want for the best possible eyelash extension retention. So if you absolutely have to skip any step, skipping Lash Shampoo and going straight in with Protein Pads is okay, so long as you follow up with Cleanser and Primer. 


The only other step that you can skip is using Booster, especially as a Beginner Lash Tech, if you’re not ready for the extra speed, or if your client already has quite coarse natural eyelash hairs (this is super hard to tell on the lashes, so it’s always going to be a risk to assume this) - if you’re short on time this is a step that can be missed if it must be. 


Remember, just because you can skip something, doesn’t mean that you should. A full and thorough pre-treatment routine is your best weapon against poor lash retention. Each of our products exists for a specific reason and to solve a specific lash problem - as Lash Techs ourselves we've always developed our products with a view of improving your lashing experience.



So, when it comes to pre-treatment, there aren’t really any steps we’d recommend skipping if you want to be known for incredible eyelash extension retention. Besides, having a great pre-treatment routine will also provide a better overall experience for your clients, so it's definitely great for business where reviews are concerned!