Posted by Megan Hatch

What Can Glue Do for You?

What Can Glue Do for You?
Most of the questions I receive in my inbox have to do with cyanoacrylate.  Why is cyanoacrylate such a hot topic in the lash industry?  The active ingredient in all lash adhesives is some form of cyanoacrylate. Cyanoacrylate is the sticky part of the adhesive – what makes the lashes actually adhere to your natural lash. It is very effective and solidifies fast, making it perfect for lash extension use. Understanding how cyanoacrylate works will help lash artists make the most of their glue and take the best care of their clients.

Lash adhesives contain anywhere from 80 to over 90 weight percent cyanoacrylate.  This constitutes for most of the adhesive.  The strength of the adhesive depends on the amount of cyanoacrylate, and different compositions are ideal for different circumstances (sensitive eyes, retention, flexibility etc.).  Since all adhesives are mostly made out of cyanoacrylate it’s the most important ingredient to understand.

Understanding the Science: Polymerization

Cyanoacrylate is composed of monomers or single molecules when in liquid form. When these single monomers are exposed to water they attach to one another to make a polymer or a chain of multiple molecules.  This process is known as polymerization.  As the monomers link together and become polymers, cyanoacrylate turns into a solid. This process is a chain reaction and can be thought of like dominos: a finger pushes on one domino, and all the other dominos fall down. Water triggers the cyanoacrylate reaction. The water is analogous to the finger pushing the dominos over, and the monomers are the dominos. The monomers form long chains together during this process and turn into a solid; we commonly describe this process by saying that the glue is drying, when in reality a chemical reaction takes place to change the adhesive from a liquid to a solid, monomer to polymer. Sometimes this process is also called curing.

Tips and Tricks

Since water is in the air around us, it is important to keep the adhesive capped and store it in a dry place. Unopened adhesive can be stored in the refrigerator. Storing the glue in the refrigerator is NOT recommended after the adhesive is opened, because water condensation commonly forms around the glue when it is warming to room temperature, which increases the chances of water getting in the adhesive causing premature polymerization. Lash artists can take advantage of this knowledge by helping the adhesive cure at the proper time using a nano mister. Nano misters spray small water molecules evenly over the lashes to help the polymerization process.

How Much is Enough

A minimal amount of adhesive should be used when applying lashes to assure that the cyanoacrylate will cure properly. If the adhesive is too thick the polymerization reaction can stop prematurely, causing the adhesive to either not dry or dry very slowly, prolonging irritation. Another reason to use the least amount of adhesive possible is that cyanoacrylate releases fumes as cyanoacrylate monomers: the more adhesive used, the more fumes. These fumes can cause irritation to your eyes mimicking an allergic reaction, but these symptoms are temporary and NOT toxic!  To reduce this risk of irritation, the adhesive should only be applied in well-ventilated areas. Lash artists should work in rooms with open doors and windows.

In the coming months I will be sharing more about cyanoacrylate to help educate our artists on how to best care for their adhesive and educate their own clients.

Leave your questions and comments below, so I make sure to cover them in future posts.



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  • Hi ,I am a eyelash artist,I work in my salon right now ,I have certified with several eyelash company,my question to buy your products I have to become your borboleta certificate right ?

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    Alison Hamilton on
  • Hi Laci,
    The No. 5 adhesive is best in humid climates and has excellent retention. As far as the ingredients are concerned it will contain pretty much the same ingredients as any other Borby adhesive. The thing that sets it apart is different amounts of ingredients. For example, most chocolate chip cookies have the exact same ingredients, but there are 100s of recipes that vary on the amounts of flour, sugar, eggs, etc… This is the same with our adhesives. Cyanoacrylate is the main ingredient in all adhesives. If you are interested, I can send you more information or help you understand the adhesive you are currently using. Is it one from Borboleta? Ideally you would compare the Safety Data Sheets (SDS or MSDS). Email with any more questions:

    Megan - Borby Chemist on
  • Hi. Megan
    I am interested in the ingredients on the N*5 adhesive
    The adhesive I am using now is very sensitive to humidity, working out of a salon makes its difficult for lasting retention.
    Thank You!

    Laci on


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