Posted by Megan Hatch

Hydroquinone, the Lash Antioxidant

Hydroquinone, the Lash Antioxidant

Just like you don’t want m&m’s to melt in your hand but in your mouth, our glue dries on your lashes not in your bottle.  This is due to a chemical called hydroquinone and this is how it works. Hydroquinone, pronounced hydro-queen-own or hydro-quin-own is an organic compound found in many facial and skin care products.  It is also found in three of Borby’s adhesives.  So what does it do?  In short, it helps the adhesive last longer by controlling the reaction in the bottle.  Cyanoacrylate is the main ingredient in lash adhesive, and it undergoes a chain reaction called polymerization when exposed to moisture (you can read more about that here).  Moisture is necessary for the adhesive to cure and explains why we use the nano mister.  Although moisture is necessary for the adhesive to “dry,” if it gets inside the adhesive bottle the adhesive will polymerize (or cure) inside the bottle.  This could ruin a whole bottle.  We try to prevent that from happening, but with moisture in the air it’s almost impossible to prevent completely.  This is where hydroquinone comes into play.  The hydroquinone antioxidant is able to quench or stop the reaction inside the bottle.


The curing process creates free radicals. These are very reactive and way too small to see with your eyes or even a microscope. Free radicals are like that one high energy child running around touching everything in their path.  They cannot be stopped until they have touched everything in the house.  In this case free radicals cause the chain reaction (or polymerization) to keep going until there is no more cyanoacrylate left.  You don’t want this to happen inside the bottle of adhesive or you will have a bottle full of sticky, dry adhesive.  Hydroquinone is called a free radical scavenger or antioxidant (antioxidants are also in blueberries, but that’s not the kind I’m talking about, but it works the same way).  Antioxidants are like the perfect toy your child needs to relax and stop the chaos.  


Hydroquinone finds the free radicals that will cure the adhesive and stops the polymerization or curing process.  This helps control the reaction in the bottle and make it so the adhesive can last longer in the container.  We use it in small amounts.  Although it is allowed by the United States in products at concentrations up to 4% by weight, our adhesives contain much less. Our adhesives contain less than or equal to 0.5% by weight.  Our Maximum professional eyelash adhesive doesn't actually contain any hydroquinone, because it is for our most sensitive clients.


Let me know if you have any questions about this antioxidant, or need more hydroquinone information.  We want all of your questions to be answered, so you can be the most informed lash artist on the market.  Now I’m off to go eat some of those yummy antioxidant blueberries I was talking about.




Source: Mcintire, J. M., Jr, T. H. W., and Co, E. K. Patent US3527841 - Alpha-cyanoacrylate adhesive compositions. Google Books.

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  • Thank you for this beautiful explaination post. Will be directing my business this way!

    Hannah Hicks on
  • Hi Miss Hansford,
    I’m glad you like our lashes and tweezers. We even have some more tweezers since you commented. Have you tried those out yet? Our adhesive is very safe and tested by our education team before it hits the market. We use a purification process called chromatography that gets out any impurification. I hope that helps. Let me know if you decide to try it. One of our customer service girls can help you find the right one for you.

    Megan - Borby Chemist on
  • Hi Kari,
    Thanks for your feedback. I’m glad you enjoy reading.


    Megan - Borby Chemist on
  • Hi Joanne,
    That’s a great question. It really seems like you know your stuff. Hydroquinone is completely safe and effective when used in small amounts. Borboleta is well under the limit, but the adhesive still contains it because it works well. Borboleta is always looking for clean and safe ways to improve the adhesive, so if there is something that works better than hydroquinone and is safer we would look into that.

    Prolonged exposure shouldn’t be an issue since it’s such a small amount in the adhesive and such a small amount of actual adhesive used for each client even though clients don’t take breaks. Additionally, the adhesive doesn’t ever touch the client’s skin, so it shouldn’t be an issue. I hope that helps answer some of your questions. Shoot me an email if you have more questions.


    Megan - Borby Chemist on
  • Hey! I’m just wondering if this post is saying your glue is more safe for use. I am looking for the safest glue on the market. I love your lashes & tweezers. I just haven’t tried your adhesive yet.
    Thank you!

    Miss Hansford on


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