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.