How to Become a Lash Tech
Lash Technicians. They are an enviable breed of beauty therapist blessed with steady hands and creativity (they usually have pretty nice lashes too).
But, what makes a good eyelash technician? Is it training, creativity, experience, confidence, personality…or decent eyesight?
In honesty, a lash technician needs all of these. Except good eyesight. We’ve got contact lenses for that. Creativity, experience, and confidence are all far more important, and, in fact, integral to providing the best lash services to your clients.
Lash techs are people-focused, and beauty-driven. Your goals are to provide the best customer care to help clients achieve their dream lashes, which will always use customised applications. If you like the idea of giving your clients a lasting confidence boost, then read on! And, in case you aren’t convinced, lash technicians make on average $65,102 pa (USD), in an industry that just keeps growing. That’s 65,102 reasons to learn a little more about it…
1. Okay…first things first: What Exactly does a Lash Technician do?
They extend, curl, and volumize lashes. There are a few different techniques and procedures that a lash technician provides, including the classic extensions, russian volume extensions, hybrid extensions, lash lift, Curl, etc.*
Every client will come in hoping for a certain look. Maybe they want lashes longer than Cruella de’Vil’s ambition, or a russian volume set that frames their eyes in thick, soft lashes. Or maybe a hybrid set to get the best of both worlds.
Your job as a lash technician is to work to the needs of each client and satisfy their eyelash-goals.
2. Cool, cool. But, I guess I’m more interested in…cash: What can you Earn as an Eyelash Technician?
A good question! I see you, working to set-up your future for success.
Earnings are always up for debate, since there are many different ways one can earn money in the lash-business. Self employment, for instance, means you can set your own rates and take 100% of the cut.
Working for a salon would mean a lower rate of pay, but give you direct access to an already built-up client base.
The average salary for a lash technician in the USA is approx. $65,102 pa (USD) – at the time of writing this. Due to salon differences and opportunities for self employment, however, this figure is a very loose estimation, and doesn’t reflect the full spectrum of earnings.
3. I’m not mad at that. You mentioned different work environments: Where can you Work as a Lash Tech?
The usual answer, of course, is a salon. It’s the natural habitat for any beauty therapist, so it makes sense to touch on it first. A salon has some wonderful benefits. You will be working alongside others in your profession, which allows increased learning opportunities and collaboration. Also, you’ll more than likely be able to cash in on a pre-existing client base, and set fees. The administrative work is taken out of the picture, so all you have to focus on is providing the best client services. However, you may find the income bracket and autonomy a little lower than in other potential environments. Now that it’s out of our system, let’s have a look at your other options:
There are many many beauty therapists who get out of school and choose to pursue their career from home. Nail technologists, facialists, waxing technicians, massage therapists and lash technicians are all able to provide top services from the comfort of their own home. Of course, there are plenty of pros and cons to working from home too. Check out our article, The Backyard Beauty Business if you want to know more.
Salon Room Rental
This option is sort of a hybrid of a salon and working from home. Hiring a room in a beauty salon is a rental agreement between you and salon management. However, you’re still a freelancer, meaning your business is still your own.
The main reason you would benefit from salon room hire, is the increased foot traffic. The beauty salon has an established client based, and your position there will create a symbiotic relationship. The salon can offer an extra service, and gain more clients. And you can offer your services to existing salon customers.
4. What Qualifications do you Need to Become an Eyelash Extension Technician?
In many areas a lash technician doesn’t require formal qualifications. The industry has largely been deregulated around the world, which means training can come in many forms. But this isn’t true for all places.
The USA, for example, requires most beauty therapy disciplines to obtain a license before entering into practice. In order to work as a lash technician, you will need to have completed a cosmetology license in all states except Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
If you are planning to work as an eyelash technician in the USA, we recommend researching your specific state’s licensing requirements.
In Australia and the UK, there are no required licenses in order to practice lash extensions. It is, however, recommended to complete a training certification to provide future employers with proof of education.
Most importantly, ensure whatever training you receive is skills-based. Working as a lash technician is precise, creative and finicky work. You don’t want to move into the field without extensive knowledge and skill!
5. Okay, so the big question: How do you Become a Lash Technician?
As with all jobs, becoming a lash technician follows a formula: Education, Skills, Work, Experience. The difference is the flexibility. There are many different pathways into the beauty business, and eyelash technology is no exception. Let’s take a look.
Beauty School (accredited)
For many, beauty school is the best career pathway to achieving their goals. If you are hoping to pave a way into the lash business, while also picking up on peripheral skills in massage therapy, facial treatments, makeup artistry, waxing technology, eyebrow treatments, and nail tech – you’re in the right place! Beauty school provides the full spectrum of beauty therapy education, and prepares students for a career in the many different facets of the beauty industry.
However, due to the comprehensive nature of the accredited courses, your education will come at a cost. Whether or not you have student-loans, it’s a big hit to your wallet. Not only that, but the schedule is extensive and fixed. You will need to make time for schooling, rather than fit it around your prior commitments.
Short Courses (classroom based)
In-person short courses are one of the best methods of learning beauty therapy in a short amount of time. Within weeks, you could have a firm grasp on the techniques and practical requirements used in various lash applications. In classroom courses often are a little bit pricey, and run on a tight schedule, however offer teacher-student contact and in-time feedback on your work.
Online beauty courses can provide an incredible opportunity for anyone who doesn’t have the resources or finances to attend beauty school or in-classroom courses. They are often very cost-effective, easily accessible, and can be completed at any time, in the comfort of your own home. If you are the sort of student who learns better with no time pressures, and enjoy working through content at your own pace, check out our article: How to Become a Beautician from Home, to learn more.
Apprenticeships offer beauty career hopefuls the opportunity to work inside a salon from day one. There are many pros and cons to having your education in a working salon. If you are not comfortable or confident in front of clients, it may be a steep learning curve. However, you will begin your training learning to work with customers, creating in-demand styles and applications, and learning to take care of a salon. Your education is from working professionals in real time.
The downsides? It’s a long process. Because of the nature of work based education, there will be many occasions where you’re simply sweeping floors and waiting for your mentors to finish their current work. This can take a long, long time. Years, in fact.
We debated whether to add this, since it is a cautionary inclusion. Amateurs are those that practice lash tech simply because they have a love for the art, and no formal training. There may even be casual students of lash technology who have achieved a really high level of artistry in the medium.
However, because lash services involve precision and informed decision making when it comes to chemicals and hygiene, we do not recommend offering lash services without some form of formal training.
6. Alright, so that’s settled. But…What is it Actually Like?
Well, we can’t speak for everyone. Obviously, you’ll need to really love lashes to be happy and fulfilled in this career. However, career satisfaction is extremely high in the lash business. Glad Girl, a US based blog, performed a survey of lash technicians and found that at least 80% were either happy or very happy in their jobs! When you compare that with the average 51% of American workers that are just satisfied with their job, it puts it into perspective!
Lash technicians seem to enjoy an incredible quality of life, and it’s not that surprising. Their profession is the endless pursuit of beautification and instillation of confidence in others. However, it doesn’t preclude eyelash techs from suffering from work-based fatigue. Glad Girl reported that 58% of lash technicians have experienced fatigue from the precise and physically demanding nature of the job.
Additionally, their number one concern in day-to-day treatments is in managing client after-care. You can do everything right, and still have the client return too soon, because they didn’t listen to your advice. That’s part of the job. You can’t fix everything!
Just One more thing: Can you Write up a Pros & Cons list for an aspiring Lash Technician?
Of course! I like a good pros and cons list. They usually make me feel a whole lot more comfortable making decisions. Plus, they make my perfectionist brain happy.
Lash Technology Careers: Pros and Cons
|Comfortable wage||Precise work|
|AUS, UK don’t require licensing or accreditation||Most of the US requires a license to practice|
|Flexible work||High possibility of client allergic reactions|
|80% of technicians have high job satisfaction||Can suffer fatigue from high intensity work|
|Job security in a growing industry||Constantly learning new techniques|
|Cost effective and varying education options|
|Many different work opportunities|
|Constantly learning new techniques|
|Creative and exciting services|
We know we might be a little biased – in our minds there are plenty more pros than cons to eyelash technology. The Lash business is brimming with innovation and excitement – Everyone wants beautiful lashes to frame their eyes these days! Give it a go, you never know what will become of a career in beauty!
Appendix 1: Explanation of Eyelash Services
The Classic Eyelash Extensions apply hair fibers to the original lash line on a 1:1 ratio. This means that you would apply 1 hair fiber to 1 lash.
The fibers used are longer and thicker than typical lashes, to fill out the lash line. However this method doesn’t add much volume. It is mostly used to add wispy, old-hollywood like length.
Classic Extensions are most prone to growing out quickly and becoming spidery. To avoid this, it is recommended to get refills every 2-3 weeks.
Russian Volume Extensions
Whereas Classic Extensions apply single fibers 1:1 along the lash line, Russian Volume Sets use custom made fans of up to 6 lashes applied to each lash until the desired fullness is achieved. They are perfect for clients who want to build a lot more volume, and don’t mind the length of their own lashes.
Refills will need to be maintained every 2-4 weeks.
Hybrid lashes are exactly what they sound like: A mixture of Classic and Russian Volume Extensions. This is accomplished by interspersing custom fan lashes with the longer single lashes. The overall look is far more natural and less ‘done-up’ than the other techniques, while still creating the dramatic effect.
Refills are recommended for every 2-4 weeks.
Eyelash Extensions come with certain types of curls. These can be a C Curl, a CC Curl, a D Curl, L Curl, LC Curl, or an LD Curl.
The strength of the curl varies from a natural to dramatic look. The C Curl is a very natural, almost non-existent lift. It doesn’t make a huge difference to the eyes. As we move through to the D Curl, however, it creates a dramatic lash effect and opens the eyes a lot.
The L-LD Curls are recommended for clients with downgrown lashes. The curl utilises a stabilizing flat base that then curls up. It is a prominent treatment among Asian clients.
The L Curl is the most natural effect, and the LD Curl mimics the look of an Eyelash Curler.
A lash lift uses pads and chemicals to lift, curl or straighten the lashes. It is similar to a perm. There are no extensions involved, and no aftercare. Lash lifts last between 6-8 weeks.