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illumino - Are LED Lashes Safe?

-So, how does it work? Many lash artists are trying to understand the system and what the process is like. For artists and for clients.


I invented LED lashes to be simple and easy while providing amazing retention and some other extra benefits. The general idea is very simple - your isolation tweezers attach to the Lynk-Gel LED device, which you turn on with a gentle touch of your finger. The LED light will fully cure the Lynk-Gel glue within 2-6 seconds when exposed to the light. This glue is specially formulated with photoinitiators that will cure when exposed to a certain wavelength for a certain amount of time. For most clients, it will make the service faster, the lashes last longer and wear more comfortably, and experience minimal irritation since there are virtually no fumes. For lash artists, it means the same, but also that there are no stickies, premade fans stay in place, lashes last longer, and there are no temperature or humidity requirements!


- What about the removal process? Many wonder if the typical cream or gel remover works for your adhesive.


Removers can be used to help loosen Lynk-Gel bonds. The Lynk-Gel glue is still cyanoacrylate-based, so you don’t need to purchase any special removers. To remove Lynk-Gel bonds, you may need to leave the remover on a little longer than with traditional adhesives. You can use your typical cream or gel remover, and you can also remove it without remover products. That being said, you will probably have to crack the glue with a footed tweezer before being able to remove it without product because the Lynk-Gel glue is stronger and softer than regular glue. If you try to banana peel it, sometimes the natural hair will split because the glue is doing its gripping job. Also, I found that sometimes cracking the glue and popping can be difficult because the glue bends and won’t just pop off right away.


- How is the system sanitized?


The Lynk-Gel device can be wiped down using disinfectant wipes, and the tweezers are slotted into the device, so you can remove them and disinfect as normal.


- There seems to be some confusion about what type of light is actually being used. Is illumino LED or UV light? What about other systems? Do you know if they’re LED or UV?


The quick answer is that the Lynk-Gel Device uses an LED light that peaks in the visible light spectrum. However, a lot of people are confused because they don’t understand what that means, so let’s break it down. First off - an LED is just a type of bulb that stands for light emitting diode. It has nothing to do with being UV or not UV. You have LED, fluorescent, incandescent, etc. This is just the type of bulb, not the light spectrum wavelength. The light spectrum is the wavelength of light that is emitted from the bulb. There’s infrared, UVA, UVB, UVC, visible light, and more. But we’re mostly concerned with UVA and visible light. UVA range is 320-400nm, while visible light is 380-750nm. From this, we can see that there is an overlap where UVA and visible light meet. This means that a company can tell you that their light is in the visible light spectrum because it’s above 380nm, but it can still be peaking, or putting out the strongest wavelength, below 400nm, which is considered UVA. We have tested a floor lamp model made in China and it tested below 400nm for its peak emittance, while our Lynk-Gel device tested above 400nm, not in the UV range.


The issue is not just the wavelength that we should be concerned with, the problem is how strong is the UV light being emitted - this is measured in irradiance— watts over meters square. We had our device measured at 16.05w/m2 and the Chinese floor lamp measured at 290 w/m2, so you can see the huge difference in how strong the light is.


- Can you explain to everyone what drove you to invent this system?


It actually started from dealing with a difficult client who was having terrible retention issues. This was the client that everyone warns you against - oily skin, heavy makeup, does not follow aftercare instructions, she was a total nightmare for retention. She was complaining about her lashes falling off and coming in for regular free 15-minute fills because I thought it was something I was doing wrong. I tried troubleshooting everything - different lashes, different cleansers, different glues, anything I could think of. Finally, I decided I was going to fire this client the next day because it wasn’t worth the stress for me anymore. That night when I laid down, I thought about the days when I would go to the orthodontist with my friend and how we would get our braces tightened at the same time but I would always finish before her because they would use a light to cure mine with. And I got to thinking - would I be able to do that with lash extensions to make a better glue than what I was currently using? From there, I worked with that idea in mind, asking different scientists, chemists, engineers, and anyone who could help me turn my idea into a reality.



- What are the advantages of using this adhesive, as opposed to typical adhesive?


The easiest way is to just repeat the Lynk-Gel tagline - safer, faster, stronger, softer, but we can explain that a little bit more too. Let’s start with safer - not only the device being safer than some other devices we have seen but also the glue being safer than traditional adhesives. There are several reasons for this, one being that the glue is made here in the USA so we know exactly what goes in it, with only three ingredients, and that it’s safe. It’s also been third-party tested to be formaldehyde-free. Another reason is that with the glue curing so quickly, there are virtually no fumes to bother the eyes or lungs of the client or artist. Lastly, there are only three ingredients in our glue with different stabilizers than traditional glues, which makes it much less likely for a client to have a reaction, but that does mean that it has to be kept refrigerated at all times. Faster is fairly self-explanatory, where the glue dries faster than traditional glues because of the LED light. You can say goodbye to stickies, freeze your lashes in place to correct the lash trajectory, know your pre-mades are going to stay on, and even shorten your overall service time once you’re comfortable with the Lynk-Gel Method. Stronger is also an easy one - this glue is STRONG! We attached a premade fan using Lynk-Gel glue to my natural hair over a cup and had it holding up 4 tweezers before it snapped. While it’s stronger, the glue is more flexible than traditional glues (softer) and we’ve seen clients come in for lash fills after 6 weeks with lash extensions still attached on the inner and outer corners! You can instantly tug at the attachment to check if the bond is going to “stick”, that’s something you can never do with traditional adhesives.


- Many lash artists are concerned about the short-term and long-term health and safety concerns. We all know there are health and safety concerns with most anything, but what are the concerns specific to this system as opposed to the typical process? Are you able to ease their concerns? We see many artists wondering if your team has completed any long-term studies.


The biggest concerns that we have had regarding Lynk-Gel safety, and curable safety regarding lashes in general, are about the light. We have questions about UV vs. LED vs. visible light and power and if it’s safe for skin, eyes, lashes, etc. As said previously, we have been tested and found safe to ANSI RP-27 standards, and I have not only been using the system for over 5 years myself without effects, but so have other artists that I’ve trained in our method since 2018. In comparison, I recently went to Japan for a trade show with our distributors and I got the chance to speak to some Japanese artists who have been using other systems, like the floor lamp, out there because this technology is more widespread over there. They told me that they had to stop using the light because their eyes were very dry and they had to use lots of eye drops, that their eyes were tired, or even that when they would try to focus on something, their eyes wouldn’t focus and everything would stay blurry for a while.


- Some lash artists are also educated in the world of gel nails and are curious about whether the curing process of the adhesive is similar to the “curing” process of your adhesive.


Yes, it is very similar in that it uses an LED to cure a cyanoacrylate-based glue that contains photoinitiators. But very different from the ingredients, to the type of LED we use, since our light does not peak in UVA. Also different in how much power goes out – for example, compared to a conventional 60-watt UV nail gel lamp, our device is 600 times less powerful. I am a licensed manicurist, esthetician, and cosmetologist with a huge passion for nails! When I was trying to problem-solve the client’s retention issues, I thought about how gel nails held up so much better than nail polish. I could literally apply oils, lotion, and do the dishes without the gel nails chipping off, compared to nail polish. The problem was that at the beginning of sharing my crazy idea with many people and companies, I was told that it was impossible to create a safe LED/UV curing device for the eyes. It took me a long time to find someone who was willing to work with me to find a solution that would be safe around the eyes and not use the UV wavelengths that a nail gel lamp would use.


We receive on a daily basis that lash artists already know how to apply lashes and don’t need to take the training. The problem is that the Lynk-Gel glue needs to be applied a little differently than traditional glues, there is a learning curve to getting that 60-day retention. So while we don’t require the hands-on training anymore, we do still ask that artists complete the free online Lynk-Gel theory before we send them their Lynk-Gel Kit.


- We’ve seen lash artists discussing whether or not their insurance companies will approve them for the training. Many have said that their insurance companies will not, and see this as concerning. What do you make of this? Is this simply because it’s a new product and they’re not educated on it, or is there something else? We want to know your thoughts!


In the U.S. we work with ASCP and in the E.U. there is INSYNC, both insure our Lynk-Gel service. ASCP insures types of equipment up to 15 joules - ours is .02 joules. However, we don’t know how insurance goes in Canada. We’ve had a couple of people ask us if Lynk-Gel is approved by Health Canada, which we’ve previously discussed is not a real thing, but we can say that we are Health Canada compliant because we do not have prohibited or restricted ingredients in our product.


- Many artists claim to use this adhesive to avoid allergic reactions. Is this effective? Does the adhesive contain cyanoacrylate?


Yes, the Lynk-Gel adhesive does contain cyanoacrylate. While we can not guarantee that if you had previous allergies you won't be affected by our adhesive, we have seen over a 50% success rate. We even had one artist come in-person to take the Lynk-Gel Training who told us she had 14 clients with allergies who couldn’t get extensions with traditional adhesive. She told us that of the 14, 13 had no reaction and only one had a very minor reaction that cleared up the next day!


The Lynk-Gel adhesive needs to stay cold 24/7 because it doesn’t contain the same stabilizers as traditional glues. But as long as you keep it cold, it has the same shelf life as most traditional glues of 30-45 days. We also have had previous artists in the past who had sinus or breathing issues and had to use full extraction filter machines such as Aerovex and wear heavy-duty respirators before switching to Lynk-Gel, and now don’t have to use them.


- Many artists wonder if you collaborated with eye doctors/optometrists when creating the System?


We did not collaborate with specialists when creating the system, but we did have the system tested by third-party test by ANSI to RP-27 standards, which are the highest standards of photobiological safety in the US. This test was performed by Dr. John C. Dowdy who has worked extensively with Doug Schoon to test nail gel lamps safety and is a published scientist with a background in UV Laser technology. Also Dr. David H. Sliney who worked for the US Army Medical Department for 42 years, serving as the Program Manager of the Laser/Optical Radiation Program.


- Some systems seem to offer UV safety glasses for the artist. Does illumino? Many

wonder how that can then be safe for the client?


No, we do not offer UV safety glasses with our device. The device light peaks above 400nm which is in the visible light spectrum so the UV safety glasses are unnecessary to use with our device. The artist is able to adjust the gooseneck light to direct the light away from the client's eye and onto the eye gel pad, so the light isn’t directly pointed at your client’s eye. The LED device is made in the USA and also has a protective shroud around the light so that the Lash Artist’s eyes are shielded as they are working. Our light is very low-powered, and most clients aren’t even able to tell when the light is on. The artist experiences more exposure than the client does, and the aforementioned ANSI report found that it was safe for artists to use for 8 hours a day. We’ve also personally had customers who have used the system for over 5 years with no side effects. Not to mention myself and the other artists who have been using the system for years without side effects.


- What are some concerns that you are seeing and what would you like to say to address

these concerns?


The top three concerns that we have gotten from people consistently are safety, training requirements, and the price. For safety, we try to educate people the best we can on the differences between UV and Visible light and LEDs that we went over previously. We can also point to the different tests and certifications that we have for our safety. For training, we have people telling us how they have been doing lashes for years or have taken so many trainings and don’t want to do another. To that, we say that while you can always learn something new and improve, we don’t want you to have to feel like you have to take yet another lash training. So instead, we ask artists to complete the complementary online theory when they purchase the Lynk-Gel Kit, but we don’t require them to take a hands-on training - though that does come with extra perks! The 13-chapter online theory is very educational for the artist, it goes over how to properly and comfortably hold and use the device, the safety of LED lashes, how to get the longest-lasting retention, tips and tricks for pricing and so much more. Last, people are concerned about the price of the training and the device, because there are cheaper options, but be mindful about the safety. However, learning Lynk-Gel is an investment in yourself and your business. The Lynk-Gel Device is a tool that you can use to offer a premium service that pays for itself. We go over how to raise your prices with Lynk-Gel, as we want all artists to be successful and charge what they’re worth. Beyond that, we’re also practical and we’re working on the newest version of Lynk-Gel which should have a cheaper price tag to go along with it.


illumino

Soo-Jin




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