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What is in my Eyelash Adhesive?

What is in my Eyelash Adhesive?

Understanding the chemicals that are in the products you use will help you to feel more comfortable in using them on your clients and will give you better confidence in the products you are using. It is becoming more and more common for clients to want to know more about the products that are being used on them. So, let’s take a deeper dive into what makes an eyelash adhesive, and find out why they work the way they do, to ensure we are able to put our clients at ease with our extensive knowledge on the products we use. 

Eyelash Adhesive Ingredients
The 4 main ingredients that go into most eyelash adhesives are; Cyanoacrylate, Carbon Black, PMMA and Hydroquinone.  


Is the base of all lash adhesives and is what causes your extensions to stay in place. It is a colourless and thin liquid which is safe to use around the skin. The chemical liquid polymerises (hardens) when it is exposed to moisture, and the speed that this reaction happens is what determines the drying time of the glue.  

Now let’s break down the meaning of the word to see exactly where it comes from. Cyano – comes from cyanide. This is a carbon atom that has been bonded 3 times to a nitrogen atom. Cyanide in itself is extremely dangerous; however, it is only used for manufacturing purposes and so isn’t present in the adhesive at all! Cyanide is a thickening agent which is a necessary ingredient to the glue. Acrylate comes from Acrylic Acid. This is an organic acid that quickly polymerises (hardens) when exposed to air.  

Cyanoacrylate is a quick self-curing solution, which is biodegradable too.   
There are 5 different ways that this chemical can be processed to create a variety of strengths.  

Ethyl Cyanoacrylate – Ethyl (2 carbon atoms) cyanoacrylate is the most commonly used cyanoacrylate for eyelash adhesive. It has a fast-drying time and is very strong with a low amount of fumes.

Methyl Cyanoacrylate – Methyl (1 carbon atom) cyanoacrylate is a toxic substance and is only designed for industrial use. It used to be the most popular type of cyanoacrylate when extensions first became popular due to its extreme strength. However, it is no longer commonly used due to the high level of fumes and irritation that it causes.  

Butyl Cyanoacrylate – This type of cyanoacrylate is used for ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘sensitive’ glues. It has lower levels of fumes compared to the previous two, due to it being weaker in strength. This does however mean that retention is generally shorter with sensitive glues. The drying time is generally longer than other glues too.

Alkoxy Cyanoacrylate is very low in fumes and odour. This type is a lot more expensive than other types and so is quite rare in most eyelash adhesives.

Methoxy-Cyanoacrylate has the lowest amount of fumes and causes the least amount of irritation. It was designed and developed to be used in sensitive glues to combat the issues caused the fumes and odours of other substances. This does however mean that it is much weaker and has a really slow drying time compared to other cyanoacrylates.  

All adhesive manufacturers strive to get the perfect balance between substances to get the perfect glue, with minimum fumes but maximum strength.  

Carbon Black

Is the ingredient in a black adhesive that makes it black. It is a solid form of carbon used as a dye within the adhesive and also gives reinforcing effects in the glue. Carbon black isn’t one of the ingredients within clear glues, so these could be a good choice for people that might be allergic or sensitive to tints and dyes, specifically carbon.  



(polymethyl methacrylate) is a form of liquid plastic. This combined with cyanoacrylate makes the substance even stronger. Without PMMA, cyanoacrylate would still be strong, however it would be a lot more brittle. So, cyanoacrylate can be seen to be responsible for the quick curing time, and PMMA is responsible for the long-lasting solid bond given to the adhesive. 

Ok, so now that we have covered the basic ingredients, how about covering some Frequently Asked Questions on the topic of glue… so that you are fully prepared for your next inquisitive client.   

Is my Eyelash Extension Glue Formaldehyde Free?  

The short answer is no, no eyelash adhesive is actually formaldehyde free. Formaldehyde is not an active ingredient, but actually a by-product formed by the other ingredients within the glue when it cures.  
As much as there is a big stigma of formaldehyde being really harmful to humans, exposure to the extremely small amounts released during a lash appointment are not harmful at all. Excessive exposure can cause complications, but it would take a lot to have any sort of effect on us. It would have to be inhaled in huge quantities over a long period of time, which wouldn’t happen even during regular eyelash extension appointments.  
However, as an eyelash technician, if you are breathing in this product day in day out for the majority of your career, it can cause some complications in the long run. So, it is really important to ensure that you have a well-ventilated space, and if you are particularly sensitive to the fumes, then you should wear a respiratory mask.  

Is my Eyelash Extension glue Latex Free?  

Latex is an ingredient used in some lash glues to help increase the adhesives resistance to oils and water. Leading to better retention and durability. This ingredient can however be the cause of a lot of people's allergic reactions. Clients will generally know if they have a latex allergy, however it isn’t uncommon for them to be unaware.  
Nowadays, most manufacturers exclude latex from the ingredients list for this reason and use a synthetic lab-made rubber elastomer instead. This replacement avoids all latex reactions, but still gives the glue its durability and great retention.  
All of Pinkfishes glues are latex free. 

(The Difference between Pinkfishes Eyelash Extension Adhesives)

How should I store my Eyelash Adhesive?  

Eyelash extension adhesive should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place for longevity. Ideally in an air-tight container. When the glue is exposed to moisture, the curing process is kickstarted. So, to elongate your glues lifetime, its best to keep it in a cool dry place.  
Glue should also be kept out of direct sunlight, as this in combination with the cool temperature of the glue can cause condensation on the bottle. Therefore, exposing the adhesive to added moisture and starting the curing process prematurely.  
So now that you have an understanding of the 4 main ingredients in most lash glues, it's important to know that the ingredients within lash adhesives on the market can really vary from product to product. Depending on the strength, sensitivity and colour, the ingredients can differ quite a lot from each other. But knowing what the ingredients are, and what they do will really help you understand why different glues work the way they do and may even give you a better insight into why your clients may react in the way they do, if they were to have a reaction.  

The most important thing to ensure when you are purchasing any glue, is that the manufacturer has aproduct safety assessment in place. This is a document that shows that all of the individual and combined ingredients have been tested to assess any potential health risks. As long as you are sure your manufacturer has one of these in place, you can rest assured that your glue will be safe to use. 


We always say that in the beauty industry, every day is a day to learn something new and further your knowledge, so keep a look out for our next blog coming soon!