Before I start, I want to welcome you to the Lumè Lash Beauty Blog! Every week, I will be uploading a post that could be the answer to any questions you have concerning Lumè’s products and services! We are REAL people with REAL needs, and who wants to invest their time, money and beauty into something they don’t know much about? That’s why I am here. A REAL girl, with REAL answers from THE master lash technician, Michelle Nelson! Each week will be a different topic, so don’t forget to subscribe because you never know what will happen! So with that…. Let’s start!
Q&A With the Master Lash Technician: Michelle Nelson
By Emily Finton
I’m from an extremely small town. When I say small, I mean I graduated with 38 people from a high school with zero air conditioning. There was drive your tractor to school day, and beauty salons made out of barns in someone’s front yard. Within my last few months of living at home, while saving up for my highly anticipated move to Naples, I noticed little white signs randomly placed along our single highway. The signs were the ones you’d typically see with bright red letters encouraging motorists to “RE-ELECT JUDGE blah blah blah.” But no, in smallish black font, read the letters “eyelash extensions.” Below it, the name of some local girl, with some local phone number. Let me explain, I am not hating at all. But I had questions swarming through my head like bees in a hive.
“There’s no business listed, would I be laying on someone’s couch with their toddler crawling around at my feet, husband complaining about his day at work?
“How can I trust these lashes? What if all of my lashes were to fall out and take my natural lashes with it?
“Does she sell to products that will keep my lashes in good shape? How is this all even going to work?”
I love supporting women who are motivated, willing to work and best of all: take care of their clients. But if I’m paying for a service that I assumed could affect my real lashes, I need to know the facts. I need credentials. And how lucky was I to be moving from the cow-filled fields of Coshocton, Ohio to Naples, Florida. And as fate would have it, I was moving to a city where the lash queen lived. Michelle Nelson, aka the Master Lash Tech.
She really got her work in with me. I knew NOTHING about lashes. Never had them, never thought that I, the broke college graduate, could afford them, so I just didn’t look into them. With that being said, I understand what it’s like to be nervous about jumping into a whole new realm of beauty. But since learning the truth behind lashes and who would be doing them, I felt waaaay more confident. And like I said earlier, I don’t trust easily. I want to know ALL the qualifications of someone who has my lashes, literally, in their hands. The girl I talked about with her signs lined along the highway? Well, if I knew more, then I might have considered. So, I want to give you answers for your own consideration.
Let’s hear what all the lash queen has to say to someone who SERIOUSLY needed an answer for everything….
Q: What EVEN is a master lash technician? Can anyone “claim” to be one? How did you get to this point?
A: Our qualification for a master lash technician at Lumè is someone who has been a lash technician for over five years. I have been a lash technician for 18 years, so with Lumè, we structured it that way so that people who come in can choose what level of lash technician they want their service from. It also gives clients the opportunity to choose other technicians for a tad less money. All technicians are trained by me, so the quality of lashes you’re getting is still great, you just might be able to get a few more lashes or fuller volume with a master technician versus a junior technician.
Q: How easily did lashes come to you?
A: Not easily at all. I don’t think it comes easily to anyone. I like to explain it to our trainees that it takes ambidexterity, motor skills, depth perception alllllll working in unison to apply one lash to a natural lash. So basically, you figure a surgeon takes multiple years of practicing on bodies sewing, cutting, working under magnifiers, using both hands… it’s the exact same skills that our technicians need. That’s why our girls train for a minimum of three to four months before they are allowed to even be put on our floor.
Q: How did you realize your love for lashes? How did you get interested?
A: I actually got interested working in Ohio as a makeup artist for weddings. I always put lashes on my brides, but unfortunately it was only for the day. They would wash their face and their eyelashes would come off. So I went to a convention in Columbus, Ohio and NovaLash was there doing classes. I went to the class and I knew that for my brides, they could get lashes put on and it would stay for their honeymoon. I decided I love lashes. I love the look. Once I started, it was frustrating because I had to teach myself, classes were minimal and the lashes came together in a jar. It was very difficult to learn back then, but fortunately I am kind of hard-headed and a very determined person, and I don’t like people telling me I can’t achieve something.
Q: Do you have someone who is your “lash-spiration?” Someone who inspires you in this industry?
A: Lash-spiration!!! I love that. I used to want to go to the Lash Wars in Las Vegas, where they would do a lash off against each other. Everybody was always like “You should go do that! You should go do that!” I always really wanted to go do that, but I haven’t had the opportunity. But that inspired me to make sure whatever I am doing, I was really dedicated to giving the best I could ever give them. I have always been a perfectionist, and I saw people doing such great work that I wanted to be right up there with them.
Q: Since you’re inspired by people who do great work and consider yourself a perfectionist, who do you allow to do your lashes?
A: That’s the big thing and the final test for any of our new technicians… they have to do lashes on me. Once they do lashes on me and I can feel their touch and techniques, if i’m happy with it, they get put on the floor as a junior lash technician.
Q: What is the hardest thing to learn about lashes?
A: The hardest thing is a lot of people think taking a weekend class makes them a technician. Just because you have a piece of paper does not mean you’re qualified by any means to put lashes on a paying client. I think the thing that makes you a great lash technician is continuing education and continuing to practice, and never saying “my work is good enough.” You always want to learn something new, you always want to strive to be the best.
Q: Are lashes your favorite service you offer?
A: Lashes AND microblading. I love microblading because it’s my artistic side coming out, being able to sculpt brows and make people feel great when they wake up in the morning and look in the mirror.
Q: You’ve recently ventured into expanding Lumè to Fort Myers and North Naples. When did you decide that you wanted to make your business into a franchise?
A: When my husband decided to leave corporate and come on board with me. He is the financial man and I am the artistic person. You’ve got the right brain and the left brain. We couldn’t be further opposites that way, and he saw the business and said, “We should grow this. This is great, you’re really great at it, and I can run the financial part of it.” Our clients would go back up north in the summer, and then they would come back in the fall after taking all of their lashes off, or they came back and their lashes were a mess. They were disappointed and said they “couldn’t find a technician that can do the same lashes we get down here with you guys, you need to train my girl.” So, a couple people actually paid me to Skype with them and train their technicians. We started having people contact us, a couple of girls from the Trump International Spa came down, people come from the Chicago area, people just coming down from different parts of the country wanting to train with us.
Q: What can we expect from the franchises?
A: What we really want to do is change the attitude out there that lash extensions are going to damage your lashes. If you buy a $35 full set of lashes, you can pretty much expect that they are glueing all of your lashes together, it’s going to cause damage, it might cause breakage and the lash line won’t be able to breathe, so you can get infections along there. But when they are done properly, and they fall out with your natural lash, you don’t have damage.
Q: For someone who has never had eyelash extensions, is there a reaction that could happen?
A: Some people might develop an allergic reaction from it, and that’s usually people who have auto-immune diseases such as Lupus, Lyme disease and even Scilliacs. Those are the people I’ve found who tend to get reactive. One of the magazines that published our work was written on our allergy protocol, that I actually created.
Q: That’s super impressive. What is the allergy protocol? A: Cyanoacrylates are the adhesive that we use. They have a slight acidic mantle to them. We use the highest quality adhesive we can get, it’s FDA approved and KO certified to have the most minimal amounts of formaldehyde and latex that can be in there. You can still say that your adhesive is latex free, providing that it’s under 2 percent. So we always make sure that our adhesives have the lowest amounts of those properties as possible. We will then actually wash your lashes to remove any chemical residue that might be along the lash line. Next, we rinse them with baking soda, which neutralizes that acidic mantle, and put aloe vera gel on to protect the skin. Our clients go home and do that for three days, morning and night post-application.
Q: So as for the technicians at your franchises, will they all be trained by you? Can we expect that Lumè difference?
A: Correct. Absolutely. We are Lumè, all the way. I am the sole trainer, and for the technicians we offer online detailed training videos. It’s a lot to learn in a short period of time, you forget things. So if you’re going through and can’t remember what I said about something such as taping, you can go into the video archives through your franchise owner and rewatch those videos.
Q: How many franchises are you trying to open? How big are you trying to be?
A: All across the country. 500 or more!
Q: A speciality unique to Lumè is that you hand make all of your lashes. What are they made of? What difference does that make?
A: They are made out of synthetic silk. We custom make every individual fan for our client; whatever look she wants, whatever her natural lashes can hold. If they have fine, very delicate, petite lashes we use a .03. That’s our feather ultra-light lashes that will not weigh your lashes down and they will not break them off. Then we can make fans out of that to help fill in your lashes. From there you go up to .05 and .07. So basically, if your lashes are pretty course and heavy, and you want a full Kim K look, we can do that. If you come in with really fine lashes and want to look like Kim K, we are going to say unfortunately, we do not want to interfere with the integrity of your natural lashes. We will explain what we can do for you, and the reason why we can’t do more is our policy to not do anything that will cause breakage or damage to the natural lashes. None of our clients have to take a break from getting lash extensions, ever.
Q: What exactly would you say is all together, the Lumè Lash difference?
A: The Lumè Lash difference is the fact that our technicians are highly trained, they don’t just take a weekend class, they train for months and we continue to train. We continue to educate ourselves and try new products. We are on the cutting edge of being innovative as we have a couple products that are in prototype right now, and we hope to really change the eyelash industry across the world with what we’ve invented.
Q: Anything else you would like to say?
A:Watch out for Lumè, we are coming your way!