Pretreatment: What's Necessary and What Can You Skip?

We get it - Lash Extensions Pretreatment is a minefield, surely you don’t need all of it, right? Five steps of anything must be overkill! Usually we’re team ‘less is more’, but when it comes to your pretreatment you really can’t be cutting corners! Just to help you get to grips with our tried, tested and loved 5-step Pretreatment Routine, we thought we’d take a nice little deep-dive into the world of lash extensions pretreatment to show you the specific purpose of each product, and to let you know what you can safely skip if you’re short on time!

Step 1: Foam Cleanser

Foaming Lash Cleanser is a gentle but thorough first step - technically you can use it as a one-step-wonder being as it cleanses the skin and lashes, however you’ll get far better results if you carry on with the rest of the routine! 

London Lash Shampoo contains antibacterial tea tree extract which keeps eyes safe from conditions like blepharitis and styes, and is a great product to retail to your clients to use as their aftercare for this very reason. 

Can You Use Foam Cleanser Alone?

If you’re really in a pinch. Just be sure to rinse VERY thoroughly to ensure any and all residue is gotten rid of before you start applying lashes.

Can You Skip The Foam Cleanser?

As long as you’re using the rest of the routine then yes, you can technically skip this step. If your client has lots of makeup on though you’ll find this a good starting point rather than just Protein Pads - they are up to the task but they’ll take longer.

Step 2: Protein Removing Cleansing Pads

Protein Pads are small and are easy to overlook where pretreatment is concerned, but they’re one of our absolute FAVOURITE products! Protein Pads featured in the original product lineup back when London Lash was founded, and to this day remain both a best seller, and one of our absolute staples - we’d never be without them! 

Protein Pads are amazing for getting a nice deep clean of the lash line as they are - just wrap them around your finger tip for accuracy and give the lashes, lash line and eyelids a lovely thorough cleanse - they can be used during infills too, just be careful around the glue bonds! 

One of the best things about Protein Pads is that they contain more product than they appear to - they’ve got so much liquid in them that you can squeeze out the excess and get a really nice thorough cleanse, which means that you’ll have leftover cleansing goodness! To get the best out of that you can do two things:

  • Take a cleansing brush and dip it into the liquid for a really thorough cleanse of the lash line
  • Take some cotton pads and put them into the pot when you’re out of pads for a little eye makeup removal action at home! 

Can You Use Protein Pads Alone?

Not really - we love them but they’re not exactly miracle workers when used alone. They’ll remove the majority but not all, so are always best when followed by Cleanser and Primer. 

Can You Skip Protein Pads?

You can, but only if you’ve started with Foam Cleanser. We’d still highly recommend that you use both as they serve their own purposes but if you have to pick one or the other you can. Protein Pads remove obvious makeup from the lashes, but one of their most important functions is to cleanse the skin around the eyes, making it easier for eyepatches and tape to stay where you put it.

Step 3: Cleanser

Cleanser is arguably the most important step of your pretreatment routine - it’s alcohol based so it breaks down any and all oils, makeup residue, skincare products and dust, etc. that might be present on the lashes (yes, even after the use of Foam Cleanser and Protein Pads!) so it’s essential for use in your pretreatment routine as it means that the lash glue has a perfectly clean surface to adhere to. 

Can You Use Lash Cleanser Alone?

You might think that with the lashes being so clean you can just go right to application, but there are two really important reasons that you can’t use it by itself. The first reason is that Cleanser can’t touch the skin, so it won’t help you at all to keep eyepatches and/or tape in place which will actually make your lash sets take much longer as you’ll have to spend lots of time trying to get your eyepatches to behave (read: fighting a losing battle)

The Second reason is that by using Cleanser alone, you’d be significantly increasing the time it would take for your glue to cure - with Cleanser being alcohol based it is quite drying for the hairs - as we all know it’s the moisture in the air (and our clients) which causes our glue to cure, which is why we have to be so vigilant with our room conditions. By using Cleanser alone you’d be providing a lovely clean base, but you’re giving the glue nothing to work with. 

Can You Skip Cleanser?


Step 4. Primer

Primer is water based, and adds moisture to the lashes after the use of Cleanser - it’s the Yin to Cleanser’s Yang - they must be used together without exception! By adding moisture to the lashes, you’re giving the glue incentive to grip onto the lash as soon as it makes contact with them, so it really is a necessary step of your pretreatment.

Can You Use Primer alone?

Not really, there’s absolutely no reason to use Primer alone - you’re basically just making the lashes wet if you use this without using Cleanser first which A. will make your glue dry a little faster than you want before it can form a really good bond, and B. you’re not cleaning anything off of the lashes so as soon as your client washes their lashes in the shower, their lashes will slide right off as they’ll be attached to those oils etc. that were left on the lashes. 

Can You Skip Primer?

Only if you skipped Cleanser too, which you didn’t because you’re a pro, right? In all seriousness, the only time you should ever even consider skipping Primer is if you’re committed to using only Foam Cleanser, but like we said to begin with this isn’t really something that we advise.

Step 5: Booster

Booster is the last step of our Pretreatment routine, it’s what’s going to give you the edge when it comes to retention. Booster has an alkaline pH which means that it slightly opens the hair cuticles, which makes the surface of the hair more rough and gives the glue more to bond with. 

One thing we should mention is that Booster does increase the bonding time of your glue and gives you less time to correct a leaning fan, so if you feel like your glue is fast enough, it’s probably a good idea to leave Booster out of your routine - if you’re at a point where your glue is feeling a little bit slow but the next fastest glue is daunting, it’s a great time to try Booster! 

Can You Use Booster Alone?

Not really, it needs a clean base in order to work its magic so using it by itself is setting it up for failure. You can use Booster on the eyelash extensions strips, however, if you’re dying to use it by itself. By applying Booster to the lash strips you’re preventing your volume fans from closing - you don’t need to use Booster on Classic lashes, on Premade fans or on Easy Fanning lashes

Can You Skip Booster? 

You can do, though once you’ve used Booster once we don’t think you’ll want to skip it! 

So there you have it - our deepest pretreatment dive to date! All the inside intel on what you can skip and what can go solo. To recap - Foam Cleanser is an okay one-step wonder as long as your client doesn’t have too much makeup on, and as long as you rinse well. Protein Pads, Cleanser and Primer are like the Charlie’s Angels of the lash industry and the 5 step routine will see you become retention royalty in no time at all. Ultimately, what you choose to use will come down to preference and budget but we can’t help to advocate for all the bells and whistles!