I see so many newer lash artists that are flat-out panicked that they can't do a full set in an hour and a half…. Even in two hours. They are terrified that because they are slow now they'll never be good enough, that clients won't be willing to stay for taking the time they need, and that the work they are producing right now isn’t anything to be proud of yet. Now, there are some incredibly fast lash artists out there, but that takes time to get there, not to mention the majority of lash artists will never do a full set in an hour and a half - no matter how long they have been lashing. So, ladies and gents, let's take a step back from the "how long does it take" situation and evaluate what goes into it for a moment.
Stop for a moment and think about this: We literally make an individual fan out of tiny synthetic hairs for each and every hair growing out of somebody's eyelid. Then we isolate them to make sure none of those little lash babies get stuck together, and we place that fan (or classic lash) with such precision using tiny, sharp instruments that we need to also care for so gently. THAR TAKES TIME! Can you imagine if we didn’t take our time? Sure you can! You’ve seen those sets circulated on social media as much as I have with lashes stuck to the lid, stacked on top of eachother, and all glued together. It's safe to say those are probably “express” sets that take 30-60 minutes, tops. Did you know it's absolutely reasonable for a new lash artist's first full set of classics to take up to 6 hours? Did you also know it's completely unreasonable to think a brand new lash artist should be able to do a full set of lashes in anything under 3 hours, using completely foreign tools and a skill set they have never tried in their life?? When we pause to think about these things in detail, it's a lot easier to be kind to ourselves and understanding. When all we do is compare ourselves to people who have been in the industry longer (or more full time) that's when it all leads to stress and self-doubt.
Do you know how long it took me to do that wispy set I recently posted on my Instagram feed? No? That's ok! I don't either. More than two hours, that’s for sure, and if I did happen to time it, chances are I wouldn't advertise exactly how long it actually took because I don't want anyone out there to think that their time should be the same as mine. Two very experienced lash artists may take completely different times with a very similar looking set, because we all work a little bit differently...
I have always, always booked the amount of time I need to do a great service - and trust me, sometimes that doesn't even feel like enough. I understand that almost all of us are on pretty strict schedules, that we have clients to fit in regularly, and sometimes we aren't in charge of how long we get to do a full set or a fill. In those circumstances I'd encourage you to do your absolute best with what you have to work with and then... Let. It. Go. There is so much second-guessing that goes on when it comes to what we do that we don't need to make ourselves suffer because we maybe could have gotten a few more lashes on each eye.
For those of you who ARE in charge of your own time - TAKE AS MUCH AS YOU NEED TO MAKE IT GREAT. Turn that timing into a positive thing and tell your clients that you take as much time as you need so they can get the best possible service from you. Yes, they may get antsy toward the end, it’s only natural, but they will appreciate you and the quality of your services from here on out. Especially if you are confident and kind about it.
I went for YEARS convincing my clients that 3.5 hours was standard for someone who did what it takes to produce clean, excellently executed lash work. And you know what? I wasn't wrong. It just takes different people different amounts of time to do great work and THIS ISN'T A CONTEST. It's a service. So do your best for your client with what you have to work with. If it helps, I give you permission to take as long as you need. A personal tip from years of experience - DON'T apologize toward the end of an appointment and promise that it's almost over. This only plants the seed that you may lack confidence in your skill set, and may have them wondering just why you haven't finished yet. They are paying you for the best service you can give, and in order to get what they are paying for, they can be patent and let you work. Isn’t that a relief?
One last thing that I can't leave without saying: There certainly is a time and a place for improvement on your timing. Sometimes it takes us pushing ourselves (or someone pushing us), or learning a new technique to make it happen. Learning the mega volume Flower Bouquet technique took me from a 3 - 3.5 hour full set down to a 2 hour full set within about 6 months. I still take 3 hours for a full set of Russian Volume though, so again, to each his or her own! But that's not what I'm addressing here today, so we'll leave that for another day.
Theodore Roosevelt once said "Comparison is the thief of joy." And I'd venture to say that's spot on. Take joy in your work today, know you are unique, and you are doing great, just where you are.
Love & Lashes,
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