Can You Skip These Pretreatment Steps? The Truth About Our 5-Step Routine!

5 steps of anything might seem like overkill to some people, but when you consider that you might use a scalp exfoliant, followed by shampoo, followed by conditioner, followed by heat treatment spray, followed by some texturising mousse when styling your hair, is it really fair to say that 5 steps of pretreatment for eyelash extensions is too many? Sure, you can get by on shampoo and conditioner alone, but if you want your hair to be healthy and shiny and strong for longer, you add extra steps, right?

That is all to say that while there are steps in a pretreatment routine that you can do without, you need to ask yourself whether you you should - just to help you cut out any guesswork, we’re here to shed some light on the things you need, vs the things that are okay to leave out when it comes to pretreatment.Applying lash cleanser with a lash microswab

Foam Cleanser

We’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that Lash Shampoo is a good one-step pretreatment routine, and while that’s true (it’s a particularly good option for beginners who are on a tight budget in their first few months) it’s not quite as thorough as you need for truly excellent retention times. 

Foam Cleanser gets rid of makeup, oils and any remnants of skincare on the lashes and eyelid area so it certainly helps eyepatches to stay in place, and eyelash extensions stay attached to the natural lashes, though it can be a little bit difficult to get right to the roots with foam cleanser alone, so depending on your exact glue bonding zone, you may still find that you have some issue with retention if you’re using foam cleanser alone.Applying eyelash shampoo with an eyelash cleansing brush

Lash Shampoo contains tea tree extract which is a natural antibacterial ingredient, so as well as being good to use in your pretreatment, it also makes for excellent aftercare! For a bit of extra income, why not retail them to your clients?

Can You Solely Use Foam Cleanser?

You can do, though it's better as part of team. If you use Foam Cleanser alone, be sure to rinse it really really thoroughly to ensure there's no residue left behind.

Can You Skip Foam Cleanser

Also yes. If your client has lots of makeup and mascara on, though, it will be really helpful to use this as your first step to remove the majority of the makeup.lashes pretreatment, best lash shampoo, foam cleaner for lash extensions

Protein Remover and Cleansing Pads

The award for London Lash’s most underrated product surely goes to Protein Remover Pads - for us, they’re as essential as the lash glue but so many techs try to get by without them! Protein Pads are going to get rid of any leftover makeup that foam cleanser left behind, as well as giving a really thorough cleanse to the lash line. 

There are 75 Protein Pads in each pot, so they only cost you around 45 cents per treatment but you can get even more use out of them just by using cleansing brushes - there is so much liquid contained in these pads that you can squeeze the liquid out of each pad and you still get an excellent thorough cleanse, you’ll also have leftover liquid by doing this. You can press your cleansing brushes into the tops of the pads or dip them into the excess liquid that you’ll see at the bottom of the pot - this helps the protein pads to go even further and become even more cost effective. Cleansing eyelash extensions with a protein pad

Can You Solely Use Protein Pads?

For as much as we adore them, you can’t really use them by themselves. They’re really great when used as part of a routine and will get a fair amount of makeup off of the eyelids and lashes, but they aren’t quite as effective at removing heavy makeup or breaking down oils etc. as you need them to be for eyelash extensions pretreatment. 

Can You Skip Protein Pads?

Well you can, but we don’t think you should. Our genuine advice to you is to invest in Protein Pads, Cleanser and Primer if you don’t want to opt for the 5-step routine - this will give you a really great lash and eyelid area cleanse to keep your eye patches and lash extensions exactly where you want them. 

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Cleanser is vital! It’s alcohol based which means it completely strips away all makeup, oils, skincare residue, sebum, dust, dirt and anything else that might have made its home in your client’s natural lashes. 

Can You Solely Use Cleanser?

No, Cleanser isn’t good alone because of it being alcohol based which is quite drying for your lashes. It also can’t be used on the skin so won’t help you at all where keeping eye patches in place is concerned. 

Can You Skip Cleanser?

Nope! Unless you’re only using Foam Cleanser. But even then, following up with Cleanser is advised if you want those lashes to be super squeaky clean!lash cleanser for eyelash extensions placed on an acrylic table


Think of Primer along the same lines as conditioner - you always follow up shampoo with conditioner and you MUST follow Cleanser with Primer. Primer adds moisture to the lashes after the use of Cleanser so will basically make your glue work how it should - Cleanser alone - as we’ve mentioned - is drying for the lashes so will slow glue down and prevent it from working properly so you need to use Primer afterwards. 

Primer is really nice and nourishing for the lashes so keeps them happy and healthy. 

Can You Solely Use Eyelash Primer?

No, there’s no benefit to using Primer alone whatsoever. 

Can You Skip Lash Primer?

No, especially if you’ve used Cleanser. 

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Booster is the fifth and final step of our tried and tested pretreatment routine, it’s an alkaline based product which opens up the cuticle of the lashes making them rougher, and giving the lash extensions glue more to bond with as a result. 

What we will say here is that if you’re new to lashing you might find that Booster isn’t the best idea - while it will give your glue more to bond with, it does speed up the drying time of your eyelash glue, so it might mean that you don’t have the time you need to get the lash placed properly before your glue cures, which will prevent good retention times. It’s better in these cases to start using Booster once your glue starts to feel like it’s a bit slow for you. 

Can You Solely Use Booster?

No, Booster needs the lashes to be completely clean in order to work. Going straight in with Booster won’t do you any good at all. 

Can You Skip Booster?

Yes, you can. Once you’re ready and you do start using it though, you’ll be hooked! applying lash booster to eyelash extensions with a microswab

So there you have it, all the steps of pretreatment necessary for excellent retention. For best results don’t skip a thing, but if you’re looking to cut back on the products you use day in, day out, we’d suggest using Protein Pads, Cleanser and Primer as a minimum for the best results!