Glue Fumes: Are They Dangerous?

‘I’m looking for a lash extensions glue with low fumes’ is something we see quite often in our inboxes, and while we can give some quite general advice about which glues will have lower levels of fumes, or how to avoid chemical burns, it got us thinking about the nature of glue and what exactly is best practice when it comes to glue fumes. 

The fumes in eyelash extensions glue come from the cyanoacrylate - this is the main ingredient in any eyelash extensions glue. Cyanoacrylate is responsible for the vast majority of allergic reactions, for chemical burns and for some of us having a little bit of respiratory irritation while we apply lashes, so it makes total sense that we’d want to keep fumes to a minimum. However, lower fumes means less cyanoacrylate, which in turn means a slower drying glue, which means that the fumes are actually hanging around for a bit longer - so are lower fumes better? 

When you then consider that faster glue does technically emit more fumes, however those fumes don’t hang around quite so long as the glue is curing faster, it can all make your head spin a little bit! 

Even when we do find a lash adhesive that has the right balance of drying time and fume emittance, it only takes a reduction in our humidity levels to increase our drying time and, by extension, how much our glue fumes hang around. 

Instead of trying to find a glue with lower fumes then, what can we do to ensure that glue fumes are less of a source of irritation for you and your client? 


While the proximity of glue rings are super convenient when it comes to dipping and placement speed due to their proximity both to you and your client’s lashes, it is that same proximity which leads to irritation for both of you!

That amount of glue being so close to your client’s eyes will lead to a higher risk of chemical burn compared to just the glue being applied to their lashes. It also puts the glue closer to your and their airways which can of course cause irritation. While you can’t really distance yourself from glue entirely, you can increase that distance by using a glue stone instead of a ring. There are lots of other benefits to using a jade stone for your lash glue rather than a glue ring, for example generating less waste, using less glue, and being more cost effective. 


If you often feel a bit sniffy, or if your throat is a bit dry, itchy or even congested while you’re working, it’s quite likely that the glue fumes are affecting your airways, so while you’re working, just make sure you’re wearing a face mask - just this will help so much with any irritation to your airways while you’re working.

If your client has a chemical burn, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re doing all you can to avoid this. Chemical burns are due to glue fumes getting into the eyes, but the glue isn’t always to blame! 

  • Always check that your client’s eyes are completely closed by running a little mirror along the eyepatch - if you can see ANY of the whites of their eyes they are highly likely to experience a chemical burn. If your client’s eyes won’t close, try the following:
  • Use a small piece of tape to keep the eyelid closed if they struggle to keep them closed
  • Make sure you’re not pressing down too much on the eyepatches with your isolation tweezers
  • Try using foam tape instead of eyepatches if your client struggles to keep their eyes closed due to the shape of them
  • Glue down one lash to the eyepatch to keep the eyelids closed
  • Advise against consuming caffeine and/or sugar for at least one hour before the treatment to avoid their eyelids flickering 
  • Tape a small coin to the eyelid to weigh down the eyelid and prevent flickering

In short, there are so many factors affecting how fumey your glues are that it’s far better to simply choose the glue that’s best for you in terms of drying time and useability, and to adapt how you work a little bit to prevent any irritation from the fumes.