Ep 65 - Lash Misconceptions: social media vs. reality

Google lash extensions, and the images that pop up are everything from mega-volume to classic full sets. Often the images portrayed are from procedures that take hours to perform on one eye alone, and are for social media purposes only—they are not reality. In this episode of ASCP Esty Talk, Cirocco Stout shares with us common lash misconceptions and the detrimental effects of these unrealistic expectations on the lash artist and their business.


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Author Bio: 


Cirocco Stout began her career in the lash industry in 2003 as one of the first lash artists in the country. Since then, she has become a master in lash texture and tape isolation as well as building long-lasting client relationships and providing amazing service. 

Cirocco was named one of the top 20 lash artists in Phoenix and was also featured as one of the original “Real Beauty Bosses.” In 2020 she launched her own company, Ciroc Co. Beauty, which offers lash training as well as high-quality lash products and tools for technicians. 

0:00:00.0 Speaker 1: This podcast is sponsored by LAMPROBE. LAMPROBE is a popular aesthetic tool that enables skin care practitioners to rapidly treat a wide variety of common minor skin irregularities or MSI. Red MSI treated by LAMPROBE include dilated capillaries and cherry angiomas, yellow MSI, cholesterol deposits and sebaceous hyperplasia, and brown MSI treated, include skin tags and more. LAMPROBE MSI treatments are non-evasive and deliver immediate results. LAMPROBE can empower your skin practice with these new and highly in-demand services. For more information, visit LAMPROBE.com, that's L-A-M-P-R-O-B-E.com, and follow LAMPROBE on social media, @LAMPROBE. 


0:00:52.6 Speaker 2: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources and education for estheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk, because ASCP knows, it's all about you. 


0:01:07.8 Maggie Staszcuk: Hello, everyone, and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk. I'm your host today, Maggie Staszcuk. I have been a licensed esthetician since 2006, and I'm the Advanced Modality Specialist here at Associated Skin Care Professionals, where no topic is off limits. We share all kinds of great information on this podcast, from ingredients and the science of the skin, to business and beauty diversity. We hope you come away, having learned more about your career, the industry and maybe even life in general. 


0:01:34.4 MS: Today, we are joined by Cirocco Stout. Cirocco Stout began her career in the lash industry, in 2003, as one of the first lash artists in the country. Since then, she has become a Master in lash texture and tape isolation, as well as building long-lasting client relationships, and providing amazing service. Cirocco was named one of the top 20 lash artists in Phoenix, and was also featured as one of the original real beauty bosses. In 2020, she launched her own company, Cirocco Beauty, which offers lash training as well as high quality lash products and tools for technicians. Please welcome Cirocco Stout to the podcast. Hello, Cirocco. 


0:02:14.1 Cirocco Stout: Hello. Thank you so much for having me back. 


0:02:16.7 MS: Thanks for coming on the show. What are you noticing about lashes on social media, versus what's real life?  


0:02:22.7 CS: I personally, got caught up in what social media fake lash life is all about. And so my career started when social media never even really existed. In fact, when it first came out, I had just transferred into being a solo artist, moving from a big company, where I was able to find clientele on social media in a different way than it is now, and it keeps evolving. So the one thing that I have seen, now that it's been, here we are, over 17 years of me being in the lash industry, is just like what people think lash extensions are, versus what they truly are in real life versus social media. And social media is fake. So I went to this lash forum, to help inspire me, and it really opened my eyes on what the truth is, of social media. And while I was in this forum, listening to everyone talk, this one woman had this beautiful image of lashes, on the screen. And someone raised their hand and said, "How long did it take you to do this set of lashes?" Because I was also thinking, "Holy moly. These are perfect. I've been doing lashes longer than all of the people in the whole forum combined together, and my lashes are not that good." 


0:03:54.0 CS: From an image, I just knew my work wasn't that kind of quality. And so I was really curious on what this woman was going to say. And she said, "Well, this image was a friend of mine, and we only did her one eye, for only images only, for social media. This one eye took me three hours." In that moment, of me hearing all of these words, it was just kind of like my head was exploding, because I never thought that people were just taking... And I guess I knew that people were always taking photos for just social media, but I never knew the complexity of how people were really utilising social media and marketing their beautiful work, which is unrealistic. So I never met a woman that would be able to lay down for six hours, to get that type of set of lashes. It's unrealistic, truly. 


0:05:00.4 CS: There is a very small percentage of women or people, to lay down and do six hours of lashes. Two things, that's a lot of time, but then that's also a lot of time to have chemicals on someone's eyes. And we don't really talk about that time frame. When we are on a client's eyes and we do take really long times for steps, and when we're beginning, that is totally normal. But it increases the chances of allergies and irritation around the eye. So while I'm sitting here, listening to this woman talk about how long it took her to do that one eye, I realised, I got caught up in this fake social media of what technicians are in the room, versus what they show. One, they're only showing their best work and forbid anyone to post a photo that might have some realistic expectations on the eye, where it's not perfect, or they look a little bit different. That's real life. And we're not talking about bad work, we're not talking about work that was done incorrectly. We're just talking about realistic work versus the perfection that you see on social media. And it's really terrible, because here I was, a really positive technician who had no self-doubt in my ability to do any lashes. Show me a photo, and I can make that happen. But then I found myself creeping into that negative space of perfection and what's not real. 


0:06:43.2 CS: I know that everyone talks about showing photos of bodies that are all perfect because they're Photoshopped. There is no difference with that, than showing only perfect lashes on social media, because it creates this unrealistic expectation of perfection that technicians, whether you are someone who is like me, that have been doing lashes for over 17 years. I can't achieve that in a timely fashion, but also, clients are also looking for that and they want a quick service that's beautiful, that's gonna last a really long time. That is really what clients want. And so it's really sad to see that I got caught up in all of that. But I'm able to speak about it now, because I talk to technicians now and I'm like, "Whoa. Stop looking at social media. That's not what social media is. Let me show you in my phone, real lashes. This is what people look like. They don't all have perfect skin, they don't have all these crystally blue, green, brown eyes. These are the things that you should be looking at in your room." 


0:07:57.2 CS: And it's really interesting, because it helps people realise, or technicians, especially new ones, to know, "Oh, my phone is good enough. I am taking great photos. I need these apps to make it look better," because technicians are so thrown off on what they're doing in their room, versus what they're seeing, where we have a lot of technicians that are great with the apps on their phone. Great with taking those three hours to do those lashes, but that's not real life. 


0:08:36.3 MS: How is social media affecting the expectations of clients? Especially you're speaking to social media and lash misconceptions. Are people coming in with these misconceptions and you're having to re-educate, or what are you finding with the clients?  


0:08:52.7 CS: So I think one thing that has been really interesting is, hashtags are being used incorrectly for clients, and I'm on a bunch of lash forums, and it is interesting to me, how many technicians don't ask their clients for photos. Now, I don't know how a client can explain what they want in the words, when they're not the technician. So a photo speaks volumes. There have been too many times that I've asked a client what they want, verbally. They describe it flawlessly, and then I ask them to see a photo and what they described had nothing to do with what they were asking for. They just thought they knew what they were talking about. But when I described what... Or when I showed them a photo of what they actually described, they were like, "Oh no, no, no, I don't want that. That's too full." And it's like, "Well, that's what you described," or, "Oh, you wanted classic. What you showed me was volume." 


0:09:53.6 CS: They're not the professional, and I think technicians have put that burden on their client, and they need to take that off the client and know that they are the professional, as the technician. Look at these photos, ask for photos, do not do a client without seeing a photo, because what their expectations are, can be completely different than what reality can actually get them. I saw a great example. I had a technician reach out to me, show me their client's eyelashes, which were about 3 millimeters long, which is about three credit cards, stacked, so not very long at all. And I said, "Oh, okay, you can still do lashes on her." She was an older woman, anything was better than what she had. But she had to go very minimal on what she received, because of just the integrity of her lash. I said, "What I want you to do is, ask her for a photo of lashes that are short lashes, that she really loves, and something that she wants. So you can see if you can meet her in the middle or see what she likes." 


0:11:04.4 CS: And the technician did this, and it was astonishing, what this client expected. She wanted these extremely full, mega volume lashes. So I laughed when I saw the photo, because it was just like, "Oh my gosh, this client doesn't know she can't have mega-volume lashes. She's so sparse, they're so thin and short." It's not her responsibility to know that she can't have them, it's our responsibility, as technicians, to show her what she maybe can have and explain to her why she can't have what she wants. And when you explain to a client, "Hey, I love these lashes. However, your lashes are very short. Let me show you how short your lashes are. But I wanna protect your lashes. You don't have very many lashes, you only have 15 lashes on each eye. Let's protect your lashes, but we're gonna have to go a little bit more modest, to help make it so your lashes stay on your eyelid forever." And when you describe to them, why they can't have something like that, and it's to protect their eyelashes and the integrity of the health of their lashes, it's amazing, how understanding they are. But it's not the client's responsibility to know all that. You have to teach them. 


0:12:31.4 CS: So I think, with social media, clients go on social media and they see these lashes, and I challenge people to go in and put in classic lashes, hashtag classic lashes, and see what pops up. You are absolutely gonna see mega volume lashes pop up. So how is the client supposed to know that when she typed in 'classic lashes', 100%, she did, you can't tell her she was wrong and she didn't put in 'classic lashes', she's not supposed to know that mega volume isn't classic. She's just looking at images. And so when a client can see something visually, it really helps them understand what it is, and you have to direct them on what they're really looking at and let them know, "Hey, when you are looking at hashtags, don't look at hashtags, just punch in 'lash extensions', and I want you to send me three photos of lashes that you love." Typically, they're going to send you lashes that are very similar to one another, then you can tell them, "You know what, these are light volume lashes," or, "You know what, this is classic lashes. I know exactly what you like. Let me see some photos of your eyelashes," if you haven't seen them yet, and I do a lot of my consultations over the phone and they're very thorough. And I help meet them on their expectation. 


0:13:55.5 CS: So many times, I have heard my new clients tell me, "You ask a lot of questions. I just lay down and I open my eyes and the technician just gives me whatever." This concept, I cannot wrap my mind around, on how anyone can put lashes on someone, without asking them, "Do you sleep on your face?" all of these different things, of what they should be asking their clients. So my goal, as a lash technician, is to make their lashes last a lifetime. 


0:14:30.7 MS: How are lash misconceptions affecting lash artists and their business?  


0:14:37.8 CS: So you need to find out what your style is, for lashes. You don't need to keep up with every trend. I like to try different trends, I like to figure out how to do them, so if I do have a client that comes in, I know kind of how to approach that and be able to do it. I hate telling clients, "No, sorry." The only time I say, "No, sorry," if it's going to hurt their integrity of their lash health. Outside of that, if Betty Joe wants to come in and try green lashes, I'm gonna give her green lashes, and if she wants to have really, really short lashes, as long as it doesn't hurt her and it may not necessarily be my favorite style on her, if it makes her happy, do it. Make your client happy, as long as it's not hurting the health and integrity of the lash. Be a little bit more flexible for your clients and don't get caught up that your lashes have to be what you see on social media. 


0:15:37.3 CS: Every client that I have, that comes into my lash room, they have their own unique style, and I allow them to have their own unique style. So with social media, what I feel happens is that, people feel like they have to do one style, a trend. Trends go in and out. Be a little bit more flexible on what you're doing, ask for photos, don't use social media as your platform on how to rule your room with your client, dictate with your client what their needs are, and that's going to make you successful. Stop using social media and saying, "Oh gosh, these lashes aren't very good. I'm not gonna post it, 'cause I'm not gonna get 500 likes on it." That doesn't make you successful. What makes you successful is, having that client return again and again and again, and that's where we need to stop getting so caught up in the social media numbers, and come back into having that client relationship, so they last a lifetime. 


0:16:52.3 MS: How can lash artists better educate and communicate the realistic results their clients can expect?  


0:16:58.7 CS: I think this is one thing, you need to have first-hand experience. If you are a lash technician that has not worn lash extensions before, you are not serving your clients well. How can you tell me what frosting tastes like, if you've never tasted frosting? How can you tell me how to take care of my lashes, if you've never known what lashes feel like? I've had a few technicians that had been doing lashes for a very long time, and I was listening to them talk to their clients about taking care of their lashes, and when their client walked away, I was like, "Everything that you said, doesn't even make sense for someone who's wearing lash extensions." I highly recommend you getting lash extensions, because then you can talk about lash extensions with your client. 


0:17:47.1 CS: One thing that I have done, and it's so funny, I am the worst client as a lash technician. Why am I the worst client? Because you know what, sometimes I wear make up on my lashes, sometimes I pick my lashes when I'm stressed, sometimes I just touch my lashes all the time, sometimes I over-brush them, sometimes I just sleep on my face. These are all real things that I do as a technician, and I know not to do them on a regular basis, and I can relate to clients, when they come into my room and they have a bald eye. "Oh, so you've been pretty stressed lately, huh?" And they're like, "Oh my gosh, I know. It's the worst." I'm like, "You know what, stuff happens. I totally get it. You should've saw my eyes last week. I totally picked my right eye." And it's funny, because I bring the energy down. We relate at a deep level of just, we're really very similar. And I have found that clients are very honest with me, on what they have been doing. In the past, I used to make clients feel bad for their naughty behaviors, and then I realised it wasn't serving... It made them not wanna tell me things. 


0:19:10.5 CS: And I wasn't doing that on purpose, but I caught myself being like, "Well, you shouldn't do that," and then I realised stuff happens, life isn't perfect and easy all the time. And sometimes we're on vacation, and I'd rather have my client have a blast on vacation and not worry about her lashes, and worry about, "Oh my gosh, she's gonna be mad at me for having fled on my vacation. So many of my lashes on my left eye are gone." I want her to come back and tell me about her amazing trip, and maybe warn me prior, so we can extend her appointment 15 minutes, so we can get her caught back up, or maybe make her another appointment a little bit closer, so we can get her caught back up. But I feel like there's this bond between clients, when you have a first-hand experience and you can really relate to them at a totally deeper level than just scolding your client for coming in a little bit more bare. 


0:20:08.8 CS: This is not talking about clients who break boundaries and who are literally ripping their lashes off every time that they leave their appointment. This is just the normalcy of having lash extension, because sometimes you just have a really rough week, and that is real life. And people like to relate to having that type of deep connection, and it makes them want to come back over and over again, in addition to my conversation with, "Okay, look, you've come in the last three times with your right eye, you keep pulling at them. Let me take a photo of your natural lashes so I can show you what's happening to the damage of your natural lash. Do we need to take a break for a little while? I know things have been really stressful, we can figure this out." And, "Oh no, no, no, I wanna keep my lashes on." So then I'll suggest, "You know what, let's go a little bit lighter. They'll feel a little bit more natural. I know that you've been really, really stressed. Maybe this will help make it so you don't pick as much." 


0:21:16.1 Speaker 1: And so I try to find solutions for these clients, so I can keep them as a client and work with them, because if they're stressed out, the last thing that they want is for you to make them even more stressed. The worst thing to do, is to have a client give you a photo or tell you what they want, without a photo, and have them open their eye and say, "This is not at all what I wanted. These are way too curly, this is way too long, this is way too short." I've had this happen in my room and I am crushed, and I want to fix it. And what did I do as a technician, that made that happen is, I didn't ask for a photo. Ever since that time, I always ask for photos because it wasn't the client's fault that I gave her exactly what she asked for. It's that I didn't actually know what she was asking for, by a visual. And that's going to really help a lot of technicians across the United States and the world, ask for a photo, because that's gonna tell you more than what the client knows how to tell you. 


0:22:29.5 MS: Cirocco, it has been such a pleasure, chatting with you today. And thank you for sharing your expertise with all of us. Tell us where we can find you and learn more about everything you're doing. 


0:22:40.3 CS: Absolutely. You can find me at ciroccobeauty.com, or CiroccoBeauty on Instagram, and please reach out to me if you have any questions, I'd love to answer them. I have lots and lots of information on problem-solving. So if you have a client that you need help with, reach out. 


0:22:57.8 MS: Thank you for sharing your expertise with us, Cirocco. And thank you for everyone listening in. Have a great day, and we'll talk with you next time. 


0:23:05.5 Speaker 2: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more, subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all inclusive association for estheticians, that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join, at ascpskincare.com, only 259 per year, for all this goodness. ASCP knows, it's all about you.

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