Picture this — you've scored a new client and they're super excited about getting lashes! You've been talking back and forth, everything’s going smoothly, when suddenly they let you know that they already have lashes on. From someone else. And they want to come to you for a fill, otherwise known as a foreign fill.
What do you do?
This is pretty common, but can be difficult to deal with. We're going to get into what foreign fills are, why many lash artists choose not to perform them, and how to decide your own position on accepting foreign fill clients.
The Lowdown On Foreign Fill Lashes
Clients who come in with an existing lash set from a different lash artist and request a fill are known as foreign fills. They might be from out of town or trying out a new lash artist but still have their previous lashes on. While this might not seem like a huge issue, it can actually be harder to deal with than you think.
Lashes are already hard enough, and working over someone else’s set adds another layer of difficulty. You might not know exactly where they got the lashes done or who applied them. Maybe they aren’t quite as skilled as you are, and the client is experiencing a reaction to the subpar lashing. You might even have to take off the first set before you can begin your service if the lashes are really poor quality — turning the fill into a full removal!
Any of the above situations would only complicate your appointment and throw off your schedule. So how do you deal with foreign fills?
Turning Down A Foreign Lash Fill
Make sure you are comfortable working over another artist’s work. Beginner lash artists might not be comfortable accepting foreign fills at this start of their career for several reasons: they might not have a wide range of supplies to accommodate the set that the client comes in with; or they are not experienced enough in removals in case the lashes are stuck or not isolated properly. This is totally fine, just be aware that clients might ask to come in for a fill, so have a polite response outlining why you cannot see them such as:
"I prefer all my lash sets to look the same and not filled in with a different product line for consistency. I can do a full removal and assess your lashes and we can start from scratch to ensure isolating and styling is on point."
You can also put a disclosure about foreign fills on your website or social media so you don’t get asked in the first place! After gaining more experience, you can change this policy and bring in even more clients.
Even when you're comfortable doing foreign fills, the client's lashes might not be ready for it. Sometimes the client might come in with a set that is stuck or very poorly isolated. In this case it is best to complete a full removal and and send your new client home with a lash serum. Lash serums will help restore the health of the natural lashes. Typically after a removal and using lash serum for 3-4 weeks the client is ready for a new set again!
Accepting Foreign Fills
If you are ready to take in foreign fills, ask for photos of their lashes first. You can assess the previous artist’s work, the style of the existing lashes, and decide if you want to take the client on or not. Most artists will charge more for foreign fills if there are a lot of adjustments to be made, so keep that in mind when setting your prices.
When a client comes in with a foreign fill treat it as if you were doing a normal fill. Cleanser, go through the extensions to ensure isolation is good. If isolation is poor but you can separate them using tweezers, go ahead and do so. Then proceed on filling the client in. If the client's set is completely stuck, a full removal is recommended, then a full set if the client's natural lashes are in good condition. If they need a break, send them home with lash serum, and reschedule in 3-4 weeks.
In case you think the style of their extensions is not what is best for their eye shape, you can communicate with your client what style you think is a better fit. And give them the option of a full removal and new set, or you can slowly transition the shape over the course of multiple fills. Typically this can take 3-4 fills to completely change a style.
Why PLA Recommends Accepting Foreign Fills
We see this question a lot in Lash Groups -- "Should I accept foreign fills?" Our answer is always yes for one specific reason: you might gain a new client! Based on how you handle the fill, you have the opportunity to do an amazing lash set and hopefully gain a new client after the appointment.
Foreign fills are not something to be afraid of! However, they do require a certain level of skill and experience. Once you feel confident and comfortable with other aspects of lashing, consider taking in foreign fill clients. You’ll be able to grow your clientele and your lashing abilities!
Happy lashing, everyone!