Have you ever pet a mink? A ferret? Maybe a bunny? I have only pet ferrets and bunnies, and I can tell you that they are pretty soft and cuddly. I always imagined that petting a mink would be quite similar experience that I have yet to experience.
As a long time user of Xtreme lashes, I was very impressed the first time I touched "Grade A 100% Mink Lashes" from another company. I switched all my trays over, and added my Xtreme lashes to the lash graveyard in my office filled with lots of glitter and ombre lashes. Don't we all have that box somewhere!
My customers noted the softness of my new lashes, and my clientele continued to grow and grow. Within a year, I hired 5 more lashers and I was ready for the next adventure - Making my own product line!
What I am about to tell you is going to shock you.
I couldn't believe it. All the manufacturers of lashes said that "Mink" and "Silk" were all made from the same material. PBT. Plastic. They showed me sample packaging from various manufacturers that promised "Real Mink", "Genuine Mink", "Natural Mink" and they were all made from PBT. To prove it, they sent me samples of "100% Siberian Mink" which is real hair.
The scientist in me was enthused! I called up friends in Forensics, and tried to google "Hair Testing" methods! I'm such a nerd! In the end, the simplest way to prove to myself that these lashes were indeed plastic was to burn them with a match - near water of course! So ... my lashers crowded around and we began the experiment. First, it smelled like plastic. Second, the lashes balled up and melted .... like plastic. Have a look at this picture. The deeper I burned it, the more the lashes balled up and melted. I cut off the brand name to protect their privacy.
Could this be? Am I the only one who actually thought that I had a tray of 3000 MINK lashes that were all perfectly even, sorted, and had perfect and identical shapes? Looking back, it kind of sounds silly that a "real Mink" lash would come in .10, .12, .15, .18, .20, .25 ... And they all just look so even on a tray. How would they do that with hair? I believed this so completely and fully that I had even turned clients away because they did not want real mink, or they were vegan, or allergic to pets...
I was in shock. My lashing world had been shattered. I had to do more testing ... of course.
Next up ... The Real Deal
We tested the "100 % Siberian Mink" too, and guess what happened. First, it didn't smell like much. Second, it crumbled! We tested burning hair from our brushes (we aren't that crazy to cut our hair off!), and it crumbled the same way. When we ran our fingers through the lashes, the burned parts crumbled off onto the tile. Have you ever accidentally burned your hair on the BBQ? The comparison was uncanny. We decided to order our lashes and added the "100% Siberian Mink Lashes" to our lash line. Below is a test we did when we received our first shipment ... just to be sure this time! Success. Singed hair again that crumbles to the touch.
So I guess the manufacturers were telling the truth afterall. But how can it be that we, as an industry, let people falsely labled products as "Genuine Mink" when they are indeed plastic?
Take your favorite "Mink" lash and isolate it onto a fire proof surface. Have a bowl of water handy. Do your own test! Post pictures of your results! Block out the "Brand Names" so that we don't get anyone in trouble.