Chloe Argeropolos became a certified eyelash technician in May 2018 and always starts eyelash extension applications by washing or sanitizing her hands.
“You wash the utensils after you use them, the tweezers that are used, and then they go in the Barbicide solution to kill any bacteria, and then I put them under a UV light for extra sterilization,” Argeropolos said. “Like a three-step process.”
She said she learned the process of sanitization and sterilization in esthetics school.
In the state of Indiana, a person can currently become a licensed esthetician after meeting specific requirements. This includes age and education, graduating from an esthetics program in a licensed training facility, receiving a minimum of a 75% on an exam for applicants and paying their fees, according to Indiana Code 25-8-12.5-4.
Eyelash application wasn't taught in esthetics school, Aregeropolos said. She said she got certified to apply lashes after a boss at one of her first spa jobs required it.
“I didn't necessarily want to at first because it's very tedious, but it's rewarding in the end because they're so beautiful,” Aregeropolos said.
Senate Bill 361, would require the Indiana Department of Health to adopt “reasonable rules” to ensure that facilities where eyelash extensions are applied are kept sanitary.
According to the bill, individuals would be required to complete the minimum hours of training and education in the application and sanitization of eyelash extensions. The bill would also require the individual to receive certification, or a similar recognition, once their program is completed.
The certification process depends on the company, Aregeropolos said. For her certification, Aregeropolos learned how to apply extensions and practiced on different models to demonstrate her skill level before receiving certification.
Barbers and cosmetologists also can be licensed to perform their operations after graduating from licensed training programs and receiving a satisfactory grade on examination under Indiana State code.
Daphne Knight, an esthetician at Hair International Day Spa in Bloomington, said beauty industry workers being held to standards is why legalization like this is so important.
“We are working so closely with people,” Knight said. “We are working with their skin. The skin on your face is so much different than the skin on your body, it's more sensitive, it's more susceptible to things.”
When applying eyelashes, Knight said she uses extremely sharp tweezers and three different kinds of tape to hold the eye open and hold the bottom lashes down.
“In the event that one of those is loose, that can potentially cause the eye to be glued shut,” Knight said.
When dealing with the mucous membrane, the eyes aren’t different from the mouth Solange Marcum, owner of Lé Esthetics, said. The mucous membrane is the inner lining of some organs and body cavities, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Marcum said the sanitation when working with the eye is why legislation like this is important.
“You can catch things, you can spread germs very easily,” Marcum said. “So it's just as important as a dentist, having proper sanitation or anything else when you're dealing with the eye area.”
Marcum said finding information on eyelash extension regulations in Indiana is difficult, which is why she believes legislation like Senate Bill 361 is coming through the legislature now.
“I think it's become probably a more apparent safety issue and also a lot of other states have very clear guidelines and standards, and for some reason Indiana doesn't,” Marcum said.
Knight said she has had a client who had her eyelid cut open by another lash artist.
Under the bill, eyelash extensions would be exempt from the law regulating cosmetology. Marcum said this would compromise standards for safety and sanitization as she believes it wouldn’t be well regulated.
In the Indiana code 25-8-1, the practice of natural hair braiding is currently exempt from regulation. Cosmetology and esthetics do not include performing the act of natural hair braiding, according to Indiana Code.
Knight said she didn’t believe the bill would hurt her business.
“I would much rather go to a professional who can be held accountable, and who is held to certain standards because of laws and certain practices and everything,” Knight said.
Senate Bill 361 was returned to the Senate without amendments on March 31 and no further action has occurred. According to a document from the Indiana State House tour office, if a bill passes through the second chamber without amendments, it goes to the governor for signature.