Maggie Rants [and Raves]

Dropping the Ball on MMA

by Maggie Franklin | August 13, 2014 | Bookmark +

There are some stereotypes about what sort of salon uses MMA.

If only those stereotypes were reliable, it would be so easy to avoid the stuff. It would be easy to navigate the public away from it.

Alas, no. New clients come from other salons all the time with a set of nails already on that they want replaced, or filled, or whatever. And all too often I get into the process and find myself having to explain that “real” acrylic shouldn’t smell like that. That it should soak off more easily. That it should file more easily. That...that...that....

That they have MMA on their nails.

It has been a matter of great frustration to me over the years that there is so little effort made to educate the consumer.

I mean, there are hundreds — thousands — of conscientious, concerned nail professionals out here in the real world doing our darnedest to get the information out there. But the Department of Consumer Affairs — which the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology is a department of — sits in judgment of our industry (here in California), slapping hard-working professionals on the wrist for failing to update our pedicure logs, while making virtually no effort whatsoever to actually put pertinent information in front of the consumer for whom they are named.

I once spent some time speaking with some representatives from the State Board who manned a booth at a tradeshow. First off, they had no clue what I was talking about through most of the conversation — really. You’d think you’d at least make your minions read the Cosmetology Act before you sent them to a tradeshow. (eye roll) Second, they said no when I asked if there was any way I could get more copies of the little “how to choose a salon” pamphlet they had available on their table.

OK. Seriously? The State Board actually has a little printed pamphlet full of useful information about what constitutes a safe and healthy salon experience. A pamphlet that is clearly written for the consumer — not for us. But they aren’t made available to consumers.

It’s no wonder so many people keep going to “bad” salons — they don’t know they are bad salons. People really think that going to beauty school teaches us how to do nails. People really think that our licenses are monitored and that the government is making sure that “bad” salons aren’t allowed to stay in business.

And meanwhile, too many licensees seem to think about the same thing. They make no effort to educate themselves beyond passing the state board exam. They blithely go about their business, using equipment that doesn’t meet state board regulations (like big puffy cosmetic brushes — how do you disinfect those?) and products that not only violate the regulations, but put their, their coworkers’, and their clients’ health at risk. Under the assumption that if it was for sale at the local beauty supply, it must be OK.

Our clients should be able to trust us to be educated and professional. The state shouldn’t haveto spend resources to warn the public that they can’t trust just any salon. But somewhere along the way, someone is dropping the ball — whether it’s the licensing requirements, the school curriculums, or laziness on our own part — and until that ball gets picked back up and back in the right court, someone should be warning the public that not all of us know what the heck we’re doing, and how to tell the difference!

In the meantime, more of us need to make the effort to educate ourselves so we can educate our clients.

I’m sick of soaking off MMA.


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