Nail extension products do not belong in the hands of non-licensed practitioners. Manufacturers who sell artificial nail products to the general public are putting the user’s safety, the viability of the professional industry, and the reputation of their own company at risk. Artificial nail products — particularly liquid and powder, fiberglass, and gel systems — require understanding of the chemicals themselves, how they interact with each other, and how to determine the wearer’s sensitivity to the chemical, not to mention what to do if the product spills, if it is swallowed, or in the event of any other catastrophe How does a user who purchases an acrylic system in the drugstore know any of these things?

At issue with professional products being sold over the counter is not so much that it takes potential clients away from the salon, but that the products are actually unsafe in untrained hands. There isn’t much you can do to stop this practice; after all, retail outlets and drugstores are a pot of gold for product manufacturers. What you can do is focus on educating your client on why the salon experience is superior. Make it very clear to your client what safety precautions are necessary for artificial nail wearers (the care you take not to touch her skin with product, for example). Maintain control over the salon environment so that conditions for the products are optimal (control the temperature and humidity and forbid smoking, for example).

Unfortunately, nail manufacturers aren’t the only people causing harm to the reputation of professional nail care: It’s nail technicians themselves, as well. There are nail technicians still using such chemicals as methyl methacrylate (banned by the FDA in 1975) on customers. Besides being against the law, using a banned substance is very dangerous and could expose a nail technician not only to a loss of her professional license but to a financially devastating client lawsuit as well.

Choose your products wisely, attend advanced training frequently, and take your profession seriously.

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