Fact-check: What’s to blame for the Mentality Nail Polish problems?

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How to cite: Wong M. Fact-check: What’s to blame for the Mentality Nail Polish problems?. Lab Muffin Beauty Science. August 26, 2015. Accessed July 21, 2024. https://labmuffin.com/whats-to-blame-for-the-mentality-nail-polish-problems/

Update (2018-12-05): Since Danny of Mentality Nail Polish has generously sent me a cease and desist for defamation as seen in the comments section, I’d like to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to clarify (even though I think it’s pretty damn clear already) that the causes of the issues are science-based opinion and speculation. 

Welcome to every nail polish lover’s nightmare – nail disease. Wearers of Mentality Nail Polish have been waking up to this horror: mentality-nail-detachment-dmm-nails

mentality-nail-detachment-dmm-nails Thanks to @dmm_nails for letting me use images of her poor nails!

The technical term for this is onycholysis – when your nail detaches from the underlying nail bed. It’s painful, it’s inconvenient, it’s ugly, and you have to wait til it grows out to recover (if it ever does). There are lots of write-ups on the multitude of legal and ethical fuck-ups that Mentality Nail Polish have made in handling this issue, so I’m not going to rehash that in this post (you can read all about it at The Mercurial Magpie and Ashley Is Polish Addicted, amongst others). Like many others, I’ve been racking my brains wondering what exactly went wrong.

Of course, we won’t know for sure until someone gets analysis results back from a lab. Mentality “almost have enough funds” for an analysis now (although they’ve reportedly known about this problem since September last year, and a GCMS can ordered for under $100 and they haven’t even done that, so I’m guessing we’ll hear the results in 2020 or after an injunction?). But since they’re going full Laganja on this one, I’m not holding my breath.


In the meantime, here’s my analysis of all the speculations that have been flying around. Keep in mind that these are just speculative hypotheses and my opinions on them only – they’ll change as we get more complete information (which is pretty tricky, as Mentality have been deleting their posts, and I’m having trouble finding some of their past statements… I’m sure a lot of links I currently have here will die!). As I’ve read more, I’ve changed my mind about 7 times about what I think the most likely cause is. I’ll be updating the possible explanations as they develop.

What we know

  • Indie makers typically buy a pre-made base from a larger manufacturer, then add tints and glitters. This is what Mentality have supposedly been doing.
  • From Mentality’s Facebook page:
    • Mentality were using Tevco and Fiabila base (3/4 free), but sometime late last year/early this year they switched to a base from Arminex (5 free – parent company of Nubar). They’ve since switched back. They do not make nail polish base themselves… “yet”.
    • The problematic polishes aren’t isolated to the neons, although the neons were very popular and consumed whole barrels of the base, so they’re the most commonly reported.
    • Mentality degassed all the bases to “remove air bubbles and found that Arminex base is very foamy, compared to the other manufacturers whose polish base does not foam upon degassing.”
    • Not everyone who wore them were affected (around 40 people have reported reactions to Mentality so far). The earliest case was @spilledmilknails, a Mentality swatcher, in September 2014.
  • From people who own the affected polishes:
    • The polishes with the different base smell very “chemical” “like melted plastic”, and the smell seems to have gotten worse over time.
    • Some people were reporting stinging, itching and redness upon application.
    • People who experienced nail detachment generally wore them for longer periods, while swatchers who removed them immediately were generally affected less. There are exceptions though – apparently someone swatched them for 4 hours and ended up with nail damage a few days later.

Faulty Arminex Base Theories

This is the angle that Mentality have been pushing, which makes sense because it means less liability for them and hence their best chance of getting out of this without being buried in a steaming turdpile of legal troubles.

1. Citric acid

Citric acid was the first ingredient named by Mentality as a potential culprit. Current creme and holo polish (OK base):

Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Phthalic Anhydride/Trimellitic Anhydride/Glycols Copolymer, Nitrocellulose, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Isopropyl Alcohol, SD Alcohol 40B, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Silica, Diethylhexyl Adipate, Butyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzophenone-1.

Problematic base (spelling corrected *grinds teeth*):

Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Phthalic Anhydride/Trimellitic Anhydride/Glycols Copolymer, Isopropyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Adipic Acid/Fumaric Acid/Phthalic Acid/Tricyclodecane Dimethanol Copolymer, Citric Acid.

Sourced from their ingredient info page. I’ve bolded ingredients unique to each base. Yes, citric acid is one of them. However:

  • Citric acid has been in lots of things for literally millenia (it’s inside your body as part of the Krebs cycle, which produces energy in a stupid number of organisms including us), and people don’t habitually get detached nails. It’s in fruit, jams, bath bombs, sour lollies, not to mention a whole heap of cosmetics, including lots of nail polish.
  • Citric acid has specifically been in nail polish for decades (it’s part of the system used to keep all the pigments and glitters floating). It’s in almost every single Australian indie polish, and I know a LOT of Australian polish addicts who have been wearing indies for literally years on end with no problems.
  • Citrus fruits can cause onycholysis via a phototoxic reaction which leads to blistering…but not because of the citric acid. It’s the psolarens and fuorocouramins, which you’ll know if you’ve read this post about DIY lemon juice skincare recipes. In industry, citric acid is produced by microbial fermentation, so contamination is pretty much impossible.
  • Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Glycolic acid, the main AHA in use these days, is known to cause photosensitisation – people get sunburnt faster under UV light after glycolic acid treatment. But sunburn doesn’t usually cause nail detachment unless it’s very severe, and most of these nail fans are wearing opaque polishes almost all the time, which would block UV from reaching the nail bed.

Verdict: Highly unlikely. Don’t chuck out all your citric acid-containing polishes!

2. Contamination of Arminex base in general

Mentality’s current suspect is cross-contamination with methacrylates. For more specifics scroll down to the Methacrylate Contamination section below.

For all faulty Arminex base theories:

  • Mentality are the only company (as far as we know) who seems to be experiencing these issues, although they aren’t Arminex’s only customer, and probably not their biggest customer. If the contamination was more widespread, we’d have heard something by now. What are the chances that Arminex have managed to contaminate Mentality’s base only?
  • Mentality (founded 2012) have less experience with formulating polish than Arminex/Nubar (est 2000/2001). Arminex are also more regulated.
  • Arminex have been around a lot longer and haven’t screwed up before (as far as we know).
  • Mentality are using with a much wider range of ingredients, particularly ingredients that may not have been used in polish before.
  • Mentality are very quickly reformulated and are replacing affected bottles. This suggests to me that they aren’t performing thorough stability tests on their products.

Verdict: Unlikely, but possible

Faulty Polish Theories

With what we know so far, it seems much more likely that it’s something that Mentality have done that’s causing all this, given how these problems have been isolated to one company. Here are some of the suggestions:

1. Fungal contamination

Fungal infections are the most common causes of onycholysis, and some of the affected nails look like they have fungi spots. But:

  • Fungi don’t survive well in nail polish since it’s full of solvent.
  • It’s possible that there are pockets of fungi in the nail polish, but it’s unlikely since these would be visible.
  • Fungi wouldn’t cause immediate stinging and tingling, and shouldn’t cause a strong solventy odour either.

Verdict: Highly unlikely. The fungal infections probably occurred after detachment of the nail.

2. Unstable pigment

This was tentatively suggested by Ray from Nail Super Store, who supplies most of Australia’s indies with base. In particular, he suspects neon pigments.

  • Some pigments could react with solvent to produce formaldehyde or other organic compounds, which would explain the smell and the rapid penetration through the nail (small molecules are both more smelly and penetrate through the nail faster).
  • Formaldehyde is known to cause onycholysis.
  • Very few neon pigments have been registered with the FDA. This isn’t to say that they’re dangerous, just relatively untested.
  • Neon pigments contain dye protected by a resin coating, which may dissolve in solvent, releasing the chemicals inside gradually. This would explain the intensifying odour.
  • The polishes affected aren’t all neons, but non-neon polishes might use a mixture containing neon pigments.
  • Mentality claim all their additives have been approved for use in cosmetics, although some speculate that they could be using automotive pigments. “Cosmetics” also doesn’t just mean nail polish – pigments that are OK in another product can undergo unexpected changes in harsh polish solvents.
  • The Arminex base doesn’t appear to contain anything harsher than the OK base, but it’s causing more issues (so far. If the pigment is the issue, it could be a few months before problems emerge with the “OK” formulation). But this could also be explained by the tiny bit of extra acid or a higher concentration of a shared ingredient.

(Ray is actually responsibly removing neon pigments from his store based on this possibility. Notice how he’s not putting it on sale.)

Verdict: Possible

3. Destabilised polish due to degassing etc.

Another suggestion is that the base was fine, but then decomposed due to processes performed by Mentality (e.g. degassing), forming a toxic chemical.

  • Mentality claim they’ve used vacuum degassing on their regular polish, and ultrasonic degassing on gel polish. Vacuum degassing used alone should be OK, but sometimes it’s done with heat, which can cause all sorts of side reactions (including accelerating the decomposition of a pigment).
  • They claim they haven’t performed ultrasonic degassing… but it’s possible that they have and aren’t disclosing it. Ultrasound accelerates a lot of reactions.
  • The Nubar MSDS does state that “Under some conditions, methane, irritating aldehydes and carboxylic acids and hydrogen cyanide may be formed.” Irritating aldehydes… wait, isn’t formaldehyde one of those?

Verdict: Possible

4. Mystery homemade base

This is an interesting hypothesis put forward by Mike Levine, a chemist husband of a nail polish fan. The theory is that Mentality have been experimenting with making their own polish base without properly understanding the chemistry and the testing involved. It failed spectacularly, and they’re trying to pass the blame off onto Arminex.

  • Bases are cheaper if they’re sourced from dodgier places, or homemade from sourced ingredients. The people behind Mentality have been talking about making their own base for a while.
  • Some people have pointed out that degassing equipment is typically not used with premade bases – if the base was from Arminex, why would they need degassing equipment?
  • However, if the pigments are hard to mix, it might require some hardcore industrial mixing, which could result in bubbles that would need degassing (more info on post-mixing degassing). But degassing equipment is pretty expensive – no other indie maker seems to need it.
  • They could have bought the equipment in anticipation of branching into making base, and used it to sort out their innocently clumpy polish instead? I don’t think the degassing is a smoking gun.. but it’s not not a smoking gun.

Verdict: Possible

5. Heavy metal contamination (added 27/8)

Heavy metal contamination is a theory I’ve recently seen popping up in some discussions.

  • Heavy metals are sometimes used in colouring agents, and is often in industrial waste.
  • They’re toxic metals of high molecular weight – the most commonly worrisome ones are lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic.
  • Heavy metal poisoning leads to really horrible neurological symptoms – seizures, developmental delays (especially in young children), birth abnormalities.
  • BUT… they don’t sting or cause any other short term effects.

Verdict: Highly unlikely. They could be in there, but they’re not causing the problems we’re seeing.

6. Methacrylate contamination (expanded 27/8)

Here’s the latest proposed suspect from Mentality: methacrylate contamination of the Arminex base.

  • Methacrylates are small monomers in gel polish that join together to form a polymer after UV light irradiation. If not polymerised, they can cause sensitivity, and if they’re mistakenly included in a normal polish, the unreacted monomers would be in contact with skin and nails for far longer than usual.
  • There are multiple methacrylates used in gel polish. The most common are ethyl methacrylate (EMA) and poly(methyl acrylate) (PMA). Methyl methacrylate (MMA) causes more irritation and allergic issues, and has been phased out though it’s technically still legal for use in many places. It can be used safely.
  • Allergic reactions to EMA and PMA are rare – they’re larger, so it’s harder for them to penetrate the skin and irritate it.
  • MMA is more frequently used in acrylic products – reputable brands don’t use it in their gel formulas (I can’t find Nubar’s gel ingredient list online to confirm though), but it’s cheap so it’s often used in dodgy nail stores.
  • 2-Hydroxylethyl methacrylate (HEMA) is another common allergen found in gels.
  • When cured properly under a UV lamp, there should be no irritation.
  • Mentality have stated that the affected polishes have “a methacrylates odor”, and that the separated nails “bear a strong resemblance to UV Gel burns”.
  • Another acrylate used with nails that has a high incidence of sensitivity is ethyl cyanoacrylate (ECA), found in nail glue.

If it’s indeed methacrylate contamination, how did it get in there? The manufacturers of Arminex also make gel formulas which use methacrylates, so cross contamination seems like it could be an explanation. Alternatively, Mentality themselves might’ve contaminated their base with methacrylates. Here are the possibilities:

a. Arminex contaminated the polish base accidentally during manufacture: Unlikely

  • This is Mentality’s current stance – they haven’t said this explicitly (probably because of the C&D), but that’s the logical interpretation of this “not our fault!” 27/8 update:

We were unable to identify the smell of advanced plastics until we began to work with gel in bulk format. We only ever had samples and personal purchases of UV Gel for product testing in the months prior to receiving our first shipment of raw gel material this July 29th.

  • See the section above on Faulty Base Theories – it seems pretty unlikely that Arminex managed to contaminate Mentality’s base only.

b. Arminex sent them the wrong base altogether: Unlikely but possible

  • I think this is the best chance that Mentality have of this whole thing NOT being their fault – if Arminex mislabelled a gel base as a regular base, and Mentality have been unknowingly using it as a regular base.
  • However, it seems like most people who have used the affected polishes have experienced tingling and sensitivity immediately after application (a matter of minutes). Most people aren’t sensitive to gel polish, especially if we assume that the Arminex bases are reputable and don’t contain MMA.

c. Mentality contaminated the polish base accidentally with premade gel base, or just used gel base accidentally instead of normal base: Possible

  • Mentality have been playing with fancy equipment, and they’ve just launched a new gel line. Both types of base look clear, so it’s possible that they haven’t washed equipment properly before using it with their normal base, leading to contamination.
  • Again, most people aren’t sensitive to gel polish – it’s even more unlikely that they’d be sensitive to gel polish that’s highly diluted with normal base.
  • It’s possible that they just accidentally used premade gel base instead of normal base.
  • If this is what happened, it’s unlikely that the gel contained only EMA and PMA – there must have been MMA or some other highly irritating chemical in the gel base they were using.

d. Mentality contaminated the polish base accidentally with raw gel materials: Possible

  • Mentality have been experimenting with making gel base from raw gel materials.
  • However, they claim to only have had samples and personal purchases of UV gel for product testing before July 29th (corroborated by posts on the owner’s personal Facebook wall – it’s unlikely that they had the foresight to plant evidence at the end of July to use later, but it’s possible).
  • This would explain how they got a concentration of methacrylates in the base that’s high enough to cause so many reactions.

Verdict: Possible

There’s actually a way to check if there’s methacrylate in the polish – the polish can be decanted (carefully in a well-ventilated area) into two polish-proof tubs, and one can be irradiated under a UV lamp or in the sun for a few minutes. If the texture of one changes and the other doesn’t (e.g. if you poke them with a skewer), then it’s likely that it contains methacrylates and a photoinitiator. (Of course, the methacrylate could be at too low a concentration to change the polish texture significantly, or there might not be photoinitiator in there to get the reaction to start, so a negative result could still mean there’s methacrylate, but there’s a chance of a positive result which would be exciting!)

Final Word of Caution

It’s unlikely that we’ll know anything for sure for at least a few weeks, but if you do own any of the offending polish – don’t risk wearing it! It can take years for your nails to recover, and the scary thing is – we don’t know what’s in the polish. There are way too many possibilities at the moment. You don’t want to have terminal cancer years down the track, just because you wanted to wear a very specific, painful, stinky polish. Keep the bottles in case they’re needed for analysis or claims later, and put on something by a quality indie brand who actually care about the health of their customers!

Update 26/8

Arminex have issued a cease and desist, which Mentality have smugly posted on their Facebook wall, for… who knows what reason anymore (not complaining here, just bewildered and grateful for extra info!).

  • Arminex claim that the problems with Mentality came up before Mentality bought their base, Mentality claim otherwise.
    • Arminex states that no other companies who bought that base have reported problems.
    • Mentality’s other communications state that they’ve used other suppliers of suspension base, including Chinese suppliers (!).
  • Mentality have sent samples of Arminex’s Matte Creme Base (used in the Textures collection) and some New Transparent Glitter Base (pulled when bloggers uncovered sensitivities.
    • Were the Textures actually one of the collections affected?
    • Mentality could’ve spiked the base, of course. (Mentality have hired a security guard to guard their reserves of base…OK.)
    • Arminex are going to do their own tests (they’ve requested that affected people send them bottles for analysis) so I guess we’ll see soon.


Update 27/8

Mentality have added 2 more updates on their Facebook and Instagram pages:

Update 1: The affected base is being submitted for materials identification. We believe that it has a methacrylates odor and may possibly be rendered benign by use of a UV lamp. We were unable to identify the smell of advanced plastics until we began to work with gel in bulk format. We only ever had samples and personal purchases of UV Gel for product testing in the months prior to receiving our first shipment of raw gel material this July 29th.

We believe that the images submitted to us bear a strong resemblance to UV Gel burns.

Orders are shipping. Remakes are shipping. All work is in the new bases. Thank you for your patience while we worked through this. Please stay tuned so that we can provide important information to meet further legal needs. Never quit.

Update 2: We are issuing a full recall on all Mentality Nail Polish produced in Arminex base before their lawyers force us to stop using their name in conjunction with the physical damage suffered by our clients. We are pursuing a class action lawsuit in regards to the personal injuries that many of them have received using our nail polish that was produced in that base. We have lost confidence in any polish that was produced in their base, starting from early April 2014 to the end of June 2015. The label will have citric acid as the final ingredient, or a gloss label, or a 5 free label, or all screen printed bottles. If we have yet to hear from you, please reach out to [email protected]. Please be patient. There are only two of us, but we are now acquiring help.

Our lawyers are being given our entire client list. Please copy and share this image before this board is closed by their lawyers, who were the first to contact us since we lodged a complaint with our distributor regarding this matter two months ago.

We operated from multiple store fronts, some of which we do not maintain anymore. It may be impossible to reach everyone that we sold Arminex base-produced products to, but we are counting on your word of mouth. Your combined efforts have helped us turn this into an internet firestorm. We still need your help.

Finances to the company have been handed over to our accountant, who is also a registered California notary. She is issuing shipping labels for new orders and remakes. We have requested allowance for housing and food but no discretionary income. All other funds will be retained to clear refunds that are now processing.

Thank you to everyone for your patience while we worked to find solution. We never not stopped. We were always working. Often we were in tears with you. We do not know yet how we will make this happen, because about $80,000 in paint, but we will not quit fighting for our clients, even for those that lost hope along the way.

I’ve expanded more on the methacrylates theory, and added a section for heavy metals, which I’ve seen popping up in a few places.

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101 thoughts on “Fact-check: What’s to blame for the Mentality Nail Polish problems?”

    • Hey there, I’ve been reading about this story all morning and have been very disappointed at the outcomes and the damage caused to innocent people, with no accountability 🙁 I did some deep digging, I found a post/blog from Danny/Mentality, he talks about how he made it, the “EPA being a real bummer” (haha) and other stuff that might help with getting a better picture and finding details to create a better picture (the two posts are at the bottom) http://www.familycraftsandgames.com/mentality

  1. Thank you for such an in depth look at the situation! Though I don’t own any Mentality polish (thank goodness for that at this point), I’ve been following what’s going on to know what questions to ask for further indie polishes, and let’s face it…the Mentality shitshow is like a train wreck…you just have to keep looking. Here’s to hoping that the ladies affected will eventually get answers.

    • I feel so sorry for people who got hurt over this, but I agree, Mentality’s frantic scrambling definitely entertaining to watch!

      • The whole situation is unbelievable, I actually feel like i’m watching a black humor/gory tv show. Also, not gonna lie, as a lawyer I’m looking forward for someone to actually sue them (or even better, a class action). Would actually mark a new page in the book of consumer rights protection. Also Nubar may sue them, too, and there would be a libel case…

        • Yeah, the legal side of this is fascinating. Pretty much everything Mentality has said on the issue just makes me cringe. Don’t they even have any friends who are attorneys? Everybody has at least one lawyer friend, don’t they?

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if they did make some base and decided to start using it before getting all the paperwork sorted, or they’ve been using it to dilute Arminex to cut costs while passing it off as pure Arminex. But there’s a chance that they’re doing the right thing and are just using their fancy new equipment to mix their polishes while waiting for approval, so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt… for now.

  2. Regarding pigments.

    FACT: his website does NOT list what pigments were used. No color names and no color index numbers are listed. The ONLY thing listed on his site in regards to what pigments he uses is, “All Polishes May Contain: titanium dioxide, pigment, mica, glitter, aluminum powder, and/or acetone. These are the pigments and glitters that we add to color our products. All have been approved for use in cosmetics.”

    FACT: SpectraFlair/ChromaFlair are AUTOMOTIVE pigments and is illegal to use in nail polish.

    FACT: The FDA has approved only eight florescent pigments in cosmetics (including nail polish) however he does not list what pigments he’s using on his site so there is no way to compare what he’s using to the FDA approved list.

    If his holo polishes are also affected I have to wonder if he’s using SpectraFlair or ChromaFlair pigments (automotive pigments) which also leads me to wonder why he didn’t specify what pigments he’s using in his polishes. He lists the ingredients for everything else but not pigments. I have to wonder what pigments he’s using, where did he get the pigments and are the pigments really cosmetic grade or automotive grade. Unfortunately, there are people willing to use automotive grade pigments in their nail polishes. http://polishandpigments.blogspot.com/p/automotive-suppliers.html

    • Wow now I’m scared. I just recently bought a polish from Lacquer Lust called Unicorn Porn that says it has a ‘dash of spectraflair’ in it. I haven’t actually received it yet but it’s en route to me. Now I’m wondering if I should use it at all. I’m starting to really have my doubts about ALL indie polishes at this point. This whole debacle might be enough to scare me off from even looking at indie polishes.

      • This is really an unusual incident – indie polish has been around for a few years now (my first post on indies was in 2012, and I was late to the party). Nail polish is actually one of the safest indie cosmetics you can buy – it doesn’t go near your mucous membranes (unlike eyeshadow and lip products), and making them is pretty much just pouring and shaking readymade ingredients purchased from suppliers with proper training and paperwork. There are hundreds of indie sellers worldwide who haven’t had any nasty reactions, and the vast majority of the sellers bend over backwards to make their customers happy. Most of them also stability test for months before selling, unlike Mentality. I’m definitely not quitting on indie polish, but I’m going to vet all new brands thoroughly to work out if they’re crazy or not before I buy!

      • Also, I don’t think Spectraflair in particular is anything to worry about – it’s been used in lots of frankens and indies since forever without any major issues.

        • Thank you for the reassurances! I’d like to vet sellers too and almost shot off an email yesterday to a polish company but realized since no one knows yet WHY Mentality polishes are making peoples’ nails lift I couldn’t really ask proper questions. I’m so glad the Arminex people are getting involved and testing things. Finding out WHY will really ease my doubts.

          • The WHY is most likely in the actual base itself. It seems to be some sort of additional ingredient that they have possibly added their base.
            Someone had mentioned that the company reported no other reactions from other brands/companies.

            The spectra flair and other various “automotive” colorants should not result in lifting of the nail bed. As far as these particular pigments causing such lifting, I would say this is very unlikely.

            For an indie company to produce a safe and successful nail polish base is very difficult without the proper chemistry background. I have studied this and know that not just any joe off the street can pull this off safely. YOU NEED TO BE A LICENSED CHEMIST!

            The company should be able to run lab tests that can isolate the many ingredients in their colors. This will allow them to see if there are any additional ingredients that should NOT be in their product.
            They can easily run safety tests for each ingredient, or specifically a “new” ingredient that may have added. It is imperative that they test any new ingredient in a product that will be used on a persons body.

            They can easily run lab tests for any contaminates as well, but I really don’t think that is the culprit here.

            Please do not let this cloud your impression of all indie brands. There are many amazing indie brands that are honest and safe out there. GILTY GIRL takes pride in our transparent and ethical line of nail color

        • Also is there any chance you could link where you found Arminex’s statements? I tried googling them and didn’t really get much. The Nubar website doesn’t mention anything either (I might not be looking hard enough)

          • er.. sorry I saw the cease and desist I meant where you saw that Arminex is seeking Mentality polishes to test themselves?

          • There is an ex-Arminex employee in some Facebook groups directing people to send their affected polish to Nubar for testing – it’s not an official request at the moment.

      • Don’t be scared to try indies. Not all companies use non-cosmetic grade ingredients/pigments. While in the US SpectraFlair and ChromaFlair are not approved by the FDA for use in cosmetics (since it’s automotive pigments) there are indie brands that do use the cosmetic grade holo. It’s just a matter of asking questions and if the company is being dodgy in answers then you have the option of not buying or using that company’s polishes.

      • I don’t think for one bit that it’s Spectraflair as people having using it forever & no one has claimed to have a reaction to it. Mof, I bought some of it back before they had to start selling it in a base & have mixed into many polishes & never had an inkling of trouble with it.

      • I don’t find it anymore, but I am sure that I read that OPI used spectraflair for their original DS polishes – the ones the with the fabulous holo – and many, many indie producers these days ARE using spectraflair and I myself have used these polishes for years with no problem whatsoever. I do believe spectraflair is dangerous in powder form because the particles are so small they can get into our alveoli and cause damage, but if previously placed into solution the danger is gone. Anyway, if you’re worried, try swatching first for a few minutes/hours and see if you experience any irritation…

      • Spectraflair and chromaflair are just small micron metal flake glitters used as an additive in car paint. It doesn’t have any liquid car paint and it is not dangerous. I am an indie maker and I have my own shop. I test all of my products on myself long before I put it for sale in my shop or send it out to my blogger network. Please don’t let one bad apple spoil it for all other indie makers.

        • I am a new indie nailpolish maker so this grabbed my attention instantly.
          Here, in the UK, we HAVE to pay for a chemical analysis of every cosmetic product we formulate before it can be offered for sale. Is this not the case elsewhere?
          I have ChromaFlair ‘type’ pigment in my varnish, but it is tested and approved for cosmetic use in the EU.
          I agree Eric, please don’t let one bad apple spoil things for those of us who DO follow the regulations and care deeply about the safety of our products!

    • I know this is wicked late, but hopefully better late than never. To Zadidoll and other saying Spectraflair is illegal…that is NOT true. What is true is that is illegal to use Spectraflair in POWDER form in cosmetic. And the issues had to do with the tiny particles entering makers bodies which was very dangerous. There were no issues with the nails. What IS legal is to buy a concentrated LIQUID Spectraflair concentrated in a holding base. There is one company that is legally authorized to sell it, to make sure it it properly done.

      I have less than zero clue what is causing the problem….but if it was Spectraflair, my nails would have fallen off by now LOLOL. I try to ONLY wear a SF holo, and doubt I’ve done more than a handful of mani’s that weren’t holographic. And on nearly all of those, I wore one of Enchanted Polishes holo toppers. Anyway, I wanted to clarify that, since I saw a few folks were confused. Good luck with this nightmare. I’m SOOO glad this isn’t a brand I use PHEW!!

  3. Methyl Methacrylate is not in gel forumlas. It is only in liquid form, usually used at chop shops and less reputable shops. MMA is used to make Corian counter tops, dental acrylics, bone replacement and industrial flooring glues. It is not in polish.

    • It’s banned in a lot of states as well, but still in use – relatively rarely and as you said, chop shops. Definitely not in commercial gel base, agreed. This idea was one that was brought up by some nail techs as possible, but it came up again a few days ago when Mentality speculated that the base was contaminated by methacrylate by the the manufacturer. However, methyl vs ethyl was not specified, so it was not MMA that was specifically mentioned. (screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/6dFAxqx.jpg ) I agree, they’re flailing for explanations, and likeliest is mixing or making of faulty base themselves.

    • I’m almost entirely certain that it’s not in Nubar gel, but I have no absolute proof that it isn’t since there’s no ingredients list, so I don’t want to say anything too definite yet… and honestly I have no idea how likely it is to be in Mentality’s own gel formula, which could have cross-contaminated their normal base.

  4. I have been saying for days now that I’m not 100% convinced it was the base from that company or, like you said, other brands would be having these issues. Thank you for posting this. Very informative theories, I look forward to more information if Mentality ever gets their shit together and actually gets the problematic products tested.

    • I believe Nubar/Arminex are acquiring samples and testing them now! So maybe answers will come sooner than I anticipated 😀

  5. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this post, Michelle! Now to share the hell out of it to help get this information out there 🙂

  6. Thank you so much, especially for the fungus section, since there have been a few people saying that it was fungus (and despite people with bio and medical training disagreeing, people have run with it.)

  7. I truly appreciate this informative explanation- well written & on point. Mentality’s approach to this whole debacle is appalling-THEY should be the ones researching and explaining instead of accusing their customers of ‘a bullying campaign’! I trust karma will play out in the end.

  8. I am so glad that you said to keep the polishes instead of throwing them out. With all of the deleting and covering up that Mentality is doing, I woul be surprised if they get rid of all of the “bad batch” and then say they can’t do any testing. Also you shouldn’t just throw out nail polish, you should check with local requirements and then dispose of them properly. Also, anyone in the U.S. and I think Canada can send the polish to Zoya when they have their earth day event.

    • Haha I was in law school for a little while – I’m a big fan of physical evidence! Which might also explain why I’m such a hoarder. Thanks for the Earth Day tip!

  9. I think you’re overlooking one thing regarding the likelihood of Methacrylate cross contamination- Mentality also makes their own gel polish. I doubt very sincerely that the Arminex base came contaminated with gel polish, but I could very easily see cross contamination from carelessness or cluelessness while switching between the two.

    • I totally agree that could be an explanation! I had it under the umbrella of “Mystery base”, but I’ll write it more clearly. Thanks for pointing it out!

  10. Make that 41 that have been affected. Not only are my nails VERY detached (onchylosis) but I ended up with a staph infection and painful blisters under each nail. My doctors could not figure what caused this issue. It happened a couple months before I heard about Mentality polush causing issues. I own so much Mentality Nail Polish and really really love them! I’m so sad to have to get rid of them. I got the entire summer neon collection except yellow plus many other colors. I’m just sick about this. I don’t want to believe that they’ve known about the issue longer than has been reported but my nails detached a little while before. Coincidence? I don’t know.

    • To be honest, 40 is the number that Mentality keeps quoting, and I’m certain it’s much higher – lots of people probably haven’t contacted them, or attributed it to something else, and Mentality have almost definitely rounded the number down and stopped counting after a while (40 was a few days ago, and they haven’t updated it since). You poor thing! That sounds horrible – a staph infection! I don’t think all of the polish is problematic – apparently the problem is limited to bottles with “citric acid” listed as the final ingredient – but it could just be that problems with the other polishes haven’t developed yet.

      • this is the epitome of informativeness, thank you! I was somewhat confused about the issue, but you just made it crystal clear to me. Thank gods I never got around to purchase from them…

  11. Thank you very much for this well-thought post. Your conclusions match my thoughts on this point. I vote either for unstable pigments or for mystery base (or maybe a combination of both).

  12. Thank you so much for this post. I appreciate that you have spent a lot of time researching the claims and using your expertise to explain all of these theories to us! It seems like some people are just posting to cash in on blog hits, although the post from Ashley Is Polish Addicted is my other favorite and well-written article, but you are one of the most qualified bloggers to offer up all of these explanations to us! You rock, Lab Muffin <3

  13. This entire situation is a mess! Thank you for breaking down the information. I’ve been of the theory they’re messing around making their own base. I’m not familiar with the company outside of this drama but it seems to me they’ve lost the point of being an Indy brand and are being greedy. Funny how they can afford to hire a security guard for their base reserves but couldn’t afford an analysis of their product.

  14. Thank you for this post! Very interesting read. Most blogs that have covered this issue have been focusing on the PR nightmare which is interesting to read, don’t get me wrong, but I was much more interested in what caused all this. Like you said, it’s any nail polish lover’s worst nightmare to lose their nails and I want to know what kind of questions to ask to protect myself when indie shopping in the future. I’m by no means swearing off indie polish forever because I know this is a very uncommon case, and I truly hope that the good responsible indies don’t end up losing business because of this one bad apple. However, many indies (even some of the most well known) don’t list their ingredients and pigment CI’s or product testing policies on their websites. Maybe this whole debacle will change that.

  15. Pingback: MIA and Mentality Links | Schooled
  16. This was a really interesting read – thank you for putting this together! I think it’s also worth mentioning that the FDA collects information on cosmetics that cause adverse reactions – if anyone reading this has personally experienced a problem with the Mentality product, it’s definitely worth reporting!

  17. I’m so glad you did a post on this! I wanted SCIENCE! Lol, but seriously, I knew you’d be the girl with theories on what could possibly cause this, and that’s what I’m curious about. This is an awful situation, I feel bad for everyone involved, though in different ways. Feel bad for those hurt by the polishes, feel bad for the makers not knowing how to handle things better, etc.

    I’ve been using Indie polish for years, got into formulating my own polish last year, and I’ve *never-ever-EVER* heard of anything like this!!

    • It’s crazy! This sort of damage from nail products is very rare, and usually confined to salon services like acrylics, when poorly applied. This stuff is incredibly potent!

  18. Thanks for the no non-sense technical review. I appreciate the effort and clarity you put forth. Although,Ivee cut back on my polish hobby and restrict my purchases to truly unique polishes. This case proves business is not for everyone, This has gotten really messy and mentality needs to be up front and honest now, before it gets any worse

  19. “I don’t think the degassing is a smoking gun.. but it’s not not a smoking gun.”

    all i could think of is

    Violet: i’m not a dancer but i’m not not a dancer.
    Trixie: so are you a dancer?

  20. I feel so incredibly bad for the ladies suffering because of this product, because that’s some serious business and can be pretty scary. I’ve been reading post after post with some very in depth info, and this is one shady company in my opinion. The self righteous attitude leaking into so many of Mentality’s social media posts is disgusting to me. It’s one of the most irresponsible ways to handle an issue like this. What I love about your article here is the more in depth scientific breakdown. When you couple this info with the screenshots that are in other articles and posts, it looks even worse for Mentality, and I say it’s all of their own doing because we might have to wait for testing to understand the actual chemical issue, but the attitude coming from them is astonishing. Are they even trying to maintain their customer base? Wow. Just wow.
    And here’s my biggest issue… The smug way they talk about how it’s just too expensive to maintain insurance… Yet they can afford the degassing equipment and an alleged bodyguard?? Please. When you start a business, the FIRST thing you do is get insurance. Then the timing of them filing to be a corporation is highly suspicious… Their refusing refunds and calling people bullies to PayPal bc they want refunds on potentially unsound product… When you pile all of the info together it’s almost like the actual chemical cause of the issue becomes moot because they’re clearly scrambling to merely save their butts. Because even if they’re not responsible for the core problem, they are absolutely guilty of disrespectful attitudes towards the people who have been so supportive of them for a long time. It’s easier to recover from faulty product, but recovering from the horrible treatment of their customers and bloggers might not ever be possible. But then you see a person’s true character when they’re under stress and pressure, and I think they’re making a sad spectacle of themselves. It’s a pathetic display of business ethics, and my heart goes out to those suffering for it all.

    • I totally agree – there are so many ways that this could’ve been handled better. It’s just mistake after mistake.

  21. I just looked at Mentality’s website and it looks like they are still selling the affected polish but at a significant discount. Also their IG is now private. I guess they couldn’t take the backlash.

  22. Thanks so much for the very informative post! I have been wondering the science behind the many theories for awhile so this article and the way it broke each theory down into understandable terms is just what is needed.

    I do have a question, I notice that you mention a disclosure on Nubar’s MSDS that says “Under some conditions, methane, irritating aldehydes and carboxylic acids and hydrogen cyanide may be formed.” Do you know if Nubar expands on the conditions that could lead to that? I guessing based on the section you included that in, you are implying its possible that degassing could cause such a reaction. If so is there instructions from Nubar to not use degassing on their base? Is degassing a premade base known to be a bad idea or is it something most Indies don’t do because they don’t have the need nor the equipment? Just curious as I truly know nothing and am not very scientific but do really want to know and understand what is causing these reactions.

    Thanks again for the article and for the deep thought, work, and research that must have gone into writing such an article.

    • Pretty much anything that adds a lot of energy can lead to the decomposition and side reactions that they’re describing. Degassing can be done at room temperature in a vacuum, which can’t cause anything to happen, but ultrasound and heating could potentially cause side reactions (though not always). The MSDS for chemicals always states the worst case scenario – it’s partly a legal thing, partly so people dealing with the chemical are prepared for everything. I think it’s extremely unlikely for this to happen during degassing, but I don’t think it should be ruled out completely, because it’s possible that extra chemicals from pigments or contamination could make these reactions more likely…

      • Thanks! That makes a lot of sense! So possible that degassing did this, but unlikely. It will be very interesting to see the results of any testing done. I personally have some of the affected polishes and before this was brought to light wore them several times with no reactions, thankfully! But I did notice immediately upon opening them the strong smell they had. I of course have no intentions of using them again now. But it is interesting to me how they caused reactions in some and not others. Makes me lean towards something in them causing destabilizing that perhaps has occurred to varying degrees across the polishes.

        I did want to mention, since the theory of their gel base possibly corrupting their regular base was brought up, that according to them they didn’t receive the gel base for their recent line until July 29. So if we are to believe them, which is very questionable at the moment, such a cross contamination could not have occurred since that is after these polishes began showing problems. However, it also goes to show how little quality control testing they do on the polishes they are selling to have gotten the raw base under a month ago and are already selling them!!

  23. Mentality has stated they bought base polish in 1 to 5 gallon shipments. This is a very small volume even if they made a weekly order. The base manufacturer probably produces a minimum of 100 gallons per batch – so where is the nail damage from the other 95 gallons (or more) used by other companies?

    He is today claiming the base may have been contaminated with methacrylates – used in gel polishes for example – and that heat from a UV lamp caused the nail damage. This assumes nail polish customers own UV lamps and caused the damage by not following directions.

    A more likely prognosis is that they were buying the base from China. A few days ago the Shipping Methods page on their website had a link to a Chinese polish manufacturer (www.nilsnails.taobao.com) with a following paragraph regarding customers who wanted to make volume purchases. That link was later removed.

    Personally I don’t believe that they were manufacturing their own base. That requires investment in specialist equipment, possibly including the degassing unit he mentioned. Yet this is a company that didn’t have $200 for product liability insurance, was buying base in very small quantities (cost not more than $2000/shipment), didn’t have the funds to have the products tested in a laboratory as soon as the complaints started, and appears to have printed the product labels in an office printer (forgoing even the cost of a graphic designer).

    Finally, is it really believable that the Arminex base would be “foamy” and require a degassing unit when they supply many other companies worldwide and have been doing so for many years? This also fails to answer the question why, if the base was foamy, they didn’t contain the Arminex manufacturer (they didn’t), get a replacement and determine the cause.

  24. This situation highlights some wider issues:

    – that companies are able to create home-brew nail polishes without having any formal qualification in organic chemistry or toxicology, or hiring that expertise.

    – that consumers, driven by the need to have the latest and greatest, are willing to buy cosmetic products from a flashy website with no regard to their personal safety. The mentality website contains no information on the background or experience of the company or employees to give any confidence.

    – that the current cosmetic regulations both by the FDA and European cosmetic laws, place responsibility for cosmetic product safety with the manufacturer (or importer). In the USA, there is no requirement for the product to be tested or the ingredients analysed by an independent toxicology laboratory. In Europe all products must be registered on a European-wide database and submitted with a toxicology report created by an European tox lab or an employed toxicologist. In Russia, Ukraine and many other former Soviet countries, all cosmetic products must be submitted to a government laboratory for testing before they issue a certificate allowing sale.

    • I wanted to address your blanket statement against the indie polish community… basically calling them all unsafe and the people who buy from them dumb (Im summarizing, but thats what I got from your comment… whether you meant it as such or not).

      There are all sorts of indie cosmetics on the market. Those who have been around the beauty scene for a while will remember Lime Crime and their debacle with lipsticks and eye shadows a few years back (they did not use cosmetic grade pigments and caused damage to customers)… but overall the indie beauty scene (by sheer numbers alone) is extremely safe.

      As a whole, the indie nail polish available on the market is by far the safest indie beauty product you can buy. You do not need to be a chemist to create these polishes, because reputable indie creators (aka – 99.9% of them) buy the base premade by a professional company and mix in cosmetic grade pigments and glitter.

      As someone who has been an avid indie user since almost their birth on the market (I started wearing them in 2009 – maybe 2010), this is the first time anything like this has ever happened. My desire for indie polishes isnt so I can “have the latest and greatest” like some idiot sheep that just follows the crowd. I like indie polish because it’s unique and I am supporting a small business that cant reach Ulta or Walgreens like so many large brands.

      This is an unethical, irresponsible company owner that did something they shouldnt have. Whether it was the base from China (not illegal, but very shunned upon by the indie nail polish community as a whole), making their own base (which is illegal – because they arent licensed chemists), using non-cosmetic grade pigments (also illegal – just like Lime Crime mentioned above) or were just careless and cross contaminated – this is an isolated incident that shouldnt reflect on the rest of the indie creators out there. The world is full of unethical people, and the fact it took over 5 years for one to really screw up this community says something in my opinion. Especially when you consider the thousands of indie brands that have created polish (and Im not exaggerating. Some have come and gone, but over the years there have been thousands of them)

      I agree that more needs to be done through the government but we cant even get the FDA to make sure our food isnt poisoning us… so to expect them to do the leg work it would take track down every independent beauty product creator would be astronomical (I also use handmade, organic soaps and hand/cuticle creams made by two different people – these would also be put under this blanket. There are just too many). Especially since the large batches of base made by the professional chemist companies and purchased by Indie nail polish creators IS regulated and tested by the FDA.

      • I totally agree, thanks for posting this! I think you summed up very nicely why people shouldn’t be scared off of indie brands because of this. I also think that making stricter regulations would most likely kill off the indie market as a whole because not many of them would be able to afford to open up a government approved laboratory for making their products. The survival of indie brands is imperative to keeping the variety of the market. Do we really want to go back to the times when our only choice for interesting nail polish and cuticle care products came from mainstream brands? Because to be honest, while the mainstream nail polishes have become a lot more interesting in the past decade, my cuticle care products still come almost exclusively from indies. Simply because they put a lot more active ingredients in their products instead of “fillers” and as a result are much more effective. I don’t want to lose that option.

  25. Hello,
    I would like to translate and summarize your post in Italian.
    Of course I’ll mention your blog as a source, please let me know in case it is not fine for you!
    Thank you for this great post, I would like that also the ones who don’t speak English can be aware of this bad thing…

  26. Excellent analysis Michelle. Most decent labs could put and end to this debate pretty quickly. As someone who personally handles both gel polish raw materials and nail lacquer bases I find it hard to believe that anyone could not pick one from another. In my mind I also feel it’s unlikely that if a lacquer base was contaminated with either MMA or EMA that the polish formulator wouldn’t be able to detect this – even without lab assay. From memory I believe that EMA is detectable by the human sense of smell at down to about 3 parts per million.
    My final word is that customers shouldn’t loose faith in indie polish simply because one brand has had a problem. Indies bring a breadth and variety to nail colours that the big brands don’t.

  27. As always, you are amazing and informative. Checking daily for updates, showing the facts with Rupaul references.. How could this be any better?

    Needless to say, I find this entire situation infuriating and can not believe the shitty way it has been handled.. I hope the fallout for the Indie community isn’t too widespread, based on one set of unethical peoples behaviour.

    Thanks Michelle! x

  28. I own a small company in Europe that manufactures gels and acrylics for nail salons (we don’t sell nail polishes). To try to help and resolve this situation, I have been in contact with one of the nail industries most respected chemists who is located in the USA.

    He has offered to test all product samples received to determine cause and to make this information public, including to the media. He is an independent consultant and offers this service free of charge purely to determine the root cause of the problem.

    I would ask those customers of the Mentality polish who:
    a) have suffered harm to their nails believed due to the polish
    b) can supply the original product they believe to be the cause
    c) can supply photograph(s) of the nail damage

    ° to send an email to [email protected] :
    ° their name, address, phone and email
    ° which polish caused the damage (name), when purchased (a copy of the invoice would be perfect), when damage noticed
    ° photo of the damaged nails

    I will confirm receipt using my normal work email (this is a throwaway to avoid spam) and provide the name and contact details of the chemist.

    => PLEASE only respond if you meet the three criteria above (a, b, c). We are unable to test samples provided by people whose nails have not been damaged.

    For anyone who is concerned that I am working for Mentality or any other company named in this situation, please contact Ashley at http://www.ashleyispolishaddicted.com/ who knows my identity that of the chemist, and who is helping us with this process.

    Many thanks.

  29. What an AWESOME post – thoroughly enjoyed the in-depth analysis into the chemicals, was hoping you’d post something like this.

    The whole Mentality drama is like a train wreck. Can’t help but stare.

    TERRIFYING damaged nail pictures though.

    • Has anyone heard any updates? It all seems to have gone quiet?

      I’ve realised I have had the reaction, I thought I had banged my nails, no lasting damage it seems but I’m worried as to what would cause something so horrible. I also don’t know what to do with the polishes.

  30. Pingback: If You Sell Nail Polish, Try Not To Destroy Your Customers' Nails | ForHerMagazine
  31. I was wondering if there are any updates to this. I see that they still have a FB page and it looks like they are continuing to sell polish. How is this possible? Thanks.

  32. This post was very helpful. Thanks for putting so much effort in it.
    I am wondering is there any update? How is possible that no one wanted to test bottles? If I was chemist I would definitely try to check this

  33. Both my big toenails came off. They turned kinda yellow underneath. They grew back ok but ruined my flip flop summer. I don’t polish my toenails anymore. I appreciate this info

  34. look at Mentality’s webpage and the pigments they are currently selling. If you google them (I googled the magenta one) they come up as Fluorescent Automotive Paint Pigment, Neon magenta Color …. did you catch that? AUTOMOTIVE PAINT PIGMENT

    KOLORTEK Neon/Fluorescent Pigment Colors:

    Item No.
    Fluorescent Color
    Green Yellow
    Orange Yellow
    Orange Red
    Bright Red


    • I believe there have been FDA reports filed, and a recall notice, but not much information has been released yet.

  35. Just an update to this – the Mentality recalls appeared on an FDA recall list a couple of weeks back (wow, takes a while for them to publish!)

    Also similar issues have been cropping up with Bootie Babe, and possibly another commercial/lab made brand, and Nubar base was the connection there too. It really is looking like the issues came from Nubar (who does repackage, not manufacturer themselves, and uses another company to resell as well, so middle man entirely).

  36. Michelle, the Lab Muffin.

    This letter is a cease and desist request. This request is in regard to your article, https://labmuffin.com/whats-to-blame-for-the-mentality-nail-polish-problems/. I respectfully ask you to please remove this article and stop disparaging our company with your posts.

    Our position is that your post is engaging in dissemination of false statements and conjecture, and that the post is viewed as meaning to bully and intimidate us and is defaming our brand. We refuse to allow the defamation in your article to continue, as what you are doing is the same as shaming a rape victim.

    To clarify your records, our manufacturer poisoned our base to take us out of the industry in 2015. We chased them down through the FDA and won. This is a matter of public record and we were cleared by the FDA of wrongdoing, because we completed a voluntary recall worth almost $100,000, privately collected vital information from our clients, and then filed a MedWatch report to the FDA to request a federal investigation into the poisoning. Arminex had to dissolve in complete bankruptcy over their actions, and I believe the owners have fled the country as I understand they were Iraqi immigrants of Armenian descent. This is all public information and available through US FOIA requests. I encourage you to seek the truth in this matter, as truthful opinions such as “Danny is an asshole” is different from telling your readers and the public at large that we engaged in speculative wrongdoing.

    We remain in business because we did nothing wrong and cleared our name, and thus we cannot allow you to continue to defame our brand in this matter as we have now personally financially rebounded from the massive voluntary recall/remake that we did, and are now fully engaged with this business. We are resolute in this regard and will not accept any less than you cease and desist the article referenced. A copy of this defamation cease and desist has been forwarded to your domain registrar, GoDaddy.com, a U.S.-based company, regarding this complaint.

    If this matter is not resolved before Jan 1, 2019, we will file suit in the U.S. regarding this matter to reclaim damages from your defamation over the last three years from your website. We await your response.

    Best regards,
    Danny Dannels
    CEO Mentality Cosmetics, Inc.

    • Hi Danny,

      I’d be more than happy to amend this post if you’d kindly point out the false statements of fact? As I’m sure you’re aware, you can’t defame someone with true statements or clear opinion/speculation. And as you can see, the situation you’re claiming was in my opinion “Unlikely, but possible”.



  37. I know this is long old, but I was one of those who suffered ochyonlisys due to the nubar foundations base coat, which was my favourite base coat at the time.

    I wanted to share that I am currently studying to be a nail tech and never had gel nails in my life (lacquer only). One of the things we did in class was receive gel nail manicures (lcn bondique for reference).

    After a few days with them on, my nails under the plate felt similar to the day 5 years ago when the nails separated due to the base coat. I have since removed them and it left my nails thin and brittle and starting to separate. As of now there is still product on my nails however I cannot remove anymore due to the thinness my nails have become.

    Based on the fact I never had gel nails before, my nails are looking and reacting the same as they did 5 years ago and also seeing before nubar closed they were starting to sell a gel line, I believe the final culprit is methacrylate contamination.

    I know this is 5 years later but again thought I would share.

    • A very similar reactions right now are happening with certain gel base coats and gel polishes in general.
      Strange onycholysis and subungual hyperkeratosis due to repeat contact with improperly cured gel products especially ones that contain questionable ingredients (usually imported from China and private tabled in USA/EU/UK).
      I get daily emails with pictures of severe reactions to these products (I have YouTube channel dedicated to nail care)
      I haven’t heard many reactions to LCN products but there are always people who can react to even best formulated products made by the most reputable companies.
      Interestingly, if you once reacted to something in the future you might read to a similar (even normally, a safer, less allergenic) product which is simply close to the once you once reacted.


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