Thursday, April 25, 2013

Flea Market Nails

I'm sure every town around the country has a swap meet. Out here, a lot of folks refer to it as the "flea market." Either way, and no matter how fancy yours might be (I've been to some very nice swap meets in other towns,) there's a good chance that there's at least one booth there selling beauty supplies.

Often you can find tables upon tables of professional salon supplies stretching out before you like some sort of beauty supply heaven.

I get asked a lot why I don't shop at the local flea market for nail supplies.

(insert sound of train wrecking).... WHAAAAA????!!!!!!!

Like, glitter and rhinestones? That sort of nail supplies? Or my monomers and polymers? My light-cured gels? My polishes? Top coats, base coats? Files and buffers?


Ok, ok. Honestly. If I were a consumer, shopping for myself, I probably wouldn't balk at picking up a polish or some files from the swap meet.

But the swap meet is not an appropriate place to purchase professional supplies that are going to be used in the salon on paying clients.

I have no idea where those files came from, how they've been stored, or what they've touched. In California, we are required to treat files and buffers as single-use items. That means they get used once and tossed out. I can give them to the client at the end of the service, but I can't have the client bring it back to use it again. Once it leaves the salon, it is banished forever.

I know this comes as news to a lot of consumers and, sadly, it seems to also come as news to a lot of "professionals" who aren't abiding by the health and safety regulations for the salon industry. But true story-- no re-using files and buffers unless they are made of materials that the State deems disinfectable according to regulations. And then, they have to be disinfected according to those regulations after each use.

So when I buy files and buffers, I want to know that they were shrink wrapped at the factory and haven't been laying around someone's garage or storage unit where mice and cock roaches might have been crawling all over them.

As for chemical products like acrylic liquids and powders (monomer and polymer, respectively;) these products are temperature sensitive and have a shelf life. I want to buy my professional products from a reputable distributor where I can trust the inventory isn't past its prime, hasn't been stored in a warehouse (or garage or some guy's trunk) that gets over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and isn't in directly sunlight.

Not to mention concerns over counterfeit products.

You might see packaging for top name products like CND, OPI, Young Nails and such, but you can't really be sure that the stuff inside those containers is the real deal. Knock offs happen in every product, not just purses and shoes, and the beauty industry is no exception. There are plenty of shady characters out there who have nothing better to do than fill up CND bottles with no-name, generic monomer.

If a quart of real Retention+ monomer costs $85, a quart of knock off product might cost $16. And, if that knock off has been cut with MMA (methyl methacrylate monomer,) which can cost as little as $15 for an entire gallon... well, you start to see how you could sell a knock off product as the real thing at a discount and still end up making a tidy profit.

Problem is, the person who bought the bogus product is now expecting CND Retention+. Expecting all of CND's awesome research and development behind that product, expecting it to perform as Retention+ and expecting it be as safe for the client and the tech who works with it as Retention+.

Same thinking behind any of those "brands" you might find at great prices at the swap meet. Even if it is the real deal... how long has it been sitting on a shelf somewhere? Has that shelf been in direct sunlight for 2 years? Has that shelf been in a warehouse, or a garage, or a storage unit where it reaches 120 degrees every day for 3 months in the summer?

If so, then it doesn't matter that it's the real deal. And it won't matter how great a deal you get on it.

So that's why I don't buy product at the flea mart. I buy my professional products from reputable distributors whom I can trust to have fresh inventory that has been properly stored. And if I do get a bad batch, I know I can return it.