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The Problems of Testing a New UV Gel Brand


All scientific evidence and correct education makes a point of the importance of using matched systems. Any range of UV gel products, whether a gel polish, a hard or soft UV gel, or a hybrid has its own formulation. This means that the photo initiators in the formulation are very specific and need the right UV lamp with regards to wavelength, intensity, and time. Without all of this there is NO guarantee that the coating will achieve a proper cure and this can lead to undercuring (and the chance of allergies developing) or overcuring (burning of the nail bed and associated problems)

Brands that do not have their own UV lamp or cannot recommend a  generic version that they have had scientifically tested to give a ‘proper cure’ really should be avoided! So should a brand that recommends a UV lamp based on wattage. They clearly do not have an understanding of what they are selling.

So many nail pros often come to a point where they want to rebrand for many different reasons. Gone are the days when a ‘conversion course’ was needed to purchase so anyone can, pretty much, buy anything. So the question keeps arising as to how to trial a new brand without having to buy the matched lamp.

What is the solution?

Rebranding for a specific reason is one thing. Adding yet another brand to several already used is another.

Each situation is down to ‘judicious choices’!

Obviously, ‘one size doesn’t fit all’! Maybe a bit more creative nail art is right for the individual nail pros clientele. BUT 2 different brands, maybe even 3, if chosen wisely at the start, should ‘fit all’. If any more than this is needed then maybe the choices weren’t right in the beginning?

So many excellent and high-quality brands have a wide range of alternatives to suit most eventualities. Even an insistence of having a massive colour range of 100’s to choose from ‘floats your boat’ (but here, I have to ask, is this the choice of the nail pro or their clients? How many ‘shelf sitters’ are there? If you understand ‘colour’ almost anything can be achieved with a relatively small collection that takes no more time to achieve than getting a client to decide and certainly saves the outlay that will never be recovered!)

This is something to consider when wanting multiple brands. Choose the right brands to start with. Who has the budget to keep buying more and more? Will you recover the costs? Do you do a profit and loss to make sure you are not paying out more than your income can support?

Moving on to probably the bigger problem: how do you test a new brand? It is almost impossible to properly test without using the correct and matched UV lamp. You want to test 3-4 brands but cannot possibly buy a UV lamp for each! What to do?

Trade shows are a great place to have ‘trial nails’ where a good demonstrator will explain all the benefits. You can trial a  coating. But that is just one nail on one person (you) and applied by an expert. A very good start. But you need to discover for yourself and on more nails than just yours!

How do you do this without the correct UV lamp. Using any lamp will not be a good trial!!

1. Decide what characteristics you are looking for. e.g colour range, hard and/or soft UV gels, high pigment levels, adhesion/longevity, ease of removal and so many others.

2. Research the brand you are considering. Do they have their own UV lamp (or one that can recommend that they have tested). Do they have education available (they’ll know what they’re selling). What are reviews and comments on SM about them? Do they have good customer care? Do they keep good stock levels or are they often OOS. Do they provide SDS before you buy?

3. If there is a comment on SM that says ‘fabulous’ ask why! That comment isn’t enough.

4. Testing? How? First, buy the matching base and top. If it is UV GP, buy a few colours: nude, deep, shimmer/glitter. Test how each paints i.e. 1,2 or 3 coats to get the right effect (remember thin coats cure better). If it is a hard or soft UV gel: how do you manipulate it? Does it stay put or does it ‘run away. Try all of them on several different people. One is not enough! All nails are different.

5. No matching lamp? (of course not). As long as there is no heat spike then double cure. You cannot overcure in time and doubling the time will ensure a thorough cure. If there is a heat spike (overcure), sit the nails in the ‘glow’ of the UV first to slow it down. Then go inside the lamp for a full cure.

6. Make your decision on if you like the application. If you are confident in the adhesion and longevity (remembering UV GP is NOT meant to last longer than 3 weeks as changes to the nail plate and nail bed can happen within this time)

7. If you, as a nail pro, have had an allergic reaction then you need to discover what exactly you are allergic to and this can only be done with an allergy test and NOT guesswork! If you choose a brand that you do react to you will need to take extreme precautions to avoid contact! If a client of yours has had a reaction, they must avoid the ingredient for life!

Listening to comments that say “I’ve used xxx lamp for x years and had no problem”; “I’ve mixed x with x and had no problem” is NOT the answer! If this is true, they got lucky. On another point, not following ‘manufacturers instructions’ will void your insurance (but that is a whole different topic!)

Following this, involved, advice will allow you to choose wisely, rebrand if needed and avoid problems both for you and your clients.

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