Avoid Contamination

Contamination can plague a salon from the inside and out. The worst part is, you may not even know if or how you’re the reason it may have happened.  When people think about contamination they really only think about two main things (bacteria and infection) but contamination issues go so much further within a salon. Contamination of any products used to create an acrylic enhancement can lead to a great many undesirable results. Among those you can definitely experience difficulties with yellowing or lifting. There could be dust in the primer, or you could be using older or mixed products that weren’t chemically compatible.  If contamination is suspected it shouldn’t be ignored. Enhancements may peel off after a short time, and the customers never return and you don’t know it. This missed opportunity of creating and keeping long-time customers costs can add up exponentially over time and can become an Achilles heel for what would otherwise be a very successful salon. The old business adage is: the disappointed customer tells 7 people; the happy customer tells one – if you’re lucky. These easily avoidable detriments can destroy a salon’s reputation and seriously hinder the success of future client business. Here are a few really important things to watch for inside your salon:

 

Cleanliness –

Since most people think of bacteria and infection when hearing the word contamination, it seems appropriate to address those areas first. Anything that touches a customer, from spa chairs to nail clippers, needs to be sanitized before it touches another.  If an item cannot be sanitized, like gloves or orangewood sticks, it should be discarded.  Infection can spread very quickly if contaminated utensils are used on different customers. Attention to cleanliness will not only aid in assuring your salon isn’t a breeding ground for bacteria, it also lessens the opportunity to damage or cross contaminate products as well. Dust is also a large perpetrator of contamination.  The cleaner your salon, the better the chance of avoiding accidental contaminants from ruining your ability to create the enhancements of your customer’s dreams.

 

Storage –

Storing sealed polymer in close proximity to sealed monomer seems safe – it’s not. These two products are formulated and manufactured specifically to have a chemical reaction with each other.  It comes as a surprise to some technicians and salon owners that the two products made to go hand in hand cannot be stored anywhere near each other.  If they are, even the highest quality powders will turn yellow.

You also need to be sure that you and/or your technicians take the extra few seconds each time they open a jar or pail to close it before walking away.  It is far too easy to leave

buckets of product open in the back room because “I’m coming right back,” or “I’m going to just need more for the next person anyways.” If anything spills into these containers it is usually impossible to completely remove the contaminants and results in waste of the product.

Many of our customers take the product they’ve purchased and move it into containers of their own for easier, more functional use.  This helps keep product in storage sealed for longer periods of time, lessens the chance that something may be left open and is a great idea provided appropriate measures are taken to remove the risk of compromising the product. The new containers should be clean, dust-free and able to safely hold and preserve the product. Products like AnGelic® Eternal Base Coat and AnGelic® Almighty Top Coat are light sensitive – that means that they react when exposed to different lights. When these are poured out of their original 16-oz. black plastic container they are susceptible to curing even under the regular lights in the salon.  If they’re put into clear polish bottles, or any other container that is light-permeable it is expected that they will cure even if the cap is on and sealed (as shown in the image).  Light sensitive products need to be stored in black glass or black plastic containers.

The compatibility of your container with the product is important as well. Some containers just do not have the chemical structure to hold solvent based products.  Some of these products would be Primers, Bonders and Dehydrators.  If you’re in doubt whether your container can safely hold one of these products, the safe bet is to use an amber glass bottle.

 

Ill-performing product –

If you’re noticing that your materials are not performing as expected, there’s usually a reason why. Contaminated Top Coat or Sealer could be flat-finished, bumpy and/or yellowed. A technician once added polish thinner to a bottle of their top coat because it was thicker than they wanted.  It thinned out the consistency of the contents in the bottle as anticipated, but then the top coat didn’t look as clear as before and did not dry very smooth – even though they only applied a thin coat.

People have been attempting to thin out their older, thicker nail lacquers by adding polish remover.  Traditional nail polish is made of solvents, pigments and other film-forming materials. As these solvents evaporate, either naturally over time or because the cap wasn’t tightened securely, your polish will get thicker. If you simply want to thin out your traditional nail lacquer, use a polish thinner instead. The addition of polish thinner replaces the original solvents that have evaporated from the polish, returning it much closer to a newer condition. Polish Remover is made to dissolve polish. Adding polish remover will make your polish look thinner in the bottle, but applying the damaged product on a customer will result in a manicure that won’t last as you’ve already begun the removal process. Do not use Polish Remover to thin nail polish.

Adding polish thinner to products that are not traditional nail lacquer is a surefire way to compromise the integrity of the original product. Recently many people have been calling because their gel polish isn’t curing properly.  After asking a few questions it turns out they have been causing this problem themselves by adding polish thinner intended for regular nail lacquer to their gel polish. Gel polish and nail lacquer do not have the same solvent based formulation, these two products are chemically incompatible and will not work as intended. It may thin out the gel polish inside the bottle, but it drastically increases the likelihood of not curing and/or having a very bumpy finish.

Although bonders, primers and dehydrators are all products used to promote adhesion, they are all intended to be used independently. There have been a few technicians that have decided to save time and increase their efficiency by combining Magic Bond Primer and PH Plus, but it turned a cloudy white and immediately diminished the effectiveness of both products.  If simply mixing them would have worked, we would already have it available for purchase. If you would like to use more than one for the same service they should be used in separate steps with adequate drying time between. Check out our Blog for more information on differences between these products:  What is the difference? Nail Bonders, Primers & Dehydrators.

Mixing different monomers immediately changes how it was designed and leaves too many variables unaccounted for.  Set speeds will become unpredictable, the enhancement can cure to be overly brittle or it may not even cure at all. Yellowing becomes a factor that would not have presented itself with the tested and approved formula. Some monomers like the Nomma Plus and Nomma Lite are Primer-less liquids.  Mixing these monomers with anything else reduces the effectiveness of the materials used in the precise formulation and can lead to lifting. It is not recommended to use out of the large gallon sized bottle. Always pour out of the gallon into a smaller container for use on a customer. On that same note, never pour used liquid back into a large container. Any product that was used for a customer should be considered used and disposed of appropriately.

  • Our monomer formulas are rigorously tested for performance before production and distribution.  Please do not attempt to “fix” the product to your specifications. For more information about the various monomers we offer, check out our blog: What’s the Difference Between Monomers? If you require additional information about why a particular monomer is providing the given results, just contact us and we can assist you.

 

Destroying inventory –

Costs involved in having to replace contaminated product are never fun and almost always avoidable.  You’ve already paid for the product the first time, but now because it has become contaminated you have to essentially double your cost to have the same amount of product you had originally. But, this expense is more than just doubling the cost of the original product, it also costs your time to re-order new product, and all the potential revenue from clients you couldn’t serve due to contamination.

Water based products like callus remover, lotions and sugar scrub are susceptible to deterioration if they come in contact with salt. The chemical properties of salt liquefy the thickening suspension capabilities imperative for maintaining the functional integrity of these products. This is always important to remember, but imperative if you use scoopers for your pedicure products.  You cannot use a scooper for salt scrub, and then use that same scooper for sugar scrub.  This cross contamination will almost immediately begin dissolving the sugar scrub into a watery, soupy mess if even a minuscule amount of salt finds its way inside.

 

There are many ways in which contamination can come back to haunt a salon.  If contamination is ever suspected, it should be addressed immediately.  If you have any questions or concerns, please comment below.