**I want to note that I am no longer affiliated with, or a supporter of, Mentality Nail Polish**
Sigh. Hi everyone. I've been watching all this drama unfold and I wasn't sure how I wanted to respond. But, I do feel I owe it to you guys to say SOMETHING, even if it is just to tell my personal story in case it might help someone somehow.
I was beyond excited a while back - I think it was during summer-fall of 2014 - when Mentality announced that they had chosen me for as one of their featured bloggers. Me!! I admired them so much, and I already had a ton of their polishes. Throughout the next year, it was a wonderful partnership. I got to know a group of wonderful ladies that were in the Mentality bloggers group. Danny and Hillary's generosity blew me away. Nearly every time Mentality got a new collection, they sent it to us all to try out. On several occasions, like around the holidays, they gave us an option to choose a certain number of polishes to try. It was amazing! And I can honestly say, I never had a single negative experience with them until this summer.
The first weekend of June, I went to a festival with my fiance and our friends. I kind of caught my ring finger nail on my left hand on the car door (very lightly) and went about my day. I left that mani on for a few days (not Mentality) and when I went to take it off, around the 10th, I noticed that my ring finger was lifted up some. I felt some pain on that finger, especially if I pressed on the nail. It seemed like a no brainer to me - that was the one I caught on the car door. (Unfortunately, I did not get a pic at this point - I didn't see a reason to). I didn't see any reason to stop polishing or anything, and I had just received a package of Mentality Neon Glazes to try. So I went straight to work trying them out. Hillary and Danny sent out a bottle of Sunny (white matte) along with my glazes, and I thought that was a perfect base for my leadlighting nail art that I wanted to try. Because it was white, I didn't think to use a base coat, which I normally always do. I did probably 3 nail arts using Sunny and the glazes that week, leaving each on for a couple of days at a time.
At some point, I was in our Mentality Bloggers Facebook group and I saw a message from Danny saying if we experienced any sensitivity to the 5 free base, to discontinue use immediately. I commented on the thread saying that I hadn't experienced anything, but I hope everyone was doing okay! A couple of the girls started explaining what symptoms they were having and it clicked - pain, lifting of the nails from the bed, tingling - it sounded just like what was going on with my ring finger. I was told that in some of the other girls that was how it started as well, with one finger - usually, the ring finger - and then the other nails followed suit. I started to think that I was experiencing the sensitivity Danny had mentioned after seeing some photos of the other girls' nails who were dealing with this. This was on June 19.
I immediately took my polish off to check (it was a mani I did with the Neon Glazes) and noticed that, sure enough - my pinky nail was starting to separate from the nail bed as well and my ring finger was getting worse.
**Note: My nails are stained from polishing constantly for the past 3 years - the discoloration is not related to the other symptoms that I am discussing in this post.**
I panicked and pretty much stopped polishing my nails. I am getting married in October and I was so afraid they would fall off. I didn't just stop using Mentality, I didn't wear anything except Yellow Stopper base coat for the next couple of weeks. Eventually, around this point, I felt like it was safe to start polishing with polishes I knew were safe, like those that I had used before. I didn't frequently polish, remove, polish either. I used Sally Hansen for a week, Pahlish for a week, etc. And they were getting better, and the lifted parts were growing out!
I continued this plan for a while because it seemed to be working. Polishing with only mainstream polishes or indies that I've used many times before and I knew to be safe. Either that, or just base coat. I was so excited to see that by early August, my nails were almost totally healed!
On August 12, I got my box of Earth Tone Mattes from Mentality. Here is where things get a little confusing. You see how nice my nails were growing out in the above photo on August 8. I didn't get a chance to try the Mattes on the 12th because I had a migraine. So, before I went to swatch the first one the next day, I snapped this pic...
You can see my pinky had started separating again. This was BEFORE I put Mentality back on my nails. I did try the Earth Tone Mattes after this photo, and this is the most recent photo of my pinky. As of right now, my other fingers on my swatching hand are fine and have not been showing symptoms again. Just the pinky. It's actually worse now than it was when I took this photo. About 50% of it is lifted, if not more now.
So, I guess what I'm saying in this long, drawn out post is I can't say definitively that it was Mentality Nail Polish that is causing the problem that I'm experiencing with my nails. At first, I thought that made the most sense, but now, I have no explanation. I'm open to ideas?
I do want to say a few more quick things. First of all, I did go to my doctor yesterday to have her check out my nails. She said to her it looks to be fungal. I explained the situation with Mentality and how so many others have had similar reactions. She thinks that there could be a harmful chemical in the polish that exacerbates bacteria/fungal infections or caused a chemical burn that could exacerbate other issues, etc. She prescribed Lamisil to see if it helps and she said if it doesn't, we can do a nail scraping/clipping and hopefully get some more answers. I will let you all know if I find anything else out.
Additionally, I want to apologize for not speaking out sooner about what I was experiencing. Like some other bloggers, it took me quite a while to realize that my nail polish might actually be the culprit. At the end of June, when a few of us bloggers put our heads together in the group and figured out that it may be the Mentality, I didn't speak out because I didn't feel it was my place. I didn't know what about the polish could be doing this and I felt it was the company's place only to announce this problem how they saw fit. Did I think it would take them a month? No. But I also hadn't heard about anyone else complaining, so I thought - could the few of us in the group be the only ones?
Finally, I want to say that I do not agree with the way Mentality handled this situation. I cannot thank Hillary and Danny enough for all that they have given me and the other bloggers, and I still appreciate them for that. But, I am also extremely hurt on a few counts. When the FIRST person came forward with possible sensitivity issues - whether that be April 2014, September 2014, whenever the first report came in - THAT is when people should have been notified. I do wish they had said something. I might not be in the situation I'm in. My wedding is in a little over a month, and my pinky nail is more than half detached. I'm embarrassed of it, and it's painful.
Additionally, I think the snarky posts and not-so-subtle digs at customers were in poor taste. I do think it's normal for people to be outraged. This is different than some sinking or curling glitter. These are people's NAILS that are coming off of their fingers. It's serious. My doctor said if I didn't get on top of this right away, it could continue separating all the way up to the cuticle and it could take 6 months to grow back. For people like myself, who pride themselves on their nails and in fact, run an entire blog devoted to it, this is devastating.
The public "firing" of the Mentality bloggers was humiliating and demeaning. We weren't tagged in the post, so I just happened to see it and I was blown away. We were not notified about this beforehand, so I was shocked and more than a little hurt. I couldn't understand why we were being fired when we hadn't done anything wrong. I understand that Danny stated that this was to distance us from the company to avoid the negative comments and backlash we had been getting, but I also believe that sentiment could have been conveyed without informing the entire internet world that we were FIRED. I was doing my best to stay out of the drama, and I was holding out hope that Mentality would right this wrong, continuing to support them despite everything. It just felt like a major slap in the face.
Please, if you own any Mentality polishes from the past few months, call your local waste company and find out how you can dispose of them. Don't risk your nail health. If you do develop some sort of infection or chemical burns on your nails, it could spread and get serious. Last I've seen from Mentality's updates, they are no longer offering returns or refunds on their polishes, unfortunately. On one hand, I get it. There is only so much they can do financially and physically. However, if your nails are coming off and the company tells you they won't do anything about it? That's bad practice. It would make more sense to say, hey, we're tapped out, we will get you when we can. But, we're not taking any more requests? Not cool.
I want to finish out by again apologizing for my failure to come forward sooner. I should have let you guys know if I even suspected a problem. If you made it this far, thanks for listening.
I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have, but please, keep it civil. This whole situation is enough without the attacks and personal digs. I truly appreciate all of you.