“Acrylics ruin your natural nails” and 10 other beauty lies you’ve probably been told.

How many times have you had a client freak out over some beauty-related old wives’ tale? Are you one of those clients that considers Good Housekeeping articles as pure gospel? I’m going to compile a list of all the dirty filthy lies about my industry that I’ve had the displeasure of hearing and explain why they’re not true. Continue reading if you want to gain some knowledge that will help keep you from unintentionally saying something foolish.

1.) “Acrylics ruin your natural nails. Gels are much gentler and better for you.” I hear this one the most. No matter what kind of nail enhancement product you choose, your natural nail will experience some degree of damage.

Regardless of the product used, the natural nail has to be dehydrated before enhancements are applied, causing the natural nails to become dry and brittle (at least until the enhancements are soaked off and the natural nail is oiled up). Damage is also caused during the etching process. The degree of the damage is determined by the procedure and the pressure your nail technician uses when etching your natural nail in preparation for the enhancement.

Whether or not the nails need to be etched is a big debate topic in the nail community. One school of thought believes that the products on the market currently adhere just fine and don’t require etching. My school of thought has tried skipping etching and has realized that nails do need to be etched a bit before the product goes on unless you want to have to deal with nails popping off and lifting like crazy. Etching creates shallow dips and grooves in your natural nail. The enhancement product flows into these grooves. Then, the enhancement product hardens. The dips help the product adhere to your natural nails.

If the nails are soaked off gently, no damage will be done at all. However, if the nails are ripped off, chances are that several layers of the natural nail will come off with it. If you experience damage to your natural nail after wearing enhancements, it most likely has to do with one of four things: a nail tech who wields a drill like a jackhammer, MMA-based product, improper enhancement removal (ripping the nails off instead of soaking them, for example), or simple delusion. What do I mean by delusion?

Sometimes clients wear acrylic nails for a long time and then forget why they got them in the first place.

If your nails were perfectly strong and hard, you wouldn’t have gotten enhancements now, would you? A lot of clients get used to the strength of the enhancements. By the time they’re removed, the client has forgotten just how shitty their natural nails were, so they assume that the enhancement product caused it. (It is for this reason that I perform a thorough consultation and document the condition of the natural nails prior to applying the set. I also insist that my clients take vitamins specifically formulated for hair, skin, and nails.)

2.) “If I don’t get my hair cut, it will stop growing.” This is so ridiculous. Your hair will not stop growing if you skip a few haircuts. Your hair may seem like it’s not growing, depending on the amount of mechanical or chemical damage it’s experienced. If you’ve wrecked your hair and torn it up, the hair shafts will split (causing “split ends”). If you don’t get the hair cut, each time you brush your hair, that split shaft will split even higher. It might seem like your hair isn’t getting any longer, but it’s still growing.

3.) “Shaving makes your hair grow in thicker. Waxing makes it grow slower.” Wrong. Waxing works by pulling the hairs out from the root. The body then has to form new hair. When the new hair breaks the surface of the skin, it grows with a soft, tapered end. The shaft by the root is wider. When the hair is cut with a razor blade, it is cut at the shaft, at skin level. This wide part grows out, making the hair appear thicker.

Neither shaving or waxing change the thickness, density, or rate of hair growth.

However, waxing does traumatize the hair follicle and can cause the hair to quit growing after years of waxing.

4.) “Nail polish causes your nails to turn yellow.” No. Wearing cheap nail polish without basecoat will cause your nails to turn yellow. Putting on polish that has recently been applied to someone with a contagious nail fungus can also cause your nails to turn yellow. (Yellow, white, and brown are fungus colors.) To avoid this issue, use your own polish bottles and don’t share with anyone. Be sure to apply a nice layer of basecoat to protect them as well.

5.) “Plucking one grey hair causes ten to grow in its place.” This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.

Plucking hair will not cause follicles to magically appear out of nowhere.

If that were true, I’d have plucked every one of the 1,500 hairs on my head in a desperate attempt to increase the density.

6.) “The inner wrist is the best place to test the color of foundation creams.” Why would you want to test a foundation on any part of your body other than the part it is going to be worn on? The best place to test the color of foundation is on your face, dummies.

7.) “Split ends can be repaired with conditioning treatments.” Split ends can not be repaired. They can be moisturized and their appearance can be smoothed out, but broken hair is broken hair. Period.

The only way to “repair” split ends is to cut them off.

8.) “Greasy foods cause acne.” Rubbing greasy foods on your face may cause acne, but no food you consume will cause acne. That includes candy, chocolate, and fast food. My husband and I eat this garbage regularly and we both have gorgeous skin.

9.) “My nail technician can treat my nail disorder.”

Nail technicians are prohibited from treating any client with a skin or nail abnormality.

This is way outside of their scope of practice. If you ever see a nail technician servicing a client with a skin or nail disorder, report them to your state’s health department and board of cosmetology. They’re putting you and everyone who walks into that business at risk for contracting whatever disorder the person has.

10.) “When I put my nail polish into cold water, it dries faster.” No, it doesn’t. If that worked, I’d be dropping ice water on your fingertips after every service instead of using very expensive solvent evaporating chemicals like OPI’s Drip Dry. (Which costs me $20 or so an ounce.)

11.) “Topical treatments will cure my nail infection.” No, they won’t. They’ll return moisture to the nail plate and allow the nail itself to grow healthy, but it will not treat the disorder. See a dermatologist or podiatrist. Nothing your salon or supermarket carries is strong enough to treat fungi. Typically, oral medications are prescribed.

12.) “My nail technician gave me a fungus. The nails under my acrylics are green!” If you’re seeing green, you’re likely not looking at a fungus, but pseudomonia, a bacterial infestation. Chances are, your nail technician didn’t give it to you; you gave it to yourself. If you skipped fills, chose to garden without gloves, or went swimming in a pond, beach, or questionable hot tub, you put yourself at risk. Pseudomonia is a bacteria that exists in up to 80% of soil and water. They love dark places and eating the oils on your nail plate. Their favorite place to live and breed is the space between your nail enhancement and your natural nail. If you had any lifted product, whether it lifted because you neglected your fills or your nail technician didn’t properly remove it during your last appointment, that bacteria can wedge itself in there. Once under your enhancement, they multiply rapidly. The green discoloration you see on your nail plate is their excrement. It is simply a stain. It is not going to kill you and you’re not going to lose your finger. Killing the bacteria is as easy as removing the enhancements and wiping the nail plate clean with alcohol. If you catch it early, the stain can be buffed out. If you don’t catch it for a while, you’ll have to wait until the discoloration grows out.

What other crazy beauty myths have your clients brought to your attention? Tell us in the comments!

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Tina Alberino
Tina Alberinohttps://thisuglybeautybusiness.com
Beauty industry survivalist, salon crisis interventionist, tactical verb-weapon specialist, and the leader of at least a hundred workplace revolutions, Tina Alberino is known as much for her extensive knowledge as for her sarcastic wit and mercilessly straightforward style. She’s the author of The Beauty Industry Survival Guide and Salon Ownership and Management: A Definitive Guide to the Professional Beauty Business. When she’s not writing, educating, or consulting, she can be found overthinking everything, identifying problems people didn’t know existed, and stubbornly working to change the things she cannot accept.

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