The Mentality Nail Polish Debacle

by - 8/24/2015

The nail polish blogging community is a really tight-knit sisterhood. We band together in times of trial. We've tackled bad formulas, curling glitter, weird smells, bleeding glitters, any issue we've had with a polish, we put it out there for our readers. Why? Well, that's the point of a nail blog, right? We paint, take photos, and review polishes so others know exactly what they'll get when they buy a bottle.

Recently, there's been a lot of talk surrounding Mentality Nail Polish. Apparently, use of their nail polish during a certain period of time caused reactions in their users. That reaction ranged from a tingling sensation to the nail detaching itself from the nail bed. Onycholysis is the medical term for that reaction. It's just as bad as it sounds.  

Mentality bloggers came forward with concerns about their reactions as soon as they pinpointed Mentality Polishes might've been at the root of it all. Mentality did post about the issue on their social media accounts. Subsequently, they posted constantly about their ongoing sales and new collections, burying that crucial information about the tainted polish. Emails went unanswered. But word kept getting out, mainly by nail bloggers who wanted to warn anyone who hadn't heard about the situation. 

I'm sure Mentality was flooded with a lot of concern surrounding the "in question" polishes. Many customers wanted to return the potentially tainted product for fresh stock. Some customers wanted to simply return their polish and have their money refunded. Eventually, Mentality began blocking requests for refunds. Later, through Paypal, further attempts at refunds were blocked because Mentality claimed they were being targeted by an internet bullying campaign.  

But it gets worse. Those poor Mentality bloggers whose nails were affected in the first place? Regardless of their level of support, they were all fired. Some had already chosen to distance themselves from the brand, others had been willing to stick it out.

So, that brings us to where we are now. 

When it comes down to it, the tainted polish was where the problem began. But that's not what has driven the conversation about this in the nail world. Mistakes happen all the time. It's how you handle them that determines your character. The way I see it, Mentality has responded to this challenging PR situation with a lack of communication, followed by an unwillingness to take responsibility. 

At the end of the day, it's not just taking responsibility for the bad product, it's their reaction to the whole situation. As someone with a minor in Public Relations, I can't believe that a business would act this unprofessionally after such a damaging event. I mentioned in a comment on The Mercurial Magpie's Facebook that "when there's an issue with food that might make people sick, or a faulty device that could hurt people, companies usually issue a complete recall of ALL of that product." 

But that's just what I think after reading everything I've been able to find about the subject. I normally steer away from anything that has to do with negativity, but on the off chance that any of you haven't heard about this situation and might be polishing your nails with one of the tainted Mentality polishes... I just want to inform you of what is going on right now. 

As for me? It was unlikely that I was going to buy anything from Mentality. I don't typically buy indie polish. So far, Rainbow Honey is as far as I've dipped my toes! The one thing that I would ask you to take away from all of this... don't let one indie behaving badly ruin it for the rest of them. There are some amazing independent brands out there that test their products stringently, run their businesses professionally, and really care about their customers.

Should you send the polish back? Should you keep it in case there's a class action suit? What are the true intentions of Mentality? If it were me... I think I'd hold onto the polish. I'd definitely file with the FDA. And I'd probably try to give a little bit of love back to the other amazing indie brands that are out there. They've been unfairly marked with the same scarlet letter as Mentality, and that's just awful. Show them how much you love and respect everything they do! #itrustindiepolish and #supportindiepolish are just two of the hashtags floating around the interwebs right now.  

If you'd like to read more about The Mentality Thing, here are links to articles that have a few more specifics in them.

And lastly, if you're wondering what to do with suspect Mentality polishes... Nail polish is considered hazardous waste, so you can't just throw it out like regular trash. I've heard that Lowe's will accept them and dispose of them properly. I've never done that, and I don't know if there's a fee involved. You could also hang onto them and wait for Zoya's Earth Day polish recycling promotion.

UPDATE #1: added a post by Lab Muffin. She actually knows about science and the chemistry of nail polish. Very informative! Also, a lot of these posts are getting updated as more information becomes available. Stay tuned...

UPDATE #2: Finally, after being called out by customers, bloggers, and social media users all over the internet, Mentality issued a statement. They claimed they had figured out the issue and posted about it. Not long after, the company they tried to throw under the bus issued Mentality with a cease and desist order. That C&D was posted on Mentality's Facebook account along with a statement claiming innocence. Not long after, Mentality issued a recall for every polish they've made going back to April 2014.

UPDATE #3: I know I said before that Mentality should've gone with a recall to begin with, but a recall this late in the game seems shady. It doesn't seem like any money is being reimbursed, so I can't really see the benefit of sending polish back. There's a lot of talk that the owner might be trying to destroy evidence, and while I have no idea if that's true, all we've got to go on are his previous words and actions.

UPDATE #4: Looks like you don't have to wait until Earth Day! Zoya just sent this over...

Apparently, they're open for recycling polish now through 9/12/15! For every bottle you send in for a minimum of 6 and a max of 24, enter the code HAPPY and you get 50% credit back to your order. This is a great way to properly recycle unwanted polish!


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