Gone Mental: A Few Words on Mentality Nail Polish

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If you were messing around any nail polish-related blogs or vlogs this past weekend, you may have seen the indie polish brand Mentality Nail Polish mentioned once or twice or 20,000 times. Customers have reported that after using Mentality polishes sold between April and June of this year, particularly those of the neon variety, they’ve experienced symptoms ranging from the relatively benign (general sensitivity, burning, itching, discolouration) to the absolutely horrific (nails lifting off the nail bed. It seriously looks like something out of one of the Saw movies.)

For a comprehensive rundown of what is quickly becoming a rather sordid affair, I’d direct you to The Mercurial Magpie‘s accounting of the reported issues and Mentality’s interesting (?) response. But as I understand it, the Cliffs Notes go a little something like this: A few months back, some Mentality polish users began experiencing negative side effects after using certain polishes. Mentality acknowledged that some customers were experiencing “sensitivity” to the polishes, and offered to send out replacements for the faulty products. A handful of bloggers and Instagrammers then took to their respective social media platforms to visually show the nail polish community the extent of the damage to their nails (see above, re: Saw.) A number of swatchers, many of whom worked with Mentality for years and years, then publicly distanced themselves from the company, and people like me, who own quite a few Mentality polishes (none produced during the time in question, and none of the neons either) began looking at them with a lot of distrust. The nail polish community as a whole began demanding answers, and then refunds.

That’s when one of the owners of Mentality, a man by the name of Danny Dannels, entered the fray, adding fuel to the Instagram fire (the platform on which it burns the brightest) by denying those refunds on the grounds of “haters be hatin’.” He alleges that this entire affair is the making of a group of vengeful bloggers who are bullying his company into the ground, and as far as he’s concerned, the status is quo.  In an odd sort of screed, he also noted that he’s an artist, a fighter, a scholar and an athlete, and the world needs his nail polish.  Rant-of-the-day thus issued, Mentality then put the affected polishes on sale for 50% off. Which is…so ballsy! Also idiotic, self-serving, disrespectful and, most importantly, dangerous.

So this is where I get off the Mentality train, a colourful caboose I have to date most enjoyed riding, on the grounds that I am simply too old for this shit. This issue is serious and has far-reaching repercussions beyond its negative impact on the indie nail polish community. There are major health and safety concerns at play here, and it’s worrying to see them treated as an afterthought in the midst of all the social media squabbling. To that end, Mentality’s response has been petulant, juvenile and – again – DANGEROUS. And of all the shit I’m too old for, Petulant Amateur Danger Hour is riiiiggghhhht up there.

So although my Mentality polishes have not turned my nails into something out of a horror movie (I have 10 glazes and four Jellychromes I purchased right after Christmas, and they are 14 of my very favourite polishes) AND I will continue using them until the bottles run dry, I won’t be replacing them and I won’t be talking up Mentality on this blog any more either. Life is an endless series of problems and obstacles, but it’s how we deal with those problems and obstacles that define us. And if I’m judging Mentality on how they’re dealing with this particular problem, they’re failing miserably, and I’m really past the point in my life where I’m interested in supporting miserable failures. End of my screed. 😉