Gone Mental: A Few Words on Mentality Nail Polish

BadMentalityLineup

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. 😉

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Sunday Morning’s Alright For Stamping

StampingKittyHand

Humblebrag? This is my very first attempt at stamping. Prior to this I’ve tried the technique out on maybe two test nails before dismissing it altogether – too imprecise, too fussy and too messy for something I could probably free-hand just as well. But on the opposite end of the humblebrag spectrum, I’ll note that my free-handing skills are not always totally up to snuff, particularly when it comes to branded characters like our gal Hello Kitty here (depicted as the Punisher; husband’s choice.) In those cases, I’ve got zero problem seeking out a little pre-etched help, and so I decided to finally take a run at this stamping business. And you know what? It wasn’t bad or difficult at all, and being well organized right from the start kept things neat and tidy. Plus, how cute is Punisher Kitty on my thumb, nestled among that argyle bow design on my fingers? Brutally cute!

StampingKittyPunisher

But there’s a little more than meets the eye with this manicure, so let’s take it from the top! The base polish I used here is actually a jelly sandwich manicure I created by layering Mentality Nail Polish’s purple glaze with Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in Cheery on Top, a pink, turquoise and purple glitter (which is itself a dupe of OPI’s Polka.Com.)

CheeryOnTopCollage

Once that dried, I set about stamping, using just a basic, $5.00 scraper and transfer set I purchased from Nail Polish Canada and this Hello Kitty image plate from Fab Ur Nails I bought from Llarowe (which is in the midst of a major restructuring, whittling their stocklist down to just two in-house brands, so no more Hello Kitty plates, regrettably.)

KittyPlate

For the stamping itself, I used a favourite sparkly silver, OPI’s My Signature is “DC”, which is very opaque and transferred quite beautifully. I didn’t have any problems with the stamping, but my centering work could definitely use a bit of, uh, work. Except for Punisher Kitty (one of about a dozen superhero Kitties on plate number 9) who is leveling her stone cold vigilante’s gaze at me directly from the centre of my thumb. Still, for a (nearly) first time effort, this is pretty tremendous. So expect this unexpected run of stamping good luck to NEVER happen again!

StampingKittyFingers

Look Up, Look Way Up

PerseidsBottle

I missed last night’s Perseid meteor shower, thanks to the cloud cover that moved in right at peak viewing time, and on account of the fact that I went to bed at 9:00, because I’m an old and I need my rest. No excuse, I know, but cut a lady some slack – yesterday came with its own peculiar set of stressors, and sometimes the only way to deal with a day like that is to just close your eyes and hope tomorrow is better. So apologies, Perseid – I’m sure your big show was just lovely.

So in lieu of watching an actual cosmic event, I thought I’d paint my nails with a bit of stardust, or more specifically, Lac Attack’s glow-in-the-dark APWBD (Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, or Professor Dumbledore for short.) APWBD, which is stuffed with all manner of holographic half moons, squares and bars, leans towards the green on account of its glow-in-the-dark pigment, and so I paired it with Mentality Nail Polish’s Shindig, a green-adjacent turquoise from their fantastic line of jellychrome polishes. There’s a nice little hit of pink shimmer running throughout Shindig as well, which plays off nicely against the purple holo glitter. Not quite Perseids-level impressive, but pretty nonetheless!

PerseidsHand

Black Honey (OMD3)

Black Honey Hand Shade

Day 19’s prompt in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge was lipstick, which is a new one for me. What’s not new for me, though, is the lipstick I chose as the inspiration for these nails, Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, a sheer red gloss in a brushed silver tube I’ve worn pretty well exclusively for the past 20 years. The shade Black Honey, which I attempted to mimic here with multiple coats of red and black jelly polishes, is a hugely popular one; blackened reddish-purple in the tube, it appears on the lip as a satiny and super flattering sheer berry red. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t look great in Black Honey, and the day Clinique ceases to make it – Black Honey is offered in a number of different lipstick and gloss formulations – they’re going to have a full scale riot on their hands. Never underestimate the woman who has had a decades-long relationship with her lipstick! Or women, because I suspect I am far from the only one.

This manicure was mainly an exercise in layering, a subtle tweaking of the colours to get to that juicy, darkened plum look I most associate with Black Honey. Here I used Mentality Nail Polish’s slightly shimmery red and grey jellies from their Glazing Art Set, laying down two coats of grey, three coats of red and one more coat of grey before topping it off with Nfu Oh’s JS24, a clear red jelly that added beautiful depth and shine. Then, drawing inspiration from the brushed metal tubes of Almost Lipstick, I taped off and then painted in some angled, tube-type metallic details right at the tips of my nails with OPI’s My Signature is “DC”. Finally, I added a few drips of “black honey” to my thumb, because we really like to keep things literal here at Finger Candy HQ. S.W.A.K.!

Black Honey Fingers ShadeBlack Honey Hand Sun

Indelible Love (OMD3)

Indelible Love Hand

I went for an inked-on expression of l’amour for day 18’s theme of love in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge. For these tatted up nails, I took inspiration from the lettering on those knuckle duster tattoos that, spread out across two hands, often read LOVE/HATE or PATI/ENCE or maybe KITT/YCAT. I filled in the lettering with the red, purple and grey glazes from Mentality’s Glazing Art Set, sheer polishes designed for maximum blendability. I then added a few tattoo-style roses to my thumb and outlined them in black for a stark, graphic look. Love this love!

Friday Night Floral (OMD3)

Friday Night Flowers HandWith these shimmery floral nails satisfying day nine’s theme in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, I’m all caught up but for one prompt, yesterday’s call for patterns. I wanted to keep these nails simple, so I went with a tiny, dotted floral design and let the polishes I used here, Mentality’s blue shimmer-infused pink, Bash, and Smitten Polish’s purple (and blue and green and sometimes red) colour-shifter, You Saucy Minx, do all the heavy lifting. I love how the shimmer in both these polishes makes them look as though they glow from within, and depending on the angle of your hand and the quality of the light, like four different polishes at once. Cheers to keeping the rest of your Friday night fun and flowery, fingernail friends. 🙂Friday Night Floral Fingers

Last Minute 4th

4th HandHappy (evening of) the 4th of July, American blogging friends and nail art aficionados! These simple nails – nothing more than three coats of Mentality Nail Polish’s blue glaze topped just at my cuticles with KB Shimmer’s red and white (and peppermint-scented!) Candy Cane Crush – took next to no time at all, which is perfect if you have July 4th plans you’re dashing out the door to attend to and have no time to wait around for perfectly patriotic paws. Good Independence Day, all!