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A culture of acrylic ENGLISH VERSION

13 Feb 2017 3:00 PM | Michelle Pugh (Administrator)

Welcome all to The Nail Rogue blog! It is a long and winding road, this thing called life, and now I finally have a home for my nail related blog! There will be SO MUCH to come in 2017, I can hardly stand it...

While I find two dozen other things to write about, here is the text of the article I wrote for Beauty Addicted magazine from Rome, Italy. The original in italian can be viewed at :)

The question was asked of me "Why is acrylic so popular in America?" The following article is my answer:

Culture. It defines who we are, what we do, and how we do it. The effect of culture on nails is no different. It can be seen in title: are you a nail technician, or nail artist? Manicurist or nail stylist? And it affects everything we do! Luckily, we are better connected around the world than ever before, which expands the beauty industry and our opportunities for knowledge. There are a few key cultural differences that are worth knowing to make your nail world so much bigger!

In the United States, everything is fast. Fast food, fast banking, and fast beauty! Drive through coffee bars (shameful, I know!) and drive through pharmacies! Nothing is too sacred to not find a way to do faster. It's our culture. This means there is a large market for fast and convenient nails. And customers expect the fast and easy to be inexpensive too!

This brings us to why acrylic is so much more popular in the United States as compared to Italy. It is important to remember as we discuss this that even gels are “acrylic”, they belong to the same chemical family. Acrylic as we say is a 2 part system of liquid monomer and polymer powder, whereas gel is monomers and oligomers. It has been said that gel is most accurately described as “premixed acrylic”. However, that premixing comes at a price!

Even though traditional acrylic has a strong odor, it is very inexpensive to use, and many clients don't care if there is smell. French Manicure, whether the tip is white or another color, is still very popular here. There are salons on every street corner all over America that do a full set of acrylic nails, with white plastic tip and clear acrylic overlay, in 30-45 minutes. This is a technique that can be taught in the salon to new nail techs very quickly, and the customer may only pay $15 for a full set! (Approx €14)

This is possible because acrylic liquid and powder can be purchased very inexpensively here. There is of course some brands that cost less and some that cost more, but is still less money than most gel. The “discount” salons here, as we call them, use liquid monomer that is $50 USD per GALLON (approximately €46 for nearly 4 liters of liquid monomer!) and by purchasing in quantity, can achieve a cost per service of under $1 of product cost on that $15 service. Some technicians do sculpted acrylic, which fell out of fashion for a time but has made a comeback, and use products that are 4-5 times the price of the products the discount salons use. These advanced technicians also charge 4-5 times as much to the client, making the price difference between their acrylic services and gel services very small. They get to choose which medium to use that will work best for the client. Our consumers want choices!

Another factor to consider is acrylic is much more universal because of its hardness. While some clients are too rough on their nails for gel, acrylic will stay on their nail without breaking. I say everyone who can wear gel can wear acrylic, but not everyone who wears acrylic can wear gel. We tell clients “your nails are jewels, not tools!”, but they are too busy to listen! Acrylic was also made popular here by nail technicians as early as the mid-1970’s, where gel took until the early 1990’s to make its use widespread. So it has more history in our market. Many of our celebrities with long and bright nails wear acrylic also, and what the famous people have, the clients want!

Acrylic has a few other differences that make it a choice for some nail artists to use. Polymer powder comes in many colors, allowing to make some very customized nails easily and quickly. There is no need for a UV lamp, so no heat spike while curing and expensive lamps to maintain. And since acrylic cures by heat and not in a lamp, it partially sets while still being moldeable. This makes the artist able to use many different colors on a single nail very efficiently. For many examples of this, search #notpolish on Facebook!

Next time, we will learn all about nail powder “dipping systems” in the United States and how they fit into what was described here. Such a big nail world!

Until next time, may all your nails be beautiful and your days happy!

I hope you have enjoyed this article! The next one will be regarding what the story is with all these dipping systems for nails popping up, and after it goes to print, I will publish it here in english. 

Don't forget, Nails Over Coffee on Periscope returns MONDAY, FEB 20 at 1 pm Pacific Time (UTC -8:00) @nailsovercoffee, come hang out with us!

Until next time, CIAO!

Michelle CP aka The Nail Rogue

Copyright 2015 Michelle Pugh dba University of Nails
Michelle Pugh is a sole proprietor in Washington, United States. 15 S. Oregon Ave Box A-6, Tacoma, WA 98409

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