I think we can all agree that this has been an eventful summer for the indie community. The elephant in the room has been the issue that arose due to Mentality’s base giving some customers a bad reaction or sensitivity. To break it down, some have experienced a tingling sensation while others have immense lifting from the nail bed. Ouch!
Mentality took action right away and sent out a newsletter addressing the issue and immediately switched their base supplies. All good, right? Well it depends on how you look at the situation. As of right now, Mentality polishes are safe to use. But will you use them? And more importantly, did you know about the issue?
That in itself seems to be the true cause for the drama llama rearing its ugly head.
I think it goes without saying that our indie polish community is a close knit one. Whether it be to raise awareness or to call bad behavior out, once the fire has been lit it tends to spread rapidly. And this issue is a serious one with real consequences for those who use these polishes with the bad base.
Now it’s important to be logical about this situation and not let public anger cloud our common sense. One person’s reaction to a chemical will not mean everyone will be affected in the same light. A brand can test polishes for months and never show any signs or problems. These problems such as what Mentality are facing may not arise for months after a product is sold to the public. But it can happen in rare cases and here today we are faced with just that. Bottom line, our body chemicals affect the way we react and that is not something that can be foreseen. Obviously there are things to take into account, like if a person has a history of allergic reactions. The reality of the situation is that this could happen to any brand, indie or commercial. The main public concern is how this situation is being handled rather than the actual problem itself.
Within Facebooks groups the issue with Mentality has been brought up time and time again. The problem with this is what if you’re not on Facebook or simply not a part of nail groups?
As of right now, there have only been less than a handful of announcements from Mentality about this tremendous issue. One of them as I mentioned was a newsletter. Customers who have caught wind of the issue through second hand sources have had to hunt for further information. Yet their Instagram and Facebook have countless daily mani reposts and new posts about upcoming releases. At the time this occurred I did see a post on Facebook about the issue, but right now it seems the post has disappeared.
We have seen no outright – open post/thread - communication on the issue. And this to me as a blogger and moreso as a indie supporter is unacceptable.
If you email them then they offer to replace the polishes with their current safe base. This is around a two-week wait, which is to be expected given the situation and this being an indie after all. Obviously every maker has their own opinion on how they would have handled the situation. A lot of the talk has been, why wait until customers contact you? Some are of the opinion that all polishes made during this time period should be recalled and replaced. Personally I would of preferred to receive a recall and then the option of an outright refund not a replacement. At the very least, I will say it is being handled fairly quickly when you contact them. But then we're right back where we started, what about those who don't know?
You can tell me about new releases, but you can’t post a reminder of a serious issue?
Perhaps if this was an issue that happened late last year, I can see why there wouldn’t be a need to rehash an old topic. But this whole situation took place this summer, a month or two ago! This is still relevant and there are still uninformed people who are possibly still using this bad base.
One of the many questions that has arisen, did the bloggers for this indie know about the problem? Some say yes and others say no. Some had no effects. Some had minor. A reviewer and/or swatcher is not the same as a test wearer and I think that’s something people do not realize. Most bloggers, like myself, write about our onhand experience with the polish and the formula then remove the polish that same night. This is again, something the public needs to be knowledgeable about and realize when reading a review. Just like makers take the time to send to bloggers, they need to either allow a reviewer time to test wear or test wear by some other means (either on themselves or have a different team for it).
Personally I will not be using Mentality for the time being. This is a decision I have weighed and thought about for quite some time. Bottom line, as someone who paints my nails on a daily basis I cannot willingly put myself at risk. No matter how minimal or nonexistent that may be. It’s not something I feel comfortable with and not having any Mentality polish isn’t making me feel like I am missing out.
I want to repeat: this is MY personal decision.
Think about it like this, if a restaurant had an outbreak where their food was harming people would you eat there again? I know some people perhaps wouldn’t for a few weeks, others for a few months, and others not ever again. It’s a personal decision and no one’s choice in this kind of situation can be deemed as wrong or right.
This isn’t about picking sides or starting a witch hunt, but as customers we have the right to be informed. And with an issue of this magnitude, it should feel like more of an open book policy. Post a F.A.Q. thread about the issue. Have a pinned post! Let customers see that you’re an open book about this situation and that you have nothing to hide. Even if that means answering a few questions over and over again, so be it. The relationship between indie brand and customer can sometimes feel like a personal friendship. And because of that the backlash and the rumors are slowly getting out of control.
Anne from Betty’s Beauty Bombs wrote a great article dispelling the rumors circulating around. This is a great read and I recommend you take a look so be further informed: http://www.bettysbeautybombs.com/2015/08/20/whats-going-on-with-mentality/
While I cannot speak for everyone involved, I can say my only wish from this situation is spreading the knowledge. This shouldn’t be a hidden issue that people are afraid to talk about. It happened, it’s out there, and we need to be aware. Most importantly of all, we need to hear directly from Mentality on a public platform. Not just once. Not just a newsletter.
Update 8/21 --
Kirby from The Mercurial Magpie has also written a post with her thoughts about the situation as well. Her post includes a photo of the damage a girl has suffered due to the base. It's definitely not a photo to look at lightly. Her post can be found here: http://www.themercurialmagpie.com/2015/08/mentality-polish-mistakes-happen-but-this-response-is-unacceptable.html
Update 8/22 --
Mentality has posted an update on their social media, it is a lengthy statement which you can read as a whole here: facebook.com/MentalityPolish.
This is truly disheartening as, in the back of my mind, I hoped that our demand for more information would help them see the error of their ways. Instead over the last 72 hours things have only went further down the rabbit hole. I understand the financial burden this has caused, but do you Mentality understand how your handle on this situation has affected your customers?