Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Myth of Solar Nails

In the 1970's the Nail Industry was an unregulated industry and most nail technicians used MMA from dental supply houses to form acrylic nails. One day in the late 1970's, a patient of Dr. Stuart Nordstrom, a dentist from California, remarked that the product that he was using to prepare temporary caps for her teeth smelled like the product that was used on her nails (called "porcelain nails" instead of "acrylic nails" back then). This sparked Dr. Nordstrom to develop SolarNail, the first acrylic nail product formulated to be thin, non-yellowing and strong. Which lead to his company - CND (Creative Nail Design) being formed in 1979.

Over the years CND has innovated and produced better and stronger products and the original SolarNail Liquid was discontinued. However, Radical SolarNail - a much improved version of the original SolarNail liquid - still exists. "SolarNail" remains a trademark of CND.  In the early 1980's SolarNail became synonymous with Pink and White French acrylic nails due to a marketing campaign done by Creative Nail Design. The marketing said that SolarNails were better than regular Acrylic/Porcelain nails because they were formulated specifically for nails (or something like that).
Notice Solar Nails on the menu :(

Fast forward to today. There are salons that still advertise "Solar Nails" as being "better" than acrylic nails. This is referring to the very old marketing campaign I mentioned above which said that said that SolarNail was superior to the MMA acrylic commonly used at the time. It was superior at the time. The thing is, they didn't really highlight that SolarNail was a brand of acrylic. They were trying to differentiate themselves from the thick, yellow, horrible acrylic or "porcelain" nails of the time. And it worked.  CND has a habit of marketing themselves as something different - take Shellac, which is a brand of gel polish made by CND. It is gel polish, but their marketing campaign is such that it calls itself a hybrid and claims to be something completely different than other gel polish. Chemically, there is a bit of difference between Shellac and most soak off gels, but that doesn't change the fact that as a product category, its just gel polish.

Unfortunately, CND's marketing works so well that to this day, there are people who believe that SolarNail is a completely different product from acrylic nails.

OK, so what have we learned?

  • SolarNail is acrylic nails (remember, Liquid + powder = acrylic)
  • SolarNail is an old, discontinued brand name of acrylic from CND
  • Solar Nails almost always mean Pink & White nails, though almost never mean they are using SolarNail products (being discontinued and all).
  • Clients are very trusting and believe salons that tell them Solar Nails are a thing.
  • Salons that use the term "Solar Nails" are stuck in the 1980's and/or are knowingly misleading clients. Is this the type of salon you want to patronize?