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Namibia’s Nail Biz in a nutshell

A brief history…

In the US & Europe, the Professional Nail industry has been booming since the late 1960’s. Many of the top professional brands that have been used in overseas salons for decades, have only been introduced to the Southern African market over the last 15 to 20 years. In contrast, quite a few of the world’s “biggest” nail brands, have only become available in Namibia over the last 5 years or so.

In the mid-1990’s, Namibians were first introduced to professional nail enhancement services. At the time, only 2 pro nail care brands were available in the country, so nail technicians had very limited access to quality training and professional products. In fact, for many years, most Namibian Nail techs and their clients were kept in the dark about the fact that other product lines even existed.

For many years, brand names were confused with systems – creating the incorrect perception that if a nail tech used anything other than one particular company’s product, they were automatically considered to be a “bad” nail technician. This is absolutely not the case! There are many exceptional nail techs out there who don’t use only one brand or system – and 9 times out of 10, they’re usually the most skilled and knowledgeable.

Changes & challenges

Thanks to advancements in technology and the increased use of social media, it’s become clear to many Namibian nail techs that there’s a lot more to professional nail technology than they were initially led to believe. Fortunately, a lot of the misinformation and old beliefs about the Professional Nail industry are slowly being filtered out – especially when it comes to products, training and natural nail health.

However, despite having much better access to information online, and affordable education on the subject, many of today’s nail professionals still use outdated techniques and nail care systems – likely because the cost of additional training and product investment is often considered “too expensive”. Social media has also, unfortunately, promoted the misconception that professional nail care products can be safely used by anyone – whether they’re trained or not – creating a general reluctance to invest in quality products and education.

Many grey-market & counterfeit nail care products that mimic professional brands are easily obtained by the DIY consumer online. To them, there’s no apparent difference aside from the price tag and the fact that they can buy with out getting trained up first. This has led to a substantial increase of people developing irreversible acrylate allergies (often misdiagnosed as contact dermatitis). Incorrect use of nail enhancement products is the number one cause of natural nail damage – which often ends in the consumer believing that it’s the product that’s bad for them, rather than what they’re doing with it.

What you don’t know, can hurt you

To set the record straight, it’s really important for consumers to understand that nail enhancement products aren’t safe if you don’t know what they’re made from, or how the chemical components they’re made up of work. This is why T&Z Trading only sells certain products to trained professionals, and why we don’t encourage people to buy their own kits to do their nails at home. It’s also why we only sell reputable brands manufactured by reliable companies who can prove product safety and quality assurance.

We totally understand that doing nails is a popular hobby for almost every woman (and quite a few guys!) out there – who doesn’t like having pretty hands, or creating funky nail art that wows everyone who sees it? The important thing to keep in mind, though, is that it’s only fun when the results are good. A lot can, and does go wrong when you play it by trial and error with nail enhancement products.

To avoid having a bad experience, it’s advisable that you do your homework when it comes to either buying products, or getting your nails done professionally.

If you’re buying nail enhancement products and training, be wary of these red flags:

  • anyone who sells artificial nail enhancement products without asking for certification;
  • products that are very cheap (real professional products aren’t);
  • products that are “like [insert salon exclusive brand name here]” but you can walk into pretty much any “China shop” and buy a full nail kit for a few hundred, to a couple of thousand N$;
  • training courses with a duration of under 2 weeks for beginners.

The best nail techs invest in their education, products and tools. The naked truth is, there’s no cheap or fast way of getting into this extremely competitive business if you’re hoping to stand out among the crowd. It’s very easy to be conned into buying a “3 day training with full kit, be your own boss” package at a ridiculously low price, but one thing’s for certain: we can guarantee that if you go this route, you won’t be making enough money to comfortably live off within your first year of working; and you may end up quitting altogether.

If you’re getting your nails done professionally, make sure you’re supporting a nail tech who has been properly trained, and only uses reputable professional products. “Legit” nail techs swear by their brands, and will often be very passionate and proud of being associated with a professional brand. If you don’t see any sign of this in their work, on their social media or in their salon, you may end up being disappointed in the results of the service they provide. Price isn’t always an indicator of the nail tech’s skill or service quality either – but it is safe to say that nail techs who only use pro products often charge more than those who don’t.

It’s a matter of choice…

Ultimately, it is a personal choice whether you prefer to go pro or not… But it is important to understand that the choices you make will affect your experience and perception of the nail industry in general. We hope this article has given you a bit more insight to the nail industry, and helps you make the right choices – whether you’re a nail professional, thinking of becoming a nail tech, or someone who just enjoys getting their nails done.