1st Place: The Most Innovative Idea for 2015
What's Innovative about Olaplex?
This innovative new hair repair isn't just another softener, conditioner or hair shiner, it actually chemically repairs hair that is damaged from excessive bleaching. It can be mixed in with hair coloring products or used as a separate treatment. Olaplex chemically repairs the hair by reconnect disrupted disulfide bonds in the hair; which is the first time this has been achieved and involves some pretty interesting chemistry. I also I love that normally the word "chemical" is used to describe damaging ingredients, but Olapex turns that myth on this head. This innovative approach demonstrates that synthetic chemicals and the wise use of clever chemistry can actually improve the hair in dramatic ways. I wonder where this will take us in the future? Will we all have perfect hair always, that is never damaged?
How Does the Olaplex Help Salons?
I have not tested this product myself, but I've talked to many people with bleach damaged hair who claim to have achieved significant improvements from Olaplex treatments. I've also investigated the chemistry behind this innovation, which appears to be valid and not just marketing hype. The benefits to salons are; now salon-related bleach damage can be repaired and this service will bring in new clients for repairs to their "do-it-yourself" hair damage caused by over bleaching. The beneficial effects of Olaplex aren't permanent and slowly dissipate after a month or two, but I?m excited for the future of this new technology and can imagine a day when the chemistry of hair repair is fine-tuned. That will be interesting. Eventually (with science) we will be able to permanently repair the hair and perhaps even improve it considerably. The Olaplex treatments now only work on damaged hair, but this innovations points the way toward other types of chemical treatments for the future, so kudo's to the inventors.
For these reasons, I've chosen Olaplex as the "Most Innovative Idea of 2015".
1st Runner Up: The Most Innovative Idea for 2015
The Painted Nail
What's Innovative about Steam Off?
Steam Off safely warms acetone based removers to increase removal rate for UV gel enhancements/UV polish, as well as monomer liquids/polymer powders (aka L&P). As a rule, solvents removers work much faster when they are warmed by just 10oF (8oC). The downside is, the warmer the solvents, the stronger the odor will be, since more heat causes more solvent molecules to evaporate more quickly into the salon air and into the nail techs breathing zone. Also, warmer solvents are more flammable because there are more vapors escaping into the air at a greater rate, so they should be kept away from sources of ignition, e.g. candles, cigarettes, etc.
The Steam Off unit addresses the main concerns associated with heating remover solvents. Remover solvents are gently heated in a container that sits in a warming water bath, so the solvent is not directly in contact with the warming plate, which increases safety. It is a very innovative and cleverly designed system, that can safely remove nail coatings. But like many professional products, safe removal assumes the manufacturer's instructions are read, understood, carefully followed and all warnings are heeded. Not surprising, since these are each important keys to working safely.
How Does Steam Off Help Salons?
Despite the name, "steam" is NOT what removes the nail coatings; instead the gently warmed solvent reduces nail coating removal time. The warm water bath heats the remover, which is located in a separate chamber. The cover has flexible openings that allows just the fingers to be inserted, so solvent vapors are largely retained inside the unit during the service- lowering odors, thus reducing the risk of solvent vapors igniting to catching fire. Nice!
The warmer solvent makes removal easier, but I like this innovative idea because it can help reduce nail damage in the salon. How? A great deal nail damage is caused by improper removal techniques. Nail damage frightens many potential clients away from these beneficial services. Much of this salon related nail damage is a result of too forcible of a removal, e.g. scraping or prying. Too much force can peel away the surface layers of nail cells to cause white spots. This surface damage isn't caused by the solvents, as some mistakenly believe, it is caused by removal techniques that were too forcible for that nail plate. Normally, nail coatings that have been over-cured with a nail lamp too intense for that nail product will be more difficult to remove and will require much more soaking time, as will nail coatings that have been left on the nail plate for longer than recommended by the manufacturer. Time is money in the salon, so this often leads to rushed or careless removal of nail coatings and excessive damage to the nail plate, which could and should be avoided. Nail professionals should respect their client's nails and keep them in good condition. This is one of the nail technician's most mportant responsibilities. Steam Off makes it easier for nail coatings to be removed more quickly. Even so, when properly used it can be a useful tool, but its' not a magic box that prevents nail damage. Only the nail technician can prevent this damage by wisely choosing and careful performing gentle removal techniques, as well as, by properly educating all clients about the damage they can expect if they remove the coatings by themselves.
For these reasons, I've chosen Steam Off by The Painted Nail as the First Runner Up for Doug Schoon's "Most Innovative Idea of 2015".
Very Honorable Mention
Safe Salon Supply, LLC.
What's Innovative about Safe Salon Supply?
Not yet a year old, so this newly formed business didn't technically quality for an award... but I love this innovative idea so much that I'm giving them a very honorable mention for a great concept and innovative idea. Kudos to you Safe Salon Supply! Why not use the Internet to make it easy for nail professionals to find safety related equipment and supplies? That's what this innovative new company is doing. This website represents the future of the beauty industry, a future where salons will once again be considered safe havens for clients. The professional beauty/cosmetic industry does a lot to ensure safety, but greater emphasis needs to be placed on working safely in the salon, using safe work places and personal protective equipment when required, e.g. gloves and eye protection, salon appropriate ventilation, etc. Safe Salon Supply promises to lead the way and I wish them great success.