about my nails + me - Redding, CA Photographer | Amy McMaster Photography

about my nails + me

August 23, 2015


My name is Amy. I’ve been married 19 years to my high school sweetheart.  I’m a 30 something mom of 4 kids. Age 13 and down. I homeschool all of them. I’m active in my church. I have 2 hyper dogs, 4 cats, a bearded dragon, 2 sheep and approximately 60 chickens, ducks and geese that I oversee care of.  When I am not kissing booboos, assigning math work, helping my daughter strengthen her reading skills…I am also being wife and helpmate to my best friend. In addition to all that, I can also be found butchering some of the birds we raise for meat, doing emergency care on sick birds or sheep…I am on call in my life and wear many hats. Painting my nails became a relaxing outlet for me. I’m no nail artist, just a painting enthusiast. Why am I saying all this? Because I want to keep in the forefront of everyone’s mind that we all have lives outside of the nail world.  We have kids that depend on us, husbands that worry about us, friendships that need nurture and pets that demand our attention.

So that is my preface. A few months ago, as many of you know, I began to experience some problems with my nails. During the exact same time I was also having a lot health issues. I was seeing the doctor(s) a lot, being moved from medication to medication- trying to feel better. Trying to get back to a normal that I may never know again. My health issues are my business, so I won’t be sharing them with the world at large but please suffice it to say – my nails were only a small portion of what was going on.

What WAS wrong with my nails? I assumed I was overusing chemicals like acetone.  Or having skin reactions to foods. Really I began to suspect nearly everything except my nail polish. When this was going on, I could find NO one else having the same issues with their nails. I started wearing disposable gloves when I was touching food. I stayed up until 3am some nights with burning eyes trying to look for pictures or articles that could help me. I found nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. I was very alone in this and eventually stopped posting about it on my IG. I was concentrating on healing, getting better and dealing with new-to-me food allergies. As the sole cook in my home feeding 6 people and me not able to eat a lot of different foods suddenly- my stress levels were off the charts trying to manage just everyday life. Plus homeschool? Plus a lame duck or a sick chicken or the coyotes that gutted one of my sheep…these things take first place every time for me.

Then one day I encountered another person who had a reaction like mine. We eventually were able to trace it back to Mentality Nail Polish. I was really frustrated at myself for taking SO long to figure out what was causing my nails to lift and hurt and burn. But just as I do with laundry soaps that cause rashes, or foods that never used to make me sick but now give me hives so bad that the rash goes all the way in to my ear canal and nostrils…I avoid them. I went back to mostly wearing mainstream polishes. My nails began to heal. As soon as I could confirm this finding for sure (in my mind), I took it to Mentality. They reacted swiftly. (ETA: it seemed swift to me at the time) I am not treated to a lot of ‘insider’ information so I am not really sure what all they had to do to make it happen but they switched bases. During that time, I used my old, olllld formula MNP- back before the formula switch. No reactions to those.

Why didn’t I say something before? Honestly? I truly had NO idea how many people were being affected. I knew there was myself and eventually 2 other people just before they made the announcement. Because I am NOT a blogger (I don’t blog, this is an old blog that I used for my photography so thought it would be a good spot to share this update), I do not have a FB nail account….really I only have my IG account and even then…usually I only have time to post a mani I did, maybe skim my feed briefly, like a few pics and I’m off to feed a sheep, potty one of my dogs, apply a bandaide to a skinned knee, make lunch for my kids, swap laundry, run errands, make sure my older kids are doing their chores…my day is endless. So, again, I didn’t realize that I wasn’t a loner super freak (that’s how I thought of myself because I couldn’t find anyone else suffering until near the end just before the announcement) until people this past week started DMing me, tagging me, texting me like crazy….that so many others had legit issues too. I know a lot of people have used MNP throughout all the changes and have never once had an issue. I simply thought it was yet another reaction I had to some unnamable ingredient. Story of my life.

For that oversight, I am so sorry for not speaking up sooner. I truly was largely oblivious until very recently because I don’t get to participate as deeply in the nail world as I would like to, to know what all is going on. I have a few friends that do keep up and they are where I have been able to glean much of what I have so far. My little nail world bubble is growing so fast now, people are reaching out and this is me responding the best I know.

Yes, I am now sure I had issues with some of the MNP polishes. No, I do not know which ones- that’s what made it so hard. It wasn’t ALL the polish. It wasn’t every polish in a collection. I was using multiple brands in a mani. It made it SO hard at first to pinpoint what was going on once I was able to address some of my other health issues.

What is going on with me now? My nails are now completely healed up. Nearly fully attached just as they should be. No tenderness, itching, etc all gone. I am using the brand new MNP formula and am having zero reactions. No itching, no burning, no lifting and despite my heavy use…they are still growing out fantastically. It is entirely up to you, should you want to try out the new formula. But I did figure I owed it to my friends, to update.

What is going on with Mentality now? I don’t know. As far as I know, they are working on replacements of purchases from those affected. I really don’t know much more than that.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate all of my friends who have been kind enough to tag me, message me and text me to keep as ‘in-the-know’ as I am right now. I appreciate that kindness!

IF you are suffering from burning, itching, nail lifting from using MNP – please please PLEASE contact Mentality directly. EVEN those of you who bought from their (now former) stockists.  Don’t just talk about this issue in private groups- talk about it in the open.  And definitely also take your issues to Mentality personally.


Amy McMaster aka spilledmilknails aka mom aka duck lady aka wife aka pitbull lover aka gluten free foodie aka…well…the list goes on.

update: 8/23/2015 9:25PM I just now read on the MNP instagram/facebook that they are no longer able to replace polishes. I am unsure if this means simply at this time…or period. I’m sorry! I would still continue to contact them if you suffered from any bad reactions to using their product.

update: 8/24/2015 I guess I’m fired now. :/ There was an announcement on Facebook. But I actually didn’t first see it there. I saw it on someone else’s blog from a screenshot. No personal email or anything.

update: 8/28/2015 I want to clarify something I keep reading in comments- although I was a swatcher for Mentality, I seldom, if at all, received collections/polish before a release date. Usually up to a couple weeks after it had been released. So I did not get to test collections before they were released.


about my nails + me · August 23, 2015 · 3:06 pm · everything nails

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