Chatter: Pro Only Product

ChatterPro Only Product

Time for a rant. If you happen to enjoy beauty and product and all that jazz, chances are you’ve encountered a pro only product of which you’re fond…even if that product really doesn’t require professional handling.

It’s frustrating to learn that the flavor of the day is only for sale at CosmoProf (hi, PolyGel when it first came out) or through the pro only product supply-chain and vendors (hi, OPI Gelcolor).

The Rub

In my case, I am most-often frustrated by the lack of availability of nail products. Although in many cases certain US states and certain countries mandate licensure to render services on clients, they don’t necessarily regulate the types of products that can be sold. The industry (in the US, anyway) is largely self-regulating regarding the sale of cosmetic products. This isn’t purely a bad thing; it can help service providers maintain business, for example. I can appreciate that to an extent. In other cases, it’s because the general public is … not bright. After all, the FDA just needed to remind people that drinking bleach is bad.

While most regions that require board licensing do include some education in chemistry, it isn’t as though a career as a cosmetologist requires a Chem major.

For Me

I do most of my beauty treatments myself. If I wasn’t afraid of doing a poor job on the back of my head, I’d do my own balayage. I’m pretty competent at most non-hair beauty things (though I do glaze it myself) and have never made a terrible error or suffered injury. My reality is that I don’t have time to go do a bunch of this stuff. Secondarily, I don’t always want to spend money on services that I can frequently get as-good (or better) results at doing myself.

Frankly, I haven’t gotten a pedicure that is better than one I do myself in years. My nails are and have been my one thing. I do them myself and have been for a long time. I’m relatively new to DIY enhancements (like dip powder), but that’s in part because it has been so difficult to purchase quality enhancement products as a non-cosmetologist. I use both tools and chemicals to do the job(s) and have never done myself any harm.

If Hair is Your Thing

I can’t style it. I glaze but don’t DIY color it. But some people are more confident than I am in their hair skills (and rightly so, because some of the best color jobs I’ve seen were DIY). But if you’re one of these people without a license, you’re essentially stuck with Mysterious Vendor X online or Sally Beauty.

I <3 Sally Beauty, don’t get me wrong – but it isn’t the same as being able to buy a bottle or tube of whatever color or developer from whichever brand you wish.

Gated Access

Gating access to pro only product when there isn’t a valid safety need for it to be gated is silly. Some companies might to it to preserve brand integrity. In my opinion, this is foolish; open up to a broader consumer market, maintain branch strength by pricing appropriately (i.e., offer pro pricing and separate consumer pricing). Not only does the problem solve itself, but it contributes to the diverted product market in which counterfeits run wild.


Continuing my nail-heavy bias, I love that both Liz from The Nail Hub and Suzie from Nail Career Education both support non-professional nail enthusiasts and try and review both accessible and pro only product. I’m sure there are people with similar views pertaining to haircolor and other product but it isn’t my area of knowledge – if you have an example, leave it in the comments.

The Bottom Line

I can buy a chainsaw. I can’t safely operate a damn chainsaw! Why can’t I salon-quality builder gel/acrylic/hair dye/etc? It is discouraging to see amazing results online only to find it is courtesy some pro only product for hair or nails that really does not require professional education to use safely. If consumers can buy and use gel polish, we can certainly buy soak-off and hard gels for heavens sake. Or hair color. Or what-have-you.