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UK nail brand addresses UV lamp issue thru’ quality testing with +ve results

By Alex Fox | 20 March 2021 | Expert Advice, Feature

Hazel Dixon On Uv Lamp Banner

 Champion nail artist, international educator & distributor, Hazel Dixon, founder of HD Professional Nail Systems in the UK, talks candidly about the controversy surrounding UV/LED lamp usage & how she’s successfully addressed the issue with her nail brand.


by Hazel Dixon


After the success of my HD gel top coat ranges, I was constantly being asked, are you going to bring out an HD gel polish line? I’d already been working on one, but hadn’t quite found the right formulation, so wasn’t quite ready, plus there was the whole UV/LED lamp subject weighing down on me.

Reflecting on the knowledge and education I’d accrued over my many years in the industry, it was apparent that I needed to ensure my gels were high quality, rich in pigment and applied effortlessly. The thing is, over the years nail techs have demanded more from their gel polish, which is why we see a huge rise in popularity of the base and build-in-a-bottle type gels. Techs want great coverage in 1-2 coats, great adhesion and longer-lasting than ever before. However, as soon as you add a high pigment content to a gel, you need to ensure that the light curing is strong enough and the application is even and not too thick…which is why education is so important when using any brand.


Roll on a few months. I had my perfect formulations (I ended up with two types of gel polish to ensure the brand could service all types of tech, no matter how they worked), but still had the big issue of the curing lamp.

All too often we see brands claiming their products will cure in any lamp. This simply put, is not true, unless they’ve had them tested in every lamp on the market. (There are so many variants of lamps that vary hugely in quality and performance that I honestly question that claim.)

So, while considering this serious issue, I questioned if there were lamps from other brands that my range of gels would cure correctly under? I hadn’t seen any gel brand making this claim, but it didn’t mean it was impossible!


After intensive research into the quality of lamp that would be required to fully cure the formulation of gels I’d developed, as well as knowing the current issues the industry faced in regards to allergies and the under curing of gel polishes on the rise, I knew I needed to get it right.

I pondered for weeks on which direction to take and the best solution in order to ensure I could give my customers complete confidence in my brand. I wanted them to know I’d gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of my product line to the best of my ability.

I knew that my manufacturer had done the necessary testing in regards to cure times and correct lamp features, but for me, it wasn’t enough; myself and my customers demanded more.

I looked into developing my own lamp and at many other options too. After assessing the possibilities, my thinking moved to questioning if I could have my gels cure in multiple lamps that were already on the market? Was this even possible? More often than not, nail techs enjoy multiple brands, but can’t afford to purchase the matching/correct lamp to go with their chosen system. The reality is, as a salon owner myself, when you love multiple brands, the affordability and practicality of having multiple lamps on the nail desk is not feasible and can be a logistical nightmare. Some may say, ‘stick to one brand’, but let’s be honest nail techs love colour and being creative; they and their customers want choice.

I moved my research in the direction of various independent nail laboratories. I approached them to see if they’d offer this type of testing and many refused unless I had my gel manufactured with them. It was more difficult than I thought.

Then, one man I admire and respect for his honesty and knowledge within the nail industry, Jim McConnell, replied to my email. Jim is an industry sensation; he can break down into layman’s terms and simplify one of the trickiest sectors of the nail industry to understand  – the chemistry. His answer to me was ‘yes’! Enthusiastically, I emailed him back and forth. I explained what I needed and he was more than helpful. I was overjoyed that I’d finally found a lab that would do the testing.

I sent Jim a selection of my new HD Colour It! Gel Polish products, along with the Akzentz Hybrid lamp, as this is what I use along with all my customers, as I’m the UK distributor for Akzentz. It made sense to me, as I knew this would be a huge benefit both practically and financially to existing nail techs who currently purchase their nail supplies from me.

Along with the Akzentz lamp, I also purchased and sent him one of the most popular and cheaper LED lamps currently on the UK market. Jim also offered to test the gels in his own branded lamp, the Light Elegance DOT.

The results spoke for themselves. Knowing the quality of the Akzentz Lamp I was confident in its ability to pass the rigorous testing and I was right. As I was about the Light Elegance Dot lamp. Both passed with zero issues. The other popular lamp I sent over did not. It failed in huge style. This wasn’t a big surprise to me, yet equally it’s scary to think that this particular lamp is used by so many techs across the UK. The results I received, have proved unequivocally to me that you cannot think any lamp will cure any gel, I have the laboratory reports to prove it. It may look cured, even feel cured, but it isn’t.

This proved to me – NOT ANY LAMP WILL CURE ANY GEL.

It’s my understanding, after extending my scientific understanding with Jim, that no two bulbs are the same and there are many factors that equate to the creation of a great quality lamp. This is not something that is taught to nail techs. Therefore, I feel it’s the responsibility of brand owners to have an understanding of these factors and ensure that proper testing is carried out. All too often we see allergies and reactions to gel products and I believe it’s our responsibility to understand why this is happening and to stop it sharply in its tracks.

I’m definitely not a chemist and I’ll never pretend to be, however I feel it’s important as a brand owner, for me to continue to expand my knowledge and have a better understanding of the chemistry side of products when developing them.

This is why it’s important to work alongside industry figures such as Jim McConnell. He’s qualified and has the knowledge and understanding to reassure me that my brand is safe to use in the correct lamps with the correct cure time.

Being the first brand owner to not have their own specific branded lamp, was a little nerve wracking as I wasn’t sure how it would be greeted in the industry, but I’ve had so many positive messages from customers thanking me for doing it. They know I’ve gone beyond what was necessary to give them the confidence and reassurance they require. They can now choose the lamp they want to use from the list of approved lamps I’ve had tested to date. I’m looking to extend the list with more lamps being tested in the future, so it opens up even more choice and possibilities to customers.

I’m so grateful to Jim and McConnell Labs for doing the independent lamp testing, but also for helping me have a better understanding of the chemistry required to produce great quality gels with great quality lamps.

As an industry we need to come together more than ever before and work with each other in a positive way to collectively ensure bigger and better impact for the whole nail community. It was early on in my conversations with Jim that it became obvious to me that he shared the same ethos as I.  Of course, competition in business is healthy, but we should also be thinking of the greater issues that we’re facing and by coming together, doing everything with integrity and the right ethos, I believe it will be for the greater good of the nail industry.