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I think some companies maybe do this so one can only buy their bulbs. Which would be OK, if all the lamp manufacturers understood UV cured gel. But in my experience as a nail tech for 20 years, I don't believe they fully do. I think their focus is on bulb & lamp sales & not on the end result that contributes to helping techs build lifelong clients.
The only bulbs we currently carry at Ni are Phillips bulbs. We have found them to be THE BEST. I've tried & compared every bulb at every price point imaginable. We have found that these bulbs deliver the best bond, best cure (hardness & shine), & best longevity in a UV bulb. I'm leery of cheap bulbs, because I have found them to be just that. Cheap. I have never found cheap bulbs deliver the same end result. Personally, I'm not willing not risk the longevity of my work & my clients loyalty over bulbs.
I want a tight fit in bulbs so they draw sufficient power. If they're loose, it can impact the draw of power. When the draw of power is reduced, so is the cure (resulting in a softer, rubbery cure, loss of shine & reduced bond).
To ensure a snug fit & good power draw in some of the lamps we carry, the bulb receptacles are made smaller than the bulbs. In this instance, we simply file the tiny triangular tabs on the side of the bulb just a little bit at a time until they fit snug. It's the best custom fit you can get.
There are hundreds of UV lamps & they're all made just a little bit different. Better to have bulbs that are larger & can be sized down than smaller bulbs which will be loose & impact the cure.
Here's what I've learned & how I've come to these findings & conclusions with UV bulbs. Bulbs have been a huge concern for us over the years. Finding the best bulbs because we desire to help nail techs build the strongest biznesses, that keep the most clients coming back, at prices that charge what they're worth. (Which is rare in this industry).
We are on the search continually to find the best products to make the livez of nail techs the most profitable, enjoyable & long lasting.
We encourage you to experiment & compare for yourself. Put any lamp with cheap bulbs (as little as 4 for $10-$20) on one side of the desk. Get a lamp & Phillips bulbs from Ni on the other side of your desk & run them side by side for 6 to 8 months.
People tend to be harder on their right hand. So when I did this experiment to research the best bulbs & learn about the differences, I put the Philips bulbs on the client's right hand & cheaper bulbs on the left so I wasn't risking as many repairs or lost clients. I also told my clients what I was doing so they could watch for differences & supply feedback also. And in the event the broke or lifted nailz cured with the cheaper bulbs; they knew why they weren't getting the results they had come to expect with me.
In the end, the results were clear to me. How could I charge $65-$120 / nail service & expect to keep clients & continue to be booked a year in advance with bulbs that cost $2.50 each & created nailz that were not shiny, popped the bond, cracked, peeled & lifted. That wasn't the kind of nailz I wanted my name on. As a busy tech, I don't want to waste time on stuff that might not work. Or risk losing clients because of it.
There are however different kinds of Phillips bulbs!?!?!? Not all of them are the same!? One serial number off & the cure can be impacted...
For trusted results & the least risk of losing clients over bulbs, at this point in time, this is why the specific Philips we have are the only UV bulbs we carry.
It's a tough learning curve out there, which adds one more variable to the nail industries 95% failure rate for long-term career nail techs (after 3-5 years, only 5% of techs are still active & earning a part time or full-time income). At Ni our career success rate is 68%. After 3, 5, 10, 15 years - 68% of the techs who regularly update & continue their training with Nail Innovationz are still actively earning part time to full time incomes & we're shooting for a 95% success rate. Our hope is that we can connect with techs such as yourself & write another success story together.