text by Ashley Riegle
Nail polish may be the last thing that comes to mind when considering an organic lifestyle. Most nail polishes and manicure products are loaded with chemicals that put both consumers and manicurists at risk. However, increasingly signs for “organic” or “nontoxic” manicure services have been popping up around Los Angeles, and I wanted to get the scoop on this growing trend.
Some women seek out greener options because they’re pregnant and can’t risk inhaling toxins. Others seek out non-toxic nail treatments because they want a manicure more in-line with their health-conscious lifestyles. Yoga, green juice, non-toxic manicure, repeat. For those reasons it shouldn't be a surprise that LA, the mecca of body-consciousness, is leading the forefront in cleaner manicures.
Non-toxic manicures use nail polishes and cleaning products absent of the leading toxins used in most manicures. At this time there's no such thing as a completely "organic" polish on the mainstream market, however there are cleaner, toxin-free options to consider.
The pros of this type of manicure/pedicure are the lack of harsh chemicals on your body (did you know the nail beds are one of the most sensitive areas of the body?), and general peace of mind about picking a healthier, greener option. The downside is that these polishes take longer to dry (sometimes much longer), and don’t always last as long as traditional options. All of these services use non-acetone nail polish remover, which in and of itself is a step in a healthier, more environmentally friendly direction.
Having tried out the “organic” manicure experience, I’m now a true believer. Here are three great options for greener manicures and pedicures in LA:
Côte takes the nontoxic manicure to the next level. The brand’s founders believe so much in providing a healthier, safer product they spent more than a year developing their own line of polishes. Côte’s eponymous brand, which comes in 112 vibrant colors, is the only brand they allow in the shop.
“We wanted to rid the nail landscape of the toxicity that we’d seen. From product down to the environment we wanted our clients to come in and have the full experience,” said Jamie Feldshuh, vice president of Côte. Côte polishes are all hand-poured in the US, using Italian bottles and brushes. They also have their own base coat and topcoat.
Tucked in a popular shopping strip in Brentwood, Côte embodies a cool vibe, and offers a great soundtrack with iPads at every manicure station. “When you walk in, you should feel like you’re in your Malibu beach house,” said Jamie Feldshuh. “We want it to be an escape- a full-on experience from the minute you walk in the door.”
Clients can decide whether they want their services indoor or outdoor on their shaded patio. What more could you ask for? ”
Tip: Spring for the Luxe pedicure-- lavender scrub, delectable hot stone massage- it's divine and worth every penny.
Manicures: $20 - $35;
Pedicures $26- $45
Relax back into one of their custom-designed overstuffed chairs and enjoy what can only be described as a truly zen spa setting just blocks from the beach.
Alchemie manicurist Janeen Parave has been working in the beauty industry for over 20 years where she says she found herself exposed to harsh fumes and chemicals on a daily basis. She expressed great relief working in an organic setting today. “I think if you have to wear a paper mask in order to perform a service, it’s probably not something women should be putting on their bodies”.
Tip: If your polish chips within 3 days, Alchemie artists will touch it up for free.
Pedicures: $45- $85
Alchemie Spa in Santa Monica is a full service organic spa offering everything from facials to full body massages. They also offer manicure/ pedicures featuring Butter London polishes.
“There’s a lot of places that claim to be organic but you go in and they’re using chemicals to wash the towels and insecticides to clean the floors,” said Jayde Covenant, Alchemie manager. “All of our clients can be completely confident from massage oil to skincare, to what we use to clean the floors and launder our towels, everything is natural, no harsh chemicals whatsoever.”
Olive & June
If you're looking for a nail salon with non-toxic options in the heart of Beverly Hills, Olive & June is for you. All polishes available at Olive & June are 3 free or above, ranging from Essie and Deborah Lippmann to 5 free options like Kure.
“We are not an exclusively organic salon, but I wanted the woman who wanted that experience to be able to come in and be in a toxic-free environment, “ said Olive & June founder Sarah Gibson Tuttle. She says their mission is to provide women with the custom services they crave.
At Olive & June, you can people-watch while sipping on green tea in a leather sling-back Blue Dot chair. The salon uses Honest Company products, Aveeno lotion and will customize your manicure/pedicure to be as organic as you prefer.
“We have clients who want everything organic except for gels, so we try to cater to all sorts of clients while staying on the safe side of nails”. Olive & June also recently opened a second location in Pasadena, a great addition on the eastside of LA rocking the same great services and decor.
Tip: They offer a pregnancy pedicure called the Emma, which uses all organic products and nontoxic polish.
Manicures: $20 - $50;
Pedicures: $26 - $90
430 N Canon Drive, Beverly Hills; 146 S Lake Ave, Pasadena