I posted an Instagram story recently about taking my non-toxic nail kit (including healthy nail polish) to the nail salon. I polled those watching to see who else did this. It was only 30 percent of the respondents! Some people will say even going to a nail salon exposes you to tons of germs(and not the good kind!) and chemicals— do they clean everything properly? How do you know?
But a pedicure is a monthly indulgence I hope to never have to give up. I always look forward to it— well, really, the foot massage followed by the neck and shoulder massage.
At WellBe we believe information is power and, like we wrote about in our video and post on sundays studio, the products used in nail salons are often quite toxic, not only for our nails and skin, but also for our lungs via inhalation. We’re not just talking about the nail polish itself— I once counted the number of products used in a 45-minute pedicure and got to seven. Most of them come in nondescript bottles and the lotions are sea green or baby pink…what did they have to add in there to make them that color?! Nail salons have low margins, so I get it— you have to buy the cheapest product in bulk. And as we have sadly begun to realize, inexplicably cheap products are those shown to be most harmful on your long-term health.
So I told myself I could only continue this nail salon habit if I cleaned up my act. The first thing I do is never get my cuticles cut. Reducing the risk of bleeding means reducing the risk of getting a nasty infection that might require an antiseptic or even an antibiotic (I try to avoid taking antibiotics at all costs!).
The second thing was do some research and put together my own “nail salon kit.” The salon near my apartment, Spa Belles, uses a special sterilization device for their tools called an autoclave that uses heat and high pressure to kill bacteria. If you see a salon using a disinfecting solution (the blue stuff at a barber shop) or UV light sterilizer boxes, skip ‘em, because they’re not fully cleaning their tools.
For my kit, I bring everything in a little net bag and explain each item to the pedicurist when I sit down. Have I ever gotten a side eye from a woman next to me over the top of her Vogue or Us Weekly? Sure. Have I ever gotten a staff member who doesn’t quite get it and is annoyed I’m changing up the routine? Sure. The only pushback I’ve heard is on my nail polish remover. Since it’s oil-based, they sometimes think it won’t work as well as the normal stuff (which smells like the inside of a nuclear lab) and worry that it’ll prevent the polish from adhering. When that happens, I smile and ask them to give the remover a try— it works and the color stays on great.
Now that I’m using my nail kit regularly, most of the other salon regulars don’t even notice; sometimes they look up from their phones when I explain its contents, and some actually look interested in trying them. Most pedicurists just take the products and get started. My current little kit should last a long time before I have to buy fresh products…except maybe some new polish colors every now and then! 😉