Remember the NY Times exposé on unprotected nail salon workers in these articles here and here? It’s a horrible reflection of what happens when we ignore toxins in our environment and the people most exposed to them, as well as a heart-breaking revelation over the way immigrants are treated…and neglected.
For a few weeks, the press was in an uproar. And like a crashing wave, it dissolved into a silent stream. So it is with most news. But when it concerns the health and fair treatment of other human beings, I wonder where the call to action lies.
What’s distressing is that now that the excitement has settled, the same pattern continues. Little seems to have shifted on behalf of salon workers—if anything. That’s what prompted the timing of this giveaway.
For a while, I’ve been percolating on an idea to offer a curated pedi-on-the-go kit as a way to start moving in the right direction. Ultimately, it was this post on Row + Rue that finally pushed me to do it. It proposes six ways we can help that are worth reading and sharing. Specifically, it was the part about switching to non-toxic polishes and bringing our own supplies that gave me the green light.
What better time to reduce our exposure to something that’s both toxic to our bodies, as well as to the people applying them?
You won’t look weird
As I love a good mani-pedi, I put myself to the task of finding the optimum products that you’d want to have with you on every salon visit. Shall we call this a sacrifice in the name of testing? Well, that would be a stretch. But I want to say for the record that it was not weird at all to bring my own polish and supplies to the salon.
Whenever the technicians asked me for my color choice, I produced my own, while thanking them profusely for replacing the regular products with my preferences. Trust me, they like them too!
I’ve been diligently providing my own supplies for the last six months, so that I could find the right nail polishes, base coat, top coat, and treatment products and—by George!—I do believe I’ve got them.
There were definitely some combos that did not work because the polish chipped within the first week. So let me introduce the ones that made the cut.
It begins with two adorable pouches that can fit into your handbag, while also accommodating all the necessary supplies. Yes, that means that two lucky people can win this giveaway!
Apple White on Etsy has long been a favorite shop of mine and part of a previous giveaway. I love that the handmade “do your thing” bag, $26, is neutral and can be used for anything you like. Don’t let its compact size fool you. The zippered pouch fits everything you need comfortably.
The “DUDE” clutch , $90, is a particularly cool find from goop. A collab between GAIA x goop, the bag boasts a chic checkerboard interior with a beige Romanian hemp fabric on one side and an eye-catching royal blue leather on the other side, entirely handmade with sustainable materials by refugee women in Dallas.
It’s another great transitional piece as it can take your salon treats anywhere, while also functioning as a date-night purse. Plus its purchase helps support GAIA’s mission to empower marginalized women by way of practical training and employment.
The Lotions + Potions
These gorgeous creations by R. L. Linden* are made exclusively for Base Coat Nail Salon in Denver, CO. and can only be found on the salon website. The amazing talents and herbal geniuses of R.L. Linden, Robin King and Lynn Till, generously provided these products for the giveaway.
Two winners will be getting all of these valued at $64:
- Lavender X X Frankincense Moisture Milk, $28, relaxes, moisturizes, and soothes even the driest skin.
- Cuticle Oil, $18, heals, hydrates, and strengthens nails, while also preventing hangnails.
- Eucalyptus X X Lavender Hand Sanitizer, $18, cleans hands and works wonders on stinky feet and shoes.
As soon as I spotted the portable 2.5 oz size of the oh-so-refreshing scrub “Pedicure in a Jar,” I had to add it to the collection! You can find CeeCee and Bee on Etsy (this size is valued at $9). Trust me, your skin will feel ultra-smooth as the natural alpha-hydroxy acids slough off rough skin, and the organic extra virgin olive oil replenishes lost moisture. Your feet will also benefit from the anti-fungal properties of tea tree oil, while refreshing mint instantly revives those tired tootsies.
Integrity Botanicals + Treat Collection
Integrity Botanicals* has not been around that long, yet this online store has already established itself as a go-to shopping playground for sustainable beauty. As soon as I told the lovely founder, Terri Hall, about this giveaway, she graciously offered to send these top-selling products. Winners will receive two classic colors from the 5-free and cruelty-free Treat Collection, plus a top and base coat.
- Treat Collection Top & Base Coat, $18, a clear all-in-one nail protector for optimum portability, that Terri wrapped so beautifully I didn’t have the heart to unwrap it.
- Treat Collection Cherry Blossom, $18, a go-with-anything pinkish-nude, semi-transparent color for nails.
- Treat Collection Summertime, $18, appropriately named—perfect summer red for toes.
I’ll also be throwing in 10 individually wrapped nail polish remover wipes from LA FRESH because they worked better than most of the other cleaner options, and the luscious Tuscan orange scent is an immediate improvement over the usual polish remover stench. Efficient to the extreme, it takes only one wipe to remove polish from all ten fingers or toes without much rubbing, plus they’re biodegradable, compostable, acetone free, and made using clean, renewable solar energy.
A Call to Action
Even without a giveaway, do consider cleaning up your nail supplies—there are loads of 5-free and even 7-free options now with a lovely selection of colors. Additionally, it is worth taking the time to find and support a qualified salon that cares about its employees and uses sustainable products.
Thanks to an intro through My Conscience, My Choice Founder Dory Kurowski, The Salon in Hoboken, NJ, is doing just that. This full-service salon is making great strides in its efforts to clean up the industry. There is even the sweetest baby care area, so that mamas can relax in style.
If you know of more eco-conscious nail salons, please add them in the comments. They will potentially make it to a new list like this one for holistic facials and credited back to you/your blog (if you like).
Here’s how to win!
Two winners will have a chance to win one of two pedi-on-the-go kits (the bag is the only difference) valued at over $200. Once again, I’m asking for a donation to the lovely Danielle Messina, a.k.a. The Glamorganic Goddess, to support her cancer recovery. Please read about her journey on the GoFundMe campaign and consider giving as much as you can. She has suffered so much already, it pains me!
Whomever donates the highest amount will get first dibs on the bag of their choice, so please leave a comment as to which bag you’d prefer and answer the question: what’s one way that you clean up your world (these can be external or internal choices). I hope that everyone will benefit from some helpful tips and ideas!
Then please follow the rest of the prompts in the link below to earn more chances to win. Two winners will be randomly selected and announced on Sunday. Good luck!!
* Both R.L. Linden and Integrity Botanicals will be attending A Night for Green Beauty on August 6th in Chicago. Hope to see you there!