Green Nails

California nail salons stole headlines recently thanks to a state report that found a shocking amount of toxic chemicals in nail products that claim to be free of those same toxins. The report, done by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, looked at nail products commonly used in salons that claim to be free of the “toxic trio” of nail polish chemicals (toluene, dibutyl phthalate and formaldehyde—yuck!), and found that five out of seven products that claimed to be toxic trio-less actually contained one or more of the agents in significant levels.

Most of the products they studied are only available in salons, where they are fairly ubiquitous—meaning the toxins, which the state says are linked to birth defects and cancer, are omnipresent in the lives of nail salon workers and women who frequent these businesses.

In light of this news, I think the time is ripe to revisit the realm of green nail care. There are truly eco-friendly and hazardless polishes and polish removers out there if you know where to look. My favorite polishes are from PeaceKeeper Causemetics (, which I mention in this prior review: Keeping the Peace, and I love the Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover Wipes from La Fresh (reviewed here: So Fresh and So Clean). However, the toxin-free, safe polishes from SpaRitual ( and Priti NYC ( are also worth checking out.

But for those of us who still want pros to do our manis and pedis from time to time, but don’t want to be exposed to the poisonous stuff, there is L’Ateiler Day Spa in downtown Santa Cruz and Chaminade Spa where patrons can indulge in natural nail care services. Find out more at or