Ever considered that your salon-fresh mani could be leaking poisonous toxins into your body? No, nor had we.
Traditionally nail polishes have contained all sorts of nasties, including Formaldehyde (recognised by the National Cancer Institute as a potential cancer-causing substance), Toluene (which is harmful to the nervous system), and Dibutyl Phthalate (an endocrine disrupter) – known as the big three.
The news is made all the more scary when you discover that chemicals in polish can be absorbed by the body in just 14 hours, meaning your talons really could be toxic.
Many polishes also contain Guanine (a pearlescence derived from fish scales), carmine (crushed beetles that create a red hue) and Oleic Acid (a thickening agent derived from animal oils and tallow), making them not suitable for vegans to use.
Pleasingly, the increasing awareness and interest in natural, vegan and non-toxic beauty products means a whole host of salons now offer manis and pedis that use non-toxic nail polishes, free from animal products and nasties. They’re all free from the toxic trio of chemicals, and are therefore branded “3-free,” and some brands go further to remove even more chemicals and parabens, meaning you’ll find “5-free,” “10-free” and even “12-free” on some salon treatment menus.
Here are 5 of the loveliest London salons offering vegan and non-toxic nail treatments…
Still London is an entirely non-toxic cruelty free and vegan nail studio and beauty salon, located on Dalston’s Kingsland road. Their non-toxic manicures are not only free from the main nasties (Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate and Toluene) but Kure Bazaar, the polish brand they use, also eliminates a further 12 potentially harmful chemicals. The Kure Bazaar formula is up to 85 per cent natural based on wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes and corn.
For our in-depth review of the salon, click here.
£18 for a normal file and polish manicure, £34 for gels; still-london.com
London Grace has nail salons in 10 light and airy locations around London. All its regular polishes are vegan and made with no nasties (such as Formaldehyde, Camphor, Toluene and DBP) and for gels they use CND Shellac, which is also cruelty-free. All the salons have fully stocked bars, should you prefer your mani with a side of wine.
£18 for shape and polish, £32 for gels; londongrace.co.uk
Brixton’s AMA salon, founded by session manicurist Ama Quashie, exclusively use vegan polishes. The regular treatments use a ‘5-free’ brand called Artistic Colour Gloss, while treatments from the salon’s special ‘free-from’ menu use two polishes that are ‘10-free,’ Kure and NCLA. Nails in need of some TLC? Even their treatment products, by Pink’s Boutique, are also paraffin-free and vegan.
Normal polish manicure: £25, gel manicure: £35; amathesalon.com
Nails Inc. Salons
In addition to a fabulous range of nail polishes, Nails Inc has nail bars in Selfridges, Harvey Nics and Fenwicks where it offer a range of vegan mani treatments. All the polishes – bar the Fashion Fix range (which is only 5 shades) – are 100 per cent vegan. When it comes to gels, they add normal polish to a special clear base layer so they’re vegan too.
Normal Polish Manicure: £29.00, Bespoke Gel Manicure in any Nails Inc Colour: £55.00, Speedy Gel Manicure: £35.00. Book a treatment here
Battersea’s one-stop beauty shop opened at the end of last year offer manis and pedis using free-from gels and polishes. The brands used are Fedua and Sundays, both of which are non-toxic and vegan. Fedua is 7-free, non-toxic, green, ethical and vegan, while Sundays is 10-free, non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free. Choose from a gel manicure for extra glossy nails, stand out with nail art or go for the classic naked mani for healthy hands and nails.
For more on the salon, read our full review here
Normal free-from mani £50, free-from gels, £60; linnaean.co.uk