Some of you reading this might already be making the switch to more natural products (bravo!) but even products labeled natural can be tricky. I recently read an article on clean beauty that put it best, by comparing it to food. (They had me at cheese.)
“This is the thing: We like to have the information we need to make our own choices. Sometimes those decisions revolve around fueling our bodies with super-clean, almost monastic meals; sometimes those decisions revolve around a grilled cheese and fries. But, really it’s about choice. It’s about controlling our destiny.”
But sadly, that choice is being kept from our squeaky clean hands. Quickly, what you need to know:
If you have been on the internet in the past four days, it's pretty safe to say you came across a post about nail salons. A recent New York Times expose on the nail salon industry has generated shock waves throughout the country, and even inspired the Governor of New York to declare emergency measures to protect nail salon workers. I mean, holy wow! As a long-time green beauty advocate and natural nail technician since 2009, I am beyond excited and happy to see these issues getting overdue media attention and in-turn, the regulatory agencies taking the steps needed to create reform. It is with a lot of courage from activists, legislators and advocates such as myself, that the beauty industry will finally receive a long overdue makeover.
To give you a little history, Noktivo began with one mission in mind: to offer beauty lovers in Chicago a cleaner, and healthier alternative to their routine pampering and cosmetic purchases. The United States has not passed a law regulating the ingredients in personal care products since 1938. Yes, you read that right. 1938. To top that, the European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 of the over 80,000 chemicals on the market today. The United States has only banned 11 to date. Currently the FDA is the agency in charge of regulating cosmetics, but due to restraints on resources, loose regulation and simply, lobbying power of larger corporations, the FDA has not been successful in making sure that even chemicals that are known carcinogens (like lead and formaldehyde) are still in commerce. And more than likely, you’ll find these ingredients in your lipstick and nail polish.
So what does this mean for the future of nail salons? Quite simply, it means reform. The phasing out of artificial nail services unless proper ventilation and safety wear is provided, banning ingredients from products that are known to be harmful and taking better care of the workers who take care of our hands and feet. Most of the changes you probably won't even notice. That wonderful scrub will still feel the same, but instead of being made of ingredients you can't pronounce, it will be made with things like sugar, salt, honey and oils like we use here. Nail polish manufacturers will soon be required to remove formaldehyde from their formulas which some already do.
We have been at this natural nail salon thing a long time, but if you can't make it into Noktivo, here are a few tips to go green during your next manicure:
While we understand the concerns these articles raise on the consumer side, the last thing us industry professionals want is for our beauties to feel scared to get pampered. Don't be. These articles highlighted salons that were doing things way wrong, and that is NOT the norm. Plenty of nail salons in your neighborhood are doing things right and will continue to do so. This is just the beginning and rise of something new, welcome to a new era of beauty.
Written by: Jenny Duranski, Owner/ Founder and Green Nail Technician of Noktivo Natural Nail Spa
"Well hello Summer! It took you long enough, but we are so happy to see you here in Chicago. With the new season comes a new skincare regiment and our amazing esthetician Natalia, has an important tip for all you beauties when searching for new products this Summer. See you soon!"
- Jenny, Owner
When choosing skincare products, you definitely want to look for something with as few chemicals as possible. Things like parabens and sulfates can be very detrimental to your health. Everything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body, and then has to be filtered out! Here are a few of the most common, and most toxic ingredients that can be found in skin and haircare products:
1.) Parabens (anything with propyl, ethyl, butyl, or methyl in the name) are used as preservatives, but cause hormone imbalances and have been found in breast cancer tumors.
2.) Sulfates are chemical foaming agents. They are what give soap and shampoo a rich lather. But they are also used in car washes and engine degreasers. They can cause skin irritation as well as other health problems, and they strip your skin of the natural, healthy oils. Use products with natural foaming agents such as saponified plant oils.
3.) Benzoyl Peroxide is used in acne treatment products and medication, but has been shown to possibly produce DNA damage and promote tumor growth, and is also a skin, eye, and respiratory irritant. Use a product with naturally derived salicylic acid from willow tree or wintergreen, or tea tree oil to combat breakouts.
4.) Sunscreen chemicals such as PABA, avobenzone, benzphenone, and ethoxycinnamate are free radical generators, disrupt hormones, and and can damage DNA and lead to cancer. Use products with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead.
5.) Mineral Oil is a very common ingredient in skincare, makeup, and haircare products. It is derived from petroleum, and can have cancer causing properties. It aggravates acne and negatively impacts normal skin functions. It seals off the skin and doesn't allow it to breathe, trapping dirt and bacteria in. It also disrupts hormone flow and can disrupt your immune system with long-term use.
These are just a few of the most common ingredients to avoid. Always be aware of what you are putting ON your body, as well as IN your body. Your skin is the largest organ, and works in synchronization with other systems. Keep it healthy!
- Natalia Mitchell
Organic Esthetician at Noktivo Non-Toxic Spa & Beauty Boutique
Did you know? The European Union has banned 1,300 chemicals from consumer products while the U.S.A has only banned 11. I'm sure your first question was the same as ours seven years ago, why? I wish we had the answer. The amount of choices from lotion to shampoo to face creams to nail polish, is truly overwhelming. And they come with a slew of ingredients that are impossible to pronounce. What researchers are learning, is that some of these chemicals are toxic to our bodies and our environment. So if they know that, why are they still allowed in our products? Well it's complicated. So much research goes into making a product and scientists, like many of us, like things in yes or no answers. Does it cause cancer? No. Does it damage the environment? Yes. But not all chemicals give immediate answers like that. Nor do we have the research budget to test every single one, that is also due to NO regulation, but that's another conversation. Right now it's an experiment, that is slowly starting to reveal it's side effects. And since we don't have data heavily leaning to one side to make the decision for us, these toxic ingredients are legally allowed to stay. For now.
Our combined industry experience, years of research and personal testimonies, have led us to the conclusion that it's better to just not use these chemicals in the first place. At Noktivo we prefer to air on the side of caution. For three main reasons:
We feel very confident that it is only a matter of time before the entire beauty industry gets a makeover. And we'll be ready to celebrate wearing our little black dress and lead-free lipstick!
the Noktivo team
The team from Noktivo shares tips, tricks and tidbits for greening your beauty routine. <3