Monday, August 4, 2008

Broken Nails: Dressing for Success and the Environment

I play a lot of soccer, and as anyone who does a lot of running knows, this can be rough on the toenails. The other day, I ripped a toenail almost in half. It wasn't quite off, but it was certainly just about ready to come off. And it's summer (open toed shoe weather), so I knew I needed to take measures. The solution: a visit to the friendly neighborhood nail salon for a single acrylic nail.

As I was sitting in the salon having my feet pampered and toenail repaired, I was thinking a bit about the environmental impact of the acrylic nail (and the rest of the pedicure too), and why I was having the nail fixed instead of removed.

We've blogged quite a bit about the requirements to meet a certain standard of dress/grooming in the office, and recent research by Career Builder indicates that it's more important than ever to look professional in the office. For women, this means not only clothing, but also personal grooming like hair and nail care.

Think about a typical pedicure:
  • Major chemical use - nail polish remover (frequently acetone), undercoat, nail polish, top coat, aerosol finishing spray. None of this stuff smells too good and usually isn't too good for the environment either. And let's not forget all the lotions and scrubs you can add on.
  • Major water use - lots of soaking in the foot tubs, then rinsing of the tubs. And, given the opportunities for fungus, etc - let's hope it's all fresh clean water.
  • Major electrical use - those massaging chairs probably take more energy than your typical armchair.
  • Animal rights - have you ever heard of the fish pedicure?!

The good news is that there ARE more environmentally-friendly options. Acetone-free removers do exist. Ventilation in salons is getting better. And eco-friendly nail salons do exist. Pretty cool for a culture that has fairly stringent expectations for personal grooming. (Of course, the most environmentally friendly option is to go au naturale)

Relevant previous posts from


Green-A said...

don't forget that acrylic nails are EXTREMELY unhealthy for the nail salon employees who have to work around all those chemicals all day, every day. I want my feet to look pretty too, but not at someone's else's expense. Thanks for the Eco Salon advice!

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem and few week later i got very bad pain in my toe nail.I went and removed half of my nail .It's looks so bad and it's hurts.My nail is very green and infected.I just start using fungus medicine.I am not sure if it's going to help and going to see a doctor.I recomend you to remove youe nail .Wish you luck! Remember that health is more important then beauty.

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