Pampering yourself with a trip to the nail salon is a great way to de-stress — and de-stressing while pregnant is pretty much mandatory. With that being said, with everything we know about dangerous toxins and how what we put on our skin and bodies can affect our health, is the nail salon really a safe place for women who are pregnant or nursing?
Lots of women choose to avoid it altogether; but if you educate yourself, you don’t have to. Here’s how:
Prioritize good air circulation and sanitation
Dr. Sheila Loanzon, an OB/GYN in San Jose, admits there is limited data on the safety of cosmetics as it relates to pregnant women. “Theoretically, toxins from nail polish can be inhaled when applied or absorbed in the nail bed, so it is recommended to apply nail polish in a well-ventilated area during the manicure/pedicure,” she explained.
Also, whether you’re pregnant or not, it’s smart to read the reviews of a salon before you book an appointment. Sanitation and cleanliness should be your top priority — don’t be afraid to ask you nail professional if the tools he or she is using have been properly sanitized.
Choose a non-toxic salon
Can’t figure out which salon in your area is well-ventilated? There are salons popping up all over the country that cater to pregnant and environmentally-conscious women. Lena Rose Spa, a non-toxic nail salon in Chicago, focuses on vegan, farm-to-facial services and products that are 100 percent safe for your body. Similarly, Barefoot Beauty nail bar in Toronto has environmentally-friendly and waterless services; medical-grade, sterilized tools; and natural, organic products.
Looking for other local salons? Here are a few of our favorites.
- Ten Over Ten – Austin, New York City, and LA
- MiniLuxe – Boston, Dallas, LA, and Rhode Island
- Milk and Honey Spa – Dallas, Houston
Skip the no-chip
While there isn’t any hard evidence against no-chip polishes, the process to apply and remove them is riskier and if possible, should be avoided if you are pregnant or nursing. Exposure to UV rays, like from the lamps used to set no-chip polishes or from an indoor tanning bed, while pregnant or nursing puts you at an increased risk of developing permanent hyperpigmentation or even cancer. Also, since you have to soak your fingertips in acetone to remove the manicure, a no-chip increases the likelihood that dangerous toxins will be absorbed in your nail bed.
Invest in safer polishes
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as non-toxic nail polish — and no, you don’t have to sacrifice color or quality! Lauren Berkovitz, founder and CEO of Lauren B. Beauty, says her products are formulated with high-quality ingredients and components so that the application is even better than normal drugstore polish.
Look for products that are Seven-Free — which means they’re free of seven of the most toxic chemicals that are generally found in nail polish. Other non-toxic brands include Zoya, côte, LVX, and RGB. If you don’t think your regular nail salon will carry these brands, go ahead and bring your polish with you.
Removal is just as important as application
If you can’t make it back to the salon to have your nail treatment removed by professionals, create a safe space at home to get the job done. Crack a window and use an acetone-free nail polish remover (which has the added bonus of not drying out your nails).
When you’re done, wash your hands with soap and water before you reach for your little one. Also, as always, store nail-related products somewhere where you child can’t reach them.
And here are our favorite clean nail products