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What Is an Organic Manicure?

By S. Reynolds
Updated May 21, 2024
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An organic manicure is a way of grooming one's fingernails without using any chemicals that might be toxic to humans or the environment. Some chemical substances in nail products may contain agents that can cause nail damage or even cancer and other illnesses. Since many nail care products contain chemicals, one should look for the words "organic manicure," "eco-friendly manicure," or "green manicure" when trying to find a natural manicure professional.

Common substances found inside nail polishes include formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene. These items are not good for the environment or for the human body. They can get inside the body through the nail skin or nail bed and cause damage over time. Some of these ingredients are banned in certain countries.

When researching nail care professionals, one should ask about the types of nail products used in the salon. Even the moisturizer should be made from organic products in order to qualify as an organic manicure. Green manicure salons can be found around the world, and they usually advertise their organic product lines up front. The cost of a non-toxic manicure is on par with traditional manicures.

An organic manicure usually begins by filing down the nails. If the professional uses a cuticle softener, it should be made from all-natural ingredients, such as hot water and buttermilk. Natural oils such as jojoba or coconut oil can also be used. If the customer does not want nail polish, an overall buffing of the nails can make them shiny and smooth.

Once the cuticles and nail beds are softened, the nail care professional pushes back the cuticles with a nail stick. Organic manicures do not advocate cutting the cuticles, as it can lead to infection.

Acrylic, gel, or plastic nails are not applied during an organic manicure. The reason is that the glue or chemicals from these fake nails can leach into the blood stream. Only one's natural nails are serviced during a green manicure.

The use of oil is very important with a natural manicure. Oil is rubbed into a client's cuticles, nail beds, and hands. One important note, however — mineral oil is not considered organic, so one should not find it in the list of ingredients.

Once the nails are polished and clean, the nail care technician moisturizes the hands, wrists, and arms of her client. Oils and honey often are used to soften the skin without adding harsh chemicals. Packaged moisturizers that contain no toxic substances usually can be found in organic salons.

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