Valley Nails: A Non-Toxic Nail Experience in NYC

When Valley Nails was first featured in an article in the New York Times (which chronicled a few salons across Manhattan that had ethical working practices, and even some that were committed to providing a safe experience for customers via use of five- and three-free nail polishes) our interests were piqued. We here at SZL are long-time advocates of safe, toxin-free nail care, but sometimes it's just too tempting: every now and then, a girl just has to indulge a little and go have her nails done. Enter Valley Nails. The salon has locations in Chelsea & Nolita, and when I set up an appointment last week, not only was their online system easy to use, but the associate who called to confirm my session was so friendly! When I arrived at the salon (I opted for chic Chelsea), I was immediately struck by the obvious cleanliness. It's one thing to paint your walls a stark white and have well-lit working stations; it's quite another to have polished equipment, gleaming floors, and not a single puff of dust in sight! 

The second thing I noticed was one of the main reasons I had come in the first place: Valley Nails has pioneered the field of clean working environments for their employees by designing, and implementing, their own air filtration system. Upon entering, you're not hit with a wall of nail polish/acetone/acrylic smell. In fact, the air is pleasantly neutral, and perhaps the only scent that lingers is that of Sea Breeze (a spray that they use for manicures and pedicures alike, and which I have become obsessed with!). After choosing my polish from the solid assortment of colors (all of which are 5-free), I was seated in a chair and offered some cucumber-lemon water before my pedicure began. The experience was different (no soaking of the feet, just generous spritzing of Sea Breeze) but so relaxing that I actually caught myself dozing off! I'd also like to mention that the scrub (which I was told contains papaya) smelled so incredible that I was crushed to learn that they don't sell it (but maybe they'll start after this featurette?! Here's hoping!).

My manicure was just as soothing as my pedicure, and I ended up having a great conversation with Kathy (the extremely sweet and knowledgeable woman tending to my nails). We discussed various home remedies, and she even gave me a few new ideas to try! Christian, who was working the desk that evening, was always attentive and kindly offered to get me the name, address, and store hours for the beauty supply where I could purchase the top coat that they use in-house (because, let's be honest, it should be fairly obvious that I'm a beauty junkie!). To say that my experience was incredible is the very least. I plan to make another appointment to try out their specialty, gel nail art, this week. Kathy informed me that their gel nails are cured with LED lights, rather than the more-common UV, so here's to healthier fashionable nails this fall! 

- Maria Vasylivna