Green Living Goal #1: Sustainable Nail Care

In December 2017  I spent a 1 hour lunch break at the nail salon.  I couldn’t help but think about all the environmental consequences of my manicure.  As I thought about this more and more I wondered why I was even there in the first place and became anxious to leave.  I was overcome with a strong urge not to return when I walked out the door that day and I am pretty sure I made a permanent life change. 

I am not the type of person who ‘needs’ to have their nails looking perfect.  I work at a former landfill and I babysit/pet sit on the side.  I am the only female working at my facility and I do not think that the heavy equipment operators notice whether or not I have manicured nails.  I’m also fairly certain that the infants and puppies I care for don’t notice the condition of my nails.  Having my nails professionally manicured does not affect my job performance or role in any way, therefore, I have concluded that they are completely unnecessary to my life.  

I considered perhaps setting a limit and getting 5 manicures this year and then I considered just 1 manicure before I go on a Carribean cruise in April.  However, I quickly decided that those options don’t enhance my life in any way.  I am not the type of person who enjoys being excessively pampered or making small talk with strangers so going to the nail salon as a form of socialization is also unnecessary to me.  The more I examined my own reasons for getting my nails professionally manicured the more I realized that this is a habit I created without basis and one that I could easily do without, especially when I consider the benefits of eliminating this behavior.

Eliminating the 2 gel manicures ($25 each) and 1 pedicure ($25 each)  plus the gratuity on each service will save me $1080/year.  That’s probably the easiest way I have ever saved more than $1000 in a year!

Eliminating these manicures & pedicures will also afford me 36 more hours to invest in things that matter to me which is much more valuable than money itself.

Saving money & time is a fantastic motivation to ditch the professional nail treatments, but beyond that protecting my health and the health of the planet keeps me committed to this goal.

The end result of having pretty nails isn’t worth the ugly truth – at least it isn’t to me.  Products used in nail salons severely affect the workers health since they are continuously exposed to high levels of multiple toxic chemicals.  Consumers visiting the nail salon are also exposed to these chemicals that cause a variety of health issues especially since the chemicals in the polish can continue to leach into your body until it is completely removed (even then, the removal process is usually toxic as well). 

The environmental impact of getting manicure or pedicure is extremely negative.  The manufacturing process of nail polishes, bottles, and tools use energy and water resources.  The manufacturing process and end disposal of these products creates air and water pollution.  After manufacturing the consumption of these goods uses up our resources and causes even more pollution. 

There are alternatives to all natural nails and I plan to use eco-friendly nail polish if I find the need to have painted nails, otherwise I will be going all natural once the toxic gel currently on my nails grows out or chips off.

After really examining my habits surrounding nail care I decided that personally the health & environmental risks outweigh the benefits of having my nails tended to professionally. 

I encourage you to examine your nail care habits and figure out why you engage in this behavior and what purpose it serves for your life.  If you aren’t willing to or feel like you “can’t" give up manicures & pedicures completely consider reducing the amount of times you get your nails done. Each time you don’t go to the nail salon you’ll be saving money, time, natural resources, your health, and the health of nail salon workers. 



Reference(s): https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy11/sh-22240-11/Salons-Environmental.pdf

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