The first nail-focused beauty blog


Celebrate Earth Day with Butter London

By on April 16, 2009
in butter LONDON, Eco-conscious with 18 Comments
butter London‘s Turn In Your Toxins campaign is back for Earth Day 2009 but in a whole new way.

The first 500 people to log onto the butter London website on Earth Day, April 22nd, will win a bottle of 3 Free butter London lacquer to replace the toxic polish in your arsenal. Unlike last year where you had to live near a bL location to participate, we’re all eligible.

[Edited to add: The giveaway begins at 8am PST/11am EST]

Though even if you miss out on winning a free bottle of polish, you can still join in on the Turn In Your Toxins fun by taking advantage of their special Earth Day promotion. Pick your own 5-pack for only $40 (a $30 savings).

The Nail Files – Jenna Hipp, Green Celebrity Manicurist

Welcome to The Nail Files, a new series here on All Lacquered Up. The Nail Files will feature interviews with nail industry professionals, sharing their favorite products, manicure tricks, views on nail trends, back story, etc. I really hope you all enjoy it.

To kick off the series, I’m continuing the eco-conscious theme I featured in honor of Earth Day with green celebrity manicurist Jenna Hipp. Jenna spends her days styling the tips and toes of celebs like Jessica Alba, Sophia Bush, Fergie and Paris Hilton all the while keeping a focus on using healthy, earth-friendly products. She’s young (only 26) and gorgeous (a former model), yet she’s already racked up an impressive list of clients and editorial work. So getting the chance to pick her brain about all things nails was truly a treat.

What made you focus on celebrity and editorial work and how did you break into the industry?
This career most definitely chose me. Prior to the nail industry, I owned a photo rep agency in Los Angeles called “Hipp Artist Management”. I was an agent for a select group of fashion, beauty and celebrity photographers. Before that, I was modeling and doing makeup. Celebrity Manicurist Lisa Postma is the sole reason for my career change. She’s the one who made my new life possible because she believed in me and connected me with the right people.

It seems that a lot of celebrities are playing it safe with their nails. Who really dares to be different and fashion forward with their color choices?
Fergie is awesome! I love how she’s not afraid to make a statement and go all-out with her nail choices. My favorite is her domino design. Sophia Bush is also quite brave with her color choices. She loves the color Alive by SpaRitual. Kate Nauta from Transporter 2 is always using the brightest neons! I just used Orly’s Green with Envy on her. It’s Wild! And, of course, we can’t forget Rihanna. She rockin’ a different color every week. These girls definitely know how to use their nail color as an accessory, which I think is super fun!

Fergie has been the focus of an All Lacquered Up Celebrity Nail Watch due to her outrageously bold color and nail art choices. Where does the inspiration for her different looks come from?
Fergie likes what she likes. She’s not afraid to try something new and she’s definitely not afraid to make bold statements with her nails! Most magazines want a really natural nail, like the shoot I did for her for the cover of Glamour Magazine. She’s totally cool with that, too.

Do you see any celebrity nail trends emerging for summer? And who is wearing them?
The hottest colors this summer are bright and bold but still feminine and sophisticated. Reds and darker oranges, even the flirty pinks and lavenders are mixed with beige, grey, or orange undertones to give the nails a uniquely personal, chic finish that looks new and fresh on toes and fingers. Popping, happier, energetic reds mixed with oranges, tangerines. Avoid matching the hands with the toes. You don’t want to be too matchy-matchy!

My favorite nail color for summer is a bold, yet elegant, tangerine from SpaRitual called Plugged In. The color is flattering on just about anyone!

As far as neutral colors; matte baby pinks with a hint of melon or lilac mixed with a creamier white base. Not the usual shimmery pinks of the past several years. My favorite softer pinks are Orly’s First Kiss and Cupcake. For brighter, Butterflies is great summer pink! Dolly Parton has been wearing the best pink ever like SpaRitual’s Strike A Pose. I love it…and her! Seriously, if I could meet anyone in the world, it would be her!

I’m also seeing traditional summer fabrics used as nail texture. Heatherette and Tracey Ullman are rocking nails painted like the American Flag and we may also being seeing plaid and snake skin patterns too!

OK let’s talk green and healthy nail care. How does being a “green” manicurist affect your ability to work with artificial nails?
I do not do acrylic or gel artificial nails at all. When I work with a celebrity who has artificial nails I usually just do an organic deep conditioning treatment as well as hand exfoliation. And, of course, a polish change!

What are your favorite green nail products? Polish, treatments, tools, etc.
These are my favs that just came out:
SpaRitual Awakened Collection, Orly Love Collection and SpaRitual Open-Minded Organic Sugar Scrub (70% certified organic ingredients ).

These are my classic favorites:
Nail Polish

  • Orly – 3 Free and no parabens, FD&C coloring or animal testing. They have a ton of fantastic, fun colors and the Manicure Miniatures are perfect for me as I have to bring so many polishes to photo shoots.
  • SpaRitual – They use Vegan ingredients from around the world, including many specially sourced and selected plant essences that are wildcrafted or organic. The formulations are naturally colored and free of synthetic dyes.
  • Priti Polish – An incredible boutique spa in Soho, Priti is 100 percent organic. All their nail varnishes are completely formaldehyde, toluene and DBP free.

Top coat - Nubar Diamond Shine & Seal and Zoya Armor
Bottom coat - SpaRitual Resurface Smoothing Primer Basecoat and SpaRitual Multi-Tasker Base & Top Coat In One
Cuticle oil – Nubar Cucumber Cuticle Oil and Carolyn New York Lavender Cuticle Oil
Nail polish remover – Nubar Cucumber Polish Remover (acetone free and smells nice) and Priti Soy Polish Remover (no petroleum by-products, non-toxic and biodegradable)
Hand cream – SpaRitual Instinctual Moisturizing Lotion (MY FAVORITE!!!!) and Burt’s Bees Healthy Healing Carrot Nutritive Body Lotion
Others – Farm Fresh Fine Foot Scrubs, Dermalogica Stree Relief Treatment Oil and Dermalogica Hydro-Active Mineral Salts

I’ve noticed brands that say they are “formaldehyde free” still contain the resin. What is the difference?
3 Free formula SHOULD be completely free of any traces of DBP, Formaldehyde and Toluene. However many lacquers say they are 3 Free but contain formaldehyde and toluene resin. Sometimes the toxic heavy metal lead acetate is included. A number of the common synthetic coloring agents have also been linked to cancer in some studies, especially the coal-tar dyes found in FD&C Blue 1 and FD&C Green 3.

What about the packaging? Does 3 Free and environmentally friendly packaging go hand in hand?
Green packaging is important as well! Green formula with environmentally hazardous bottles and packaging/manufacturing practices is so not cool! SpaRitual makes it their brand philosophy from start to finish to be eco-conscious and green. They recycle all by-products, run on the least amount of energy possible, avoid harmful chemicals and toxins during the manufacturing process and use recycled glass and FSC certified paper for all sales and marketing collateral, shipping and packaging.

Just a few things to know about how GREEN SpaRitual is…they are in eco-friendly bottles with soy based ink, recycled glass and shipped/produced to create the least stress on the environment. They’re also the first nail care company to get the “stamp of approval” from AVEDA, which means they can now be placed in all their concept stores.

Do you feel that the chemical free or more natural products are just as effective and long lasting as the conventional lines?
It’s known in the nail world that a lot of really natural lacquer collections usually lack color options and don’t have the best staying power. This is true for a lot of brands, but not for the ones I use which include SpaRitual, Orly, and Priti. They each have over 80 shades in their collections and a staying power that matches the toughest of lacquers out there!

What steps can we as consumers take to make sure our nail services are more earth conscious both at the salon and at home?
Education is the first step. Read labels to avoid toxic ingredients. Next step, find a green brand of polishes you love and take them to the salon. Make sure you bring your base coat and top coat as well. Jessica Alba keeps green products I gave her in the glove box of her car. That way she always has them with her. She’s very aware of the harm nail chemicals can cause, especially while being pregnant. She’s going to be the best mom!

What are your 5 “must have” eco-friendly nail polish shades for summer?
I LOVE Orly Bon-Bon this summer! It’s a creamy lilac that I used on Amanda Bynes for the cover of Seventeen and the cover of Harpers Bazaar International.
Spa Ritual Alive. This is Sophia Bush’s favorite color.
Orly Passion Fruit is so fun! A very bright pink, perfect for the girls who are bringing back the 80′s!
Priti Cornflower. It’s that perfect Navy everyone’s raving about!
Zoya Elodie. Such an incredible blend of pink and orange tones. You will get compliments everywhere you go!

And just for fun…
If you weren’t a manicurist you would be…

A photo agent once again. I loved everything about it…. I just make more money doing nails!

What was the last nail polish shade you wore on your tips? on your toes?
The last time I had my nails painted was for my wedding. Funny enough, I chose “One Night Stand” from Orly’s Divorcee collection. Ha! Isn’t that ironic?

Share with us a great nail moment from your career.
Oh, goodness. I’m so thankful for all my experiences. Working with Jessica Alba has got to be my favorite though! She’s just been so amazing over the past year. I can’t even begin to tell the world how much I love and appreciate her. She often has me over to her house for mani/pedi’s along with her hairstylist, Robert Ramos, his assistant Christopher, and her makeup artist, Lauren Anderson. We have such a great time getting Jessica ready for whatever event she has that day. It was really weird though when paparazzi started taking pictures of me leaving her house! I just ran to my car as fast as I could because I wasn’t expecting that at all!

I want to thank Jenna Hipp for taking the time to share her passion and stories with all of us. It was a pleasure. You can check out Jenna’s work on her website, And for more info on the nail brands Jenna discussed click on the links in the “Nail Polish Links” section.

Go Green – "Healthier" Polish

By on April 22, 2008
in Big 3 Free, Eco-conscious with 61 Comments

Big 3 Free. Non-toxic. Chemical-free. Water-based. Pregnancy Safe. Healthy. Eco-conscious. These are all buzz words that the polish industry throws at us to make their product look healthier, more eco-friendly, safer, etc. but, what does it all mean and who makes what?

UPDATE: View my 2009 Update – Check Your Ingredients.

If you haven’t read my post about Big 3 Free nail polish, I suggest you start there to familiarize yourself with the ingredients the term refers to. I use “healthier” in quotes to describe these lacquers since the jury is still out as to whether traditional formulas are really a health risk.

OK so you want a polish with less chemicals for health or environmental reasons. Which one is right for you? It all depends on the ingredients you want to avoid. Here I’ve broken down the brands according to what is excluded. I tried to cover the majority of the big and cult brands but if I missed one and you have ingredient info to share, please post it in the comments.

Of course, if you have allergies I suggest you still read the labels before buying. And remember, older formulas are still out there for brands that have made the switch to Big 3 Free.

Formaldehyde and DBP Free – Carolyn New York, CND (Creative Nail Design), Misa and NYX

Big 3 Free – butter London, Calvin Klein, China Glaze (black label), Color Club, Hard Candy, Maybelline, Nicole, OPI (green label) and Sally Hansen

Big 3 Free, No Formaldehyde Resin – MAC, N.Y.C. Colors, Nailtini (except Vodka), NARS, Nocti, Orly, PeaceKeeper, Rescue Beauty Lounge, SpaRitual, Wet n’ Wild and Zoya

Big 3 Free, No Formaldehyde Resin, No Camphor – Chanel, Dashing Diva, Estee Lauder, Lippmann, L’oreal, No-Miss, Nubar, Revlon, Sante and Sinful Colors

Water based, Big 3 Free, No Formaldehyde Resin, No Camphor, No Ethyl Acetate – Acquarella, Honeybee Gardens and Suncoat

So, how do these brands compare to their more chemical laden competition? Have you made the switch to less toxic polish? What has been the big difference in doing so?

While you’re at it, head on over to Total Beauty and give them a review. You could win a Saturn Vue Hybrid filled with eco-beauty products OR one of the many Daily Instant Win prizes.

Go Green – Turn In Your Toxins

Turn In Your Toxins!! Turn In Your Toxins!! Just saying it makes me feel like a 19th century Newsie. You know, the kind that got to dance and frolic with the hotness that is Christian Bale circa 1992. I gotta give it up to the brains behind butter London for coming up with an eye catching line.

In conjunction with Earth Day and in an effort to detoxify your nail routine the Seattle based nail lacquer brand is asking you to ditch your toluene, formaldehyde and DBP laden polishes. Just relinquish 3 bottles of your old, toxic, nail polish and receive a coupon for a FREE bottle of their 3 Free formula lacquer.

But where do you go to score such a deal? butter London has teamed up with BrandHabit to help you locate a nearby retailer. BrandHabit is an online boutique locator that finds where your favorite designers are carried; from major labels to indie brands, including butter London. Unfortunately, butter London hasn’t made it to every small town in the land but it looks like some of major metros are included. Head on over to BrandHabit to find out!

Natural Nail Polish Removers

By on April 19, 2008
in Eco-conscious with 11 Comments

One way to easily green up your nail care routine is to replace your nail polish remover with a natural version. Choosing a natural remover not only helps the environment but your health. They rely on water and plant based ingredients rather than chemicals that can affect the soil and water supply.

Now I know that there is a lot of concern about acetone and the possible health risks. That exposure to acetone can cause cancer. However I’ve also read that it’s more of a concern if you are constantly surrounded by it (i.e. nail techs). On that issue I suggest you do your own research but here are a couple references I found:
Cosmetic Database, National Library of Medicine

I reviewed the No-Miss remover the other day but here are some more options.

Tate’s The Natural Miracle Odorless Nail Polish Remover is a local Cleveland area brand. Located in charming downtown Willoughby, Tate’s remover is made from 100% minerals and is dye, color, fragrance and cruelty free. They claim it takes off polish 50 times faster than traditional removers but I’d like to see the tests on that. Additionally this product is a multi-tasker. It can be used as a nail conditioner, nail strengthener, callous remover, wart eliminator, and cuticle remover. ($14.58)

Suncoat Natural Nail Polish Remover is naturally derived from farm crops and does not contain any petroleum ingredients. It is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and biodegradable. ($5.99, $9.99)

Honeybee Gardens Odorless Nail Polish Remover includes horsetail extract to strengthen nails and Vitamin E & Aloe to protect and moisturize cuticles. ($6.99)

Ingredients: methanol, methyldiglycol, trimethyl hydroxypentyl isobutyrate, equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, denatonium benzoate (bittering agent).

Green Manicure Tip: Due to the oils and other ingredients used in these natural removers I suggest swiping your nail with vinegar before polishing to remove any residue that could cause the lacquer to lift or peel.

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