Santa Monica Implements Healthy Nail Salon Program
  • Kimberly Pham
  • September 30, 2013

Santa Monica Councilman Terry O'Day (left),
Mayor Pam O’Connor (center), and members of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative celebrate the launch of the Healthy Nail Salon Program in Santa Monica, Calif.

Last July, the City of Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment and the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative launched the Healthy Nail Salon Program, a program that promotes healthier and safer practices in nail salons in Santa Monica, Calif. The city’s Healthy Nail Salon Program is the first of its kind in Southern California, rewarding salons that offer safer choices for their staff, clients, and the environment.

The event took place at Cute Nails, one of the first salons to take part in the Healthy Nail Salon Program. “I knew chemicals in nail products were affecting my health. I would get headaches and have difficulty breathing a lot. I am excited to learn about less toxic products I can use for my shop and healthier salon practices,” says Cute Nails salon owner Loan An Nguyen. Nguyen has worked in the nail industry for 23 years. “This program makes me feel hopeful that I can continue my art knowing that myself, my workers and customers will be healthier and safer.”


The Cute Nails salon staff celebrated the launch of the Healthy Nail Salon Program in their salon with members of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.

Santa Monica councilman Terry O’Day is a supporter of the new program. “Santa Monica is excited to launch a Healthy Nail Salon Program — recognizing nail salons in our city that use healthier products and maintain healthy indoor air quality. Conscious consumers will be able to find the services they want and salon workers will breathe easier.”


Phuoc Dam, a supporter of the new program, shows one type of ventilation, a source-capture ventilation unit.

To be recognized as a “Healthy Nail Salon” as part of the program, salons must follow specific requirements that reduce exposure to chemicals and take into account overall health and safety measures. Some examples of the requirements include using nitrile gloves in all services, ensuring proper ventilation in the salon, and using polish that steer clear from toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and formaldehyde, ingredients that have been linked to cause cancer, birth defects, and miscarriages.

“Santa Monica’s Healthy Nail Salon recognition program will set in motion healthier workplace practices that benefit workers and consumers, but most importantly, will encourage manufacturers to produce safer nail care products,” said Lisa Fu, Outreach and Program Director of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.


Cute Nails' Tom Nguyen gave clients like Jan (left) manicures implementing the new Healthy Nail Salon requirements. Cute Nails uses source-capture ventilation built into the manicure tables.

The program provides free support and training for salons that are interested. Nail salons that join the program will receive official recognition and free promotion by the city. There are approximately 30 licensed nail salons and 120 nail technicians in Santa Monica and several nail salon owners have already expressed interest in
the program.

— Kim

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