To make an effort at being green and keeping costs down, I cut down on disposables when possible and use products that can be santitized, such as nail files, foot file handles, spoons for lotions/salts, etc. I also offer a discount to clients who supply their own flip flops.
Diane Diaz, Canvas Nail Studio, Chicago

I would say it’s hard to be green in a nail salon, as we use a lot of chemicals. But we can do our best and try. I use real towels and change them after each client. I shake them out and wash them every week. I sculpt everything so I have a ton of the backings from the forms left over; I re-purpose them as paint palettes. The 700-gm jars are neat looking; I use them to store things like files and art picks. I use the little ones for gems, mixing acrylic powders — pretty much anything small. I love little boxes to help organize my drawers so my paints, bottles, and art supplies are not all over the place and are easy to grab. Keeping empty gel bottles is great for mixing different colors, and saving the wands is great for art use.
Kristi Spencer, Bentley Salon, Moline, Ill.

NailBar & Beauty Lounge has a green mentality, so we are constantly thinking about ways to go ‘’greener’’ in our services and day-to-day operations. On services for instance, we have been using 5-free regular nail polish for a while, but we were missing a great 5-free gel-polish option in the market. After testing several brands we have finally found one that performs at the expected level. We have been offering 5-free gel-polish for some time now and the clients are crazy about it! ‘’Greening’’ the day-to-day operations of the salon is also imperative for us. Receipts are sent via email to limit printing, and we make our business cards from recycled paper. We always have a large stock of clean towels to limit the washer and dryer constantly running during the day. All products we use to clean the salon are eco-friendly.
Angela Vieira, NailBar & Beauty Lounge, Miami

I did an audit of our water usage and realized we were using 10,000 gallons of water a year for pedicures. Given our stringent disinfection practices, there was no way that water could be recycled, as it was too toxic. I felt this was unconscionable, so we now use steamed towels, which provide a sensation of delicious warmth and relaxation while using considerably less water. After we wrap our clients’ feet in steamy towels, we then cover them with plastic bags to retain the heat. We use teacups instead of paper cups. We have all LED lighting to reduce our use of electricity. We have a high efficiency washer/dryer. We recycle our clients’ food containers and water bottles that they bring in from outside, as well as all of our old magazines. And we used low-VOC paint to decorate the spa.
Michelle Phoenix, Wet Paint Nail Spa, Cambridge, Mass.

Next question:
How do you handle your clients when you go on vacation? [Answers will be printed in the  July 2016 issue.] Share your opinion on the topic by e-mailing your response by April 15 to Please include your name, salon, city and state, and a high-resolution headshot with your response.

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