We've been anti-manicure for a long time at MindfulEats, as evidenced in this post from 2009. Manis and pedis have become common place in the last 15 years, and there is nothing natural about them. We didn't like them for the below obvious common sense reasons, and now we are delighted to be backed up by in-depth reporting from the New York Times.
- Nail polishes and solvents often have chemicals like formaldehyde (used to preserve dead things) in them. Just smell the stuff -- if that doesn't tip you off to its contents then I have a bridge I'd like to see you in Brooklyn. Coating yourself in this stuff isn't good for you. If you are a regular mani-pedi girl, have you ever wondered why your natural nails are brittle, discolored, or just not normal? Sure, companies will tell you that you don't use enough polish or remover to provide a serious health risk, but since you are here at MindulEats, you probably aren't too keen on voluntarily adding additional chemicals to yourself beyond the many that we cam't control (e.g. pollution, furniture, paint)
- Nail technicians have serious health problems from working with nail products - at the least rashes and breathing problems, and they are not being fully informed of the risks of the job
- Nail art doesn't look good. They are going to look as dated as tramp stamps (the tatoos women used to get in the small of their backs) in 10 years.
The NYT has gone far deeper than our common-sense observations with excellent investigative reporting that took 13 months. Just a few of their points:
- Nail technicians in the vast majority of cheapie nail salons are paid far less than minimum wage and often subject to abuse
- Nail technicians suffer serious health problems: respiratory illness, miscarriages, birth defects
What to do - Pay Up for Manicures
- Don't get mani/pedis at all. Just keep your nails clean and short. Long painted nails will look weird and dated in 10 years anyway. And think about all the money you will save!
- Give yourself manicures. If you can't resist, buy polish that is as nontoxic as possible and DIY.
- Pay up for mani/pedis and go less often. Don't go to the cheapie neighborhood salon. Go to a reputable place with a selection of chemical free nail polish (just kidding, it doesn't exist, find polish without as many chemicals) and ask your nail technician what they are being paid.
This series by the New York Times is very impressive investigative reporting that took 13 months. It will change the industry, if not our culture:
- The Price of Nice Nails, 5/7/15
- Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers, 5/8/15
- Readers' Questions and Answers
Please let us know if you are going to change your mani habits in the comments!
What I ate: 4 oz scrambled eggs, 2/3 cup yogurt+blueberries+strawberries+pineapple, 10 oz coffee, 10 oz green tea, Pret a Manger nori roll wrap and 1 Harvest Cookie, 1 chocolate chip cookie, brown rice + broccoli + mushrooms, cheddar puffed rice, Trader Joe's mini rice crackers, 1 cup pineapple, 4 pieces dark chocolate, 12 oz pomegranate juice, 50 oz water