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The Natural Manicure

The Natural Manicure

Nails can be beautiful without polish. I once had my nails “done” in a natural way at a salon for a television show where my hands would be very visible. I’ve outlined, below, how it was done.

The fumes from the solvents in nail polish can be overwhelming, and they are not good for you. There are few environmentally safe nail polishes or nail polish removers on the market. Some still contain toluene (toxic) and formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a hormone disrupter.

There are some toluene and formaldehyde-free varieties, but there are none without petroleum solvents of some sort. Petroleum solvents are long lasting in the environment, and they are stored in body fat and passed on in breast milk. For more about DBP, and for a list of DBP-free nail polishes, read the Environmental Working Group’s report.

File, wash and soak nails, soften cuticles, clean and shape cuticles
File in one direction only, and always do this when your nails are dry. Wash your hands and soak in warm water or a fruit acid solution such as buttermilk or organic apple cider vinegar, before applying a cold-pressed fruit or nut oil into the cuticle area near the half-moon at the base of the nail. Use the blunt end of an orangewood manicure stick to gently push the cuticles back from the nails.

Sand and buff nails

Dry your hands completely. Sand and polish the top of each nail with a fine pumice-stone sand stick to remove any ridges. Do the same thing with a fine-grit block. Once the ridges are removed, smooth the top of the nail with a smoothing file and a buffing chamois. You’d be amazed at how shiny your nails will look following these steps, almost as if you were wearing a clear polish. You can choose a more natural, less-shiny matte finish if preferred, by not using the finest grade buffing files.


Massage your hands with a moisturizing cream or lotion.

Read more: Beauty, Bath & Shower

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

Go to the Source

Better Basics for the Home

Natural living has reached the mainstream: we are now far more concerned about the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the chemicals that surround us, and recognize that government regulations all too often fall short of safeguarding our health. Enter Annie Berthold-Bond, whose Better Basics for the Home is a compendium of practical information -- recipes, tips, and guidelines -- for creating a simpler, cheaper and environmentally safer now


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10:57AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

good tips

1:27PM PST on Jan 9, 2012


12:54PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

I love the Deep Cover Nail System line. They have non toxic polishes, healthy creams and oil for your nails, hands and legs. You can get it on shopnbc.

12:02PM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

Very beautiful hands and nails in the
picture shown above.

7:53PM PST on Feb 22, 2011

sounds like fun!

2:45AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Thanks for the info.

7:40AM PST on Dec 17, 2008

fresh lemons can also be used to lightly bleach nails, as well as soften the skin on elbows afterwards (first make lemonade, then squeeze fingertips into pulp before rubbing on elbows)

7:16PM PDT on Aug 16, 2008

It sounds super but as Dagaz said you need to know what you are doing! I accidentally filed a nail a bit too much and it still shows a slight bit of damage if you are looking closely.

7:40AM PDT on Aug 14, 2008

You have to be VERY careful with sanding your nails this way. The nail can be worn away, exposing the sensitive nailbed beneath, and possibly leading to injury or infection. Talk to a nail tech or a cosmetologist, or even a doctor, before doing this!

9:06PM PDT on Aug 6, 2008

You can check out the almost natural line of nail products by no miss.
the remover is based on fruit acids and something derived from lichen....not as long wearing as revlon, but cruelty free and a much more healthful alternative!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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