Organic Spa Blog

Better Organic Choice: Nailing it at New York City Fashion Week

Welcome to Better Organic Choice (BOC), a column focusing on makeup, skincare and beauty tips, tricks and product advice for the holistically hip. We cover the best in green glam, behind the scenes and in your face (not your traditional crunchy granola here). We are here to help you explore all the beauty treatments you adore! Do you often worry if your beauty products are dangerous to your health? Are you dizzy from analyzing ingredients? Guiding you is my pleasure.

Let me start by saying I am a nail girl. I love glitter, designs and all the fabulous things you can do with nail extensions. In my pre-Better Organic Choice life, on any given salon visit, I would emerge with my nails looking like those of Nicki Minaj or a character from Jersey Shore. Many years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter, I decided to visit my local toxic nail salon to get some acrylics put on my nails. My daughter started kicking so violently that I had to remove all the fake nails and rush out of the salon.

I don’t want to scare you, but here are some of the toxic ingredients found in traditional nail polish, and what they can do to your health.

– Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) adds flexibility and a moisturizing sheen, and helps dissolve other cosmetic ingredients. DBP is a reproductive and developmental toxin that has been linked to feminizing effects in baby boys.

– Formaldehyde is found in some nail products, such as nail hardeners. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen. It is also an irritant to the eyes, nose and throat, and can lead to skin irritation and an allergic rash called dermatitis.

– Toluene helps suspend the color and form a smooth finish across the nail. It also affects the central nervous system and can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Toluene is a possible reproductive and developmental toxin.

*Chemical descriptions were sourced from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website.

Now that we’ve identified the nasties, let’s fast-forward to Fashion Week February 2013, which actually showcases Winter/Fall 2013. Nail extensions were seen all over the runway; it’s the current trend everywhere. What’s also trending on the runways is designers using nail stylists who use exclusively nontoxic nail polishes. It would be great to know that it was the models themselves who requested the non-toxic takeover we see emerging. I caught up with two nail artists who worked Fashion Week this year.


Kim D’amato, founder of PRITI NYC

D’amato is known among beauty insiders as the pioneering leader in luxury, eco-friendly nail polish. The idea behind PRITI NYC came alive during her pregnancy. D’amato made a conscious effort to switch to organic foods and health products, yet couldn’t seem to find a way to beautify herself in the same natural manner. In 2005, D’amato launched PRITI NYC with one simple mission: to support organic farmers and decrease the amount of chemicals poisoning the Earth—and its inhabitants—one manicure at a time. Kim, circa 2013, creates new colors and works with designers to create nail looks for fashion shows all over the world. She explained to me that the new nail art is winter colors of deep maroons and reds. She did fake nails with french tips for twenty girls, and stuck down the nails with scotch tape and painted them individually. Priti NYC’s polishes are 5-Free and Vegan. We love the cool polish names in The PRITI NYC Princess Collection Line with names like ‘Mermaid’s Hair’ and ‘Snow White’s Lips.’ The colors are fabulous and also glow in the dark. The PRITI NYC Princess polish collection was named by the company’s honorary creative director, Siena, who also happens to be D’Amato’s 9-year-old daughter.


Patricia Yankee, Leading Professional Nail Technician

Patricia Yankee has participated in Fashion Week for twelve years. Her clients include Rachel Ray, P. Diddy, and Arianna Huffington. Her lacquer named ‘Patricia,’ premiered at NYC Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this year. All the lacquers are Toluene, Formaldehyde, and DBP-Free and made in the USA. The names of the shades of lacquer in her line are spiritually inspired by the Bible and the characteristics of God, with names like Faith, Grace, Harmony, Love and Divinity. Patricia explains that we see a lot of nail extensions on the runways this year, and that there is such a thing as nontoxic acrylic nails. Many of the extensions done on the runway are temporary ‘press-on’ types that can easily be removed after the runway show. Patricia also carries two types of pre-glued full-cover nails in her line called ‘Inspire.’ Patricia’s line can be purchased at

So now it’s Springtime, and the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming. It’s the perfect season for a new look and a spring detox. Join me in two weeks as I undergo a completely nontoxic makeover, and yes–it will include nails! You can also follow me on Twitter @karimorange for my daily detox accolades.

Until then, love and lipstick!

Karim Orange is a nationally known natural cosmetics expert, celebrity personal care products artist and two-time Emmy Award nominee whose work graces the faces of countless stars in television, music, movies and the theater. If you have specific questions about nontoxic beauty products and routines that you would like to see answered in this column, please email me at If you would like me to green your beauty routine please visit

What’s your favorite nontoxic nail lacquer? Tweet us @OrganicSpaMag #nailingit

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