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Keeping your nails trimmed and polished shouldn't come at the expense of your health, or the well-being of the environment. Check out our our five favorite salons specializing in eco-friendly, non-toxic and even waterless treatment. (Image: Courtesy Varnish Lane)

Eco-friendly, non-toxic salons to keep your nails on point

Sure, we love it when our nails look on fleek, but anyone with a penchant for polish knows that an inexpertly applied, or removed, manicure can wreak havoc on nails.

That's why we've rounded up five of our favorite salons specializing in eco-friendly, non-toxic and even waterless treatments, so you don't have to worry about infection, damage from UV light, or harmful chemicals.

All of these salons mentioned feature "5-free" polishes, meaning that their polishes are free of three potentially cancer-causing ingredients (formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene), as well as allergens camphor and formaldehyde resin.

The Emerald Door

From the moment you walk into this intimate Silver Spring spa, you're inclined towards zen - the scent of essential oils and freshly brewed ginger tea wafts through the air and soft, hip music plays in the background. The spa, opened in 2010, uses organic ingredients in every treatment, as well as polishes like local line Mischo Beauty -- an 8-free, vegan, cruelty-free line.

Mention this article to receive 15% off your treatment.


Owners and friends Claudia Diamante and Andrea Vieira bonded the way many women do - over a mani, pedi. Enter their brainchild, Logan Circle's nailsaloon, where all the polishes are 5-free or better (think Zoya, RGB and Priti), the ventilation is the best of its kind and the services are thorough and friendly. Expect perks like scrubs mixed in-house, lotions and oils sourced from organic apothecaries, and complimentary beverages from cappuccinos to cocktails. They don't offer gel or shellac due to concerns about the harsh removal process, but special drops help manicures dry in a flash.


Opening later this month in Ballston, Coatroom promises to be Arlington's first luxury-focused nail salon, featuring more than 700 polish colors, all of which are at least free of the "big three" and several 7-free/8-free options. Shea butter bombs, aromatherapy, natural sugar scrubs and a mobile app for easy booking make the experience ultra relaxing from start to finish. Extras include a mani selfie backdrop for all those Instagram addicts and a weekly "Toes Before Bros" celebration on Sundays with complimentary Kombucha tea.

Varnish Lane

Friendship Heights' Varnish Lane is as beautiful as it is eco-friendly. The family-run business combines the Dunne family's passion for design with their penchant for perfection, offering treatments with 100 percent locally made and chemical-free products formulated just for the salon. The unique waterless treatments are not only safe, but environmentally friendly, saving up to 15 gallons of water per service.


Longtime D.C. favorite Nusta has led the city's eco-friendly movement since it opened as the world's first LEED Gold-certified day spa in 2004. Located in the heart of downtown, this easy-to-access spa is as relaxing for a manicure as it is for a massage, and the name, which means "royalty" in Quechua (a language native to the central Andes of South America), indicates just how well they treat guests. Nail services utilize polish lines like Londontown and Zoya, and also the same leading natural products used in the spa's skin care and massage services, like marine-based vegan skin care by OSEA. Don't miss the Healing Stone pedicure, which features a custom aromatherapy blend chosen by guests via a handy app.