Both times that I was pregnant, I avoided nail salons and nail polish at all costs. I was so nervous about any potential toxins or inhalation of chemicals that I decided to just forgo something that actually would have brought me a lot of joy and relaxation during such stressful, exhausting times. I wish I’d known more back then about how to get a healthy manicure and pedicure in New York City. There are all sorts of tips and tricks, not to mention specialty nail salons, that can help you feel good about the nail choices you’re making as your baby grows.
If you can swing it, there are three nail salons (one of which is a chainlet with multiple locations!) that we highly recommend for a pregnancy-safe, luxurious, healthy experience.
Van Court Studio
Van Court Studio is the ultimate in clean chic. The nail tech I had there literally has a master’s degree (okay, it’s in English Lit, not nail art, but still!), and all the techs are freelancers who also work on fashion shows and magazine shoots. Everyone who works there takes safety and health as seriously as they take luxury and pampering. The foot-soak tubs aren’t connected to plumbing so that all parts can be sterilized between customers. The vibe is downtown hip, with outlets to charge your phone at every station, and an incredible selection of 5+free polishes, all made by woman-owned companies. An intake questionnaire insures that your nail tech is tailoring the experience to the needs you didn’t even realize you had. Van Court’s manicures are waterless, a practice that is known to be healthier for your nails because they are most vulnerable when wet.
What you should know: Everything used at Van Court is safe for pregnant women. It has a fancy ventilation system, huge windows, in-house-made organic scrub, and only the safest products. Nail art is one of their specialties— check out Van Court’s awesome Instagram for inspiration!
Most requested nail color right now: Light Blue, like Deborah Lippmann’s My Boy Lollipop
Where to go: 90 Water Street, Fl 2
Sweet Lily Spa
Sweet Lily Spa understands that not all pregnant women want to use polish, so they offer Healing Hands -- a treatment that pampers and soothes, and is also perfect for new moms whose hands are feeling worn from the constant washing of having a newborn! Like Van Court, Sweet Lily is clean, safe, and tailored to your health. The vibe is different, though, with big, comfy upholstered chairs and couches, chandeliers and chintz— very country-house. They only use Zoya nail polishes, a fantastic safe brand with a huge range of color choices, and also have no UV dryers or quick dry sprays. A little boutique at the front of the Spa adds to the charm, and they also offer waxing services. Like Van Court, all tools are sterilized to the point of being surgical-grade. Check out their website for seasonal specials, like the Grapefruit+Vodka pedicure or stick to the perennial favorites, Honey Walnut or Lavender Cream.
What you should know: Sweet Lily has a no cellphones policy, which insures that you won’t be sitting next to someone talking loudly while getting pampered. It’s very relaxing! On my visit to Sweet Lily, I saw three generations of a family there together— a grandmother, new mom, and tiny baby. It’s the kind of place where new moms feel comfortable bringing their little ones, and it’s peaceful and quiet enough for the babies to nap right through!
Most requested nail colors now: anything purple, like Zoya’s Liv from this summer’s Sunset Collection
Where to go: 222 West Broadway
This chainlet from 8-free, Leaping Bunny-certified polish brand tenoverten has four locations in NYC, and one in Austin. Thoughtful and chic, they offer a huge selection of their own polishes , along with other brands like RGB (5-free) and the more mainstream Chanel and Essie lines. Their nail-art game is top-notch, and everything they use for their treatments is paraben free. Between the boutique where you can buy amazing, natural products, and the other services offered— nail art, makeup applications, sugaring, waxing, etc.— this is a one-stop wonder of a beauty haven, safe for mamas-to-be and chic, on-the-go women alike!
What you should know: tenoverten does parties and events. Can you say “baby shower”?!?
Most requested nail colors right now: the bright trio from the Limited Edition STRIIIKE x tenoverten
Image via Van Court.