Tenfold Nail Salon is birthing a new concept of natural nail care that not only keeps your nails healthy but also creates a holistic, eco-wellness environment for clients and employees.  We chat to Tenfold owner, Georgia Shekeshe about this concept, choosing a nail bar and the nail trends to look out for.

Image: Supplied

What is meant by the new approach of "natural nail care" that you are practicing at the Tenfold salon? We believe the next generation of beauty is a lot more natural. It’s toxin free, socially responsible and definitely a lot more chic. We’re laying the foundation for that. At Tenfold we focus on natural nails, which first and foremost means cleaner air. We are completely formaldehyde free, ensuring our team and clients are breathing in the cleanest air possible. We are constantly pushing ourselves to improve by using products on our tabletops that are free of parabens. We don’t offer acrylic / artificial nail enhancements. So many places will follow a nail trend for the bottom line, however we are committed to being the best at giving as natural a manicure as possible in the safest environment possible. We choose our polishes, tabletop products, sanitation equipment, ventilation system and even our collection of tea offerings very carefully so that it is a feel good experience from start to finish. While there’s no such thing as a natural manicure, we don’t want to use any of the truly harmful chemicals. We’re holding ourselves to higher standards and want to in some way or another reform the industry.

The décor of Tenfold is so clean and minimal; what inspired the look and feel of the salon? It was important to break away from the traditional nail salon aesthetic. We wanted it to feel like the antithesis of your average nail salon. There are certain things we do intentionally. For example, we don’t have the pampering chairs with the big whirlpool baths because those can be quite bacteria infested. So for us to have bowls that we can take away and clean properly in the back and really deep clean is important to us. All the furniture is custom made. It’s important to us that our clients feel like they’re walking into someone’s elegant yet understated apartment rather than walking into a salon, so they can truly relax while they’re here in the environment without too much clutter and ‘noise’ surrounding them. Furthermore, if you think about it, things in South Africa are so well thought-out aesthetically, like the restaurants we eat in and the gyms we exercise in, and then you go to nail salons and they all have sort of this similar vibe. The standard one-experience-fits-all approach to manicures and pedicures was just not for us.

Can you share some of the nail trends that are on your radar at the moment that we should look out for? We’re seeing a transition from what we refer to as traditional nail art (gimmicky, cartoon characters, 3D) to minimalistic nail art – these are looks that go from subtle accents (texture & foils) to new takes on the traditional French manicures, manicures with peek-a-boo negative spaces and geometric modern designs. This appeals to the modern everyday women.

What should people look for when choosing a nail salon?

·  Vigilance around hygiene is usually a good litmus test. For example, look at the nail file. It sounds like a little thing, but scratch marks on a nail file can actually be really telling. If you see a nail file that clearly has scratch marks from being used on someone else, that's super-unhygienic. If a tool pack is open, don't take for granted that tools are being sterilised properly—be an informed consumer and don't be too scared to say, 'how do you sanitise your tools here? It’s important for clients to ask questions. At Tenfold, we implement a one-time use policy. If any tools are used on clients, they are immediately thrown out afterwards.

·  5-free nail polish. “5-free” means the nail polishes are made without formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor or formaldehyde resin. Salons focused on sustainable, non-toxic services tend to be focused on other ethical issues as well.

·  Don't get sucked in by bargains, very low prices should alert you that something isn't right. You’re going to have to pay a little more for an ethical / authentic mani-pedi. Fair wages means fair prices. There’s no way around it.

·  Consistency is a sign that employees are valued. A regular and recognizable rotating staff can indicate a loyal employer.

29A Central Square, 180 Amarand Rd, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria. tenfoldmm.co.za

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