The co-founder of all-natural nail salon and polish company, tenoverten, gives us the lowdown on clean nail care.


Nadine Abramcyk is basically responsible for making natural nail care chic. With her partner, Adair Ilyinsky, Abramcyk co-founded the tenoverten brand, which is both a collection of nail oases in New York City, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, and also an extensive nail polish and care collection.

On the inspiration behind tenoverten

Living in NYC and being surrounded by businesses that are so thoughtful made my partners and I wonder why the nail salon business lagged so dramatically in that department. We would meet for weekly manicure dates and had wishful conversations about ways we would create a new and improved neighborhood nail salon. tenoverten grew from those conversations into what it is today. It has of course evolved and is very mission driven today to be a place where you can safely get your nails done without fear of breathing in so many toxic fumes as well as a company that offers safer at home nail care products for those who don't have access to a safer salon environment. While we weren't sure anyone would show up on our first day of business, we were pleasantly surprised to find that other NY'ers craved that same elevated and safer environment. We've since grown to 6 salons and a full range of non-toxic hand care products. The journey to get here was a little trial by error but we certainly learned a lot from our mistakes along the way and are so proud to employ over 250 women today and fill the void for what we felt was a white space in the market. We went into the process with a bit of naiveté too, which I think is ultimately a good thing because if I had the full picture going in I might not have jumped!

On not compromising quality for sustainable methods

We formulate our products in such a way that removes the known harmful chemicals from the formulation and in some cases make a completely natural product, like our Rose Cuticle Oil. But in most cases polishes are solvent based and cannot be 100% natural. That doesn't mean they are too harmful to use. We strive to make our products as safe as possible without sacrificing the quality (and wear in the case of the polish) which ultimately is what the consumer cares most about. We've come a long way at chipping away at the general feeling that safer polish doesn't last as long, that is simply not the case. And while the prices to make products like ours with top quality ingredients and efficacy around sustainable packaging and labor, etc is higher, I believe in today's world the consumer understands that and they'd rather pay up for something that isn't bad for our environment and/or health. It's quite refreshing to see this awakening in consumerism in America across all categories.

On tenoverten being “8-free”

We strip 8 potentially harmful chemicals from our products that in most cases are known carcinogens or hormone disruptors and can often be found in polishes. The reality is that you don't need them chemicals in polish to make them function properly so we've simply removed them and haven't replaced them with other un-researched newer chemicals as a stand in. We abide by the 'less is more' philosophy across our company and believe that if you can remove chemicals and not harm animals in the process of making a new product that it is simple the correct way to produce anything in 2019. We know more today than ever about the affects of chemicals and production factors on our health and environment and it is the responsibility of the manufacturers to look out for the end consumer from ideation through to completion.

On recycling and conscious nail salon practices

We offer a free recycling program in all of our salons where anyone can bring in their old polishes and we ensure that the polishes are recycled properly. Because nail polish is a Hazmat flammable property it cannot simply be dumped in one's bathroom as it could potentially enter our waterways so we ship the polish bottles to a facility where the remaining liquids are disposed of properly and then the containers are as well. It is a large part of our mission to also be as least wasteful as possible so you will see that across various touch points in the services at the salon and in our products where we've stripped away all outer packaging from our polishes and even passed the cost savings of that move down to the consumer.

On how she lives a sustainable life

I am constantly trying to do a better job at living sustainably and am so inspired by the many new businesses that are taking a stance to do things in a way that will benefit us all even if it is the more difficult path. I try hard to use as little plastic in my life which is of course challenging with 3 little kids, we also use refillable items in our household as much as possible so we're producing less waste...the goal is to be package free in our dailies but we've got a ways to go still. We look for energy saving methods in our home through the type of light-bulbs we use and on to our energy provider and more practical practices such as opening windows on cooler days rather than pumping the AC. We donate clothes to pass them on and try to buy less in general so as to not produce so much waste in this world. We try to only spend with companies that exercise good sustainability practices themselves as well.

You can remove chemicals and not harm animals in the process of making a new product.