[an error occurred while processing this directive] CBC.ca Montreal
CBC News [an error occurred while processing this directive] CBC News at Six
Be Green

The GREEN Pedicure

Okay, I'll start by saying you know waaay more about the condition of my feet than I wish you did. But hey, it's all in the name of responsible journalism!

So why a green pedicure exactly?
Well, actually, there are two components to a green pedicure:
1. YOUR health
2. The PLANET'S health

And obviously these two things are not really separate: sick people use up many more resources and may create environmental degradation or contamination. Plus, it feels bad. And part of being green is to have a better standard of living- just in a more responsible way.

So coming back to pedicures--what's the deal?
If you've ever been to those cheap nail salons that offer $20-30 pedicures, well, you've probably put yourself at risk. Improper sterilization of tools (have you ever been nicked?) can lead to risk of:
* Hepatitis
* Bacterial and Fungal infections
* HIV (this is unlikely, but if you get cut and happen to come into contact with tainted blood or other fluids...)

As for the planet:
Nail technicians often use extremely toxic products that are then improperly disposed of (more on that later).
And let's not forget all those disposable implements. That's really not very eco-conscious.

Which is pretty scary. Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to get a great pedicure that's safe and eco-friendly.
Read on!
Watch the video here

Actually, the greenest pedicure is the Fish Pedicure. Man, I so want one of those! But I haven't been able to find anywhere in Montreal that it's offered. Have you?

So I headed over to Spa Savanna to meet head of operations and chief esthetician, Sylvie Denis. She's been in the biz for more than 20 years and had a lot of great advice--especially about what to look for while shopping for a reputable and safe salon, and how to put together your own mani-pedi kit.
I'm still hankering for the fishies, but until we can get them to come over, here's how to green your mani-pedi

1. Get your own kit: It's the only real (and green)way to ensure that you're not being scraped, poked and scrubbed with stuff that has nasties on it. Plus this way, you make a one-time investment and save on all sorts of disposable stuff.
I liked Sylvie Denis's suggestion of asking your favourite technician (preferably someone you expect to be seeing regularly) what he/she likes to use. I actually bought all my stuff at a local salon. The implements were brand new and had the added bonus of being EXACTLY what the technicians usually used (after all, that's why they were in stock). So no fuss and no discomfort for either of us. Plus, it worked out CHEAPER than buying a pedicure or manicure set at the pharmacy. And the quality was better!

Sylvie's suggestion for a basic kit:
1. Nail clipper
2. Cuticle nipper
3. Cuticle pusher
4. Nail file
5. Nail buffer
6. Foot buffer/pumice

2. Skip the polish Okay, this is taking half the fun out of it, I agree. But if you can stand to skip the polish, you'd be doing your body a favour. Nail varnish contains so many heavy chemicals that it's actually considered a hazardous substance. Which means that you're NOT SUPPOSED TO CHUCK EMPTIES OR OLD BOTTLES IN THE TRASH! Do you know what you're supposed to do with them? If so, leave me a comment or call our talkback line: (514) 597-5626

3. GET SAFER POLISH: It's actually a good time to be looking, because there are quite a few options out there. But before we get into what to buy, here's a list of stuff TO AVOID:
* Toluene
* Formaldehyde
* Dibutyl Pthalate (DBP)

Most polishes have a list of ingredients on the back. Read that list! And look for the varnishes marked "Formaldehyde and Toluene-free". There's out there and they're getting easier to find.
I was trawling the internet and found this statement on O.P.I.'s website:

Beginning in Spring 2006, OPI eliminated DBP (dibutyl phthalate) from all Nail Lacquers, Nail Treatments, and Nail Hardeners it manufactures. Beginning in January 2007, OPI eliminated toluene from all Nail Lacquers it manufactures. Toluene-free formulas have been approved for all of our Nail Treatment and Nail Hardener products; some of these formulas are already being manufactured, and the others will be on the market in the next few months.
Which means you'll still have to watch out for older bottles, but the newer ones should be safer for use.
Here are some more:
1. SUN COAT: This one's my personal fave. It's made right here in Canada. It's organic and water-based
(it actually comes right off if rubbed vigorously with cooking oil--I've tried!). And it's so safe that it doesn't have to be disposed of in the same way as other, more toxic polishes do. (If you know how, send me your answer!)
Average price for a bottle of Sun Coat: $9.99 You can pick up a bottle at Dans Ta Bulle (316, Avenue Mont-Royal). They make for great bridal shower favours!

2. Nubar: American-made and in all kinds of delicious colours. Not easily available in Montreal, though. You can order them off the internet (but I warn you, the website has a glitch in the shipping section and you'd be better off calling their 1-800 number to place your order) Average price: $6.99

3. Zoya: GORGEOUS shades (really, the range is comparable to OPI's) and reasonable prices. Again, difficult to find. I ordered mine off ebay for $4.50 a pop plus minimal shipping.

4. Revlon: At every pharmacy everywhere. Look for the list of ingredients on the back to make sure you're buying from the latest and safest line. Average price: $4.50 plus tax.

After reading all this, you might be tempted to chuck all the nail polish that's lying around your make-up drawer. STOP! There's a certain protocol that you need to follow. Do you know what it is? If so, write me! Or call our talkback line: (514) 597-5626
I'll post your answers (and the correct one) here on Monday.
Until then, have a great weekend!

« Previous Topic | Main | Next Topic »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your comments.

Comments (1)



Geeta, Rachelle-Bery also has a water based nail polish, and a corn based nail polish remover, both are much less toxic than regular nail polishes you can buy at the pharmacy. The nail polishes have nice colours, last a long time, and are $8.99 each. The nail polish remover is $4.99 I believe.

I really enjoy Be Green, you do great work and are somewhat of an inspiration. I write a green column for The Nation (a magazine for the Cree population of Quebec). For now anyway. I'm looking for "greener" pastures :)


Posted August 1, 2008 07:16 PM

« Previous Topic | Main | Next Topic »

Post a comment


Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Recent Topics
Make like a bee...
Wednesday, Sep. 24, 2008
Back in business
Monday, Sep. 22, 2008
Auto Recycling
Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008
Computer Recycling
Monday, Aug. 4, 2008
The Correct Answer...
Monday, Aug. 4, 2008
Subscribe to Be Green
(reader required)