Grooming matters and hands are noticed. Men and women alike can feel like a million bucks for a tiny fraction of that sum by investing in a good manicure that’s chemical-free. In 2010, San Francisco passed the Healthy Nail Salon Recognition ordinance to publicly identify establishments that use polishes (including top and base coats) free of the chemicals toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde. Already banned by the European Union in 2004, California is leading the nation. Here are six salons around town that are recognized by that legislation, or indicating they’re free of all three no-go chemicals.
Richmond Nails Salon
5856 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94121
In Outer Richmond at 23rd Avenue, this nail salon may not be on your way to anywhere except Ocean Beach. Yet, it’s a destination in itself for many, as it’s on the San Francisco Department of the Environment’s approved list and has very happy customers, too. Special occasion coming up? Gradient glitter and gel results are super. Prices are low, quality is high, the place is small and the word is out.
Simply Unique Nails
734 14th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
Affectionately abbreviated as SUN, loyal fans of this Duboce Triangle salon sing its praises. What more could you ask for than professional staff with sunny dispositions, on-time appointments, top hygiene, massage chairs and every color and brand under the sun? The family-run business does everything from glitters to gels or just your basic manicure.
Silk Day Spa
1425 Franklin St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Parking can be a challenge, so take Muni, walk or ride a bike. This Lower Pac spot between Sutter and Bush is worth the trouble to get there. Always accumulating accolades for long-lasting manicures and hospital standards of cleanliness, this friendly salon is top of the charts. Gorgeous, chemical-free Chanel nail polishes are displayed on the shelf.
Related: Best Nail Salons In The Peninsula
Zaza Nail Spa
543 2nd St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
This South Park nail spa is recognized by the city’s official Healthy Nail Salon program, so you’ll encounter none of that chemical smell that comes from some salons. The location works great for a lunch break, but it’s not the cheapest. Enjoy magazines and disposable flip-flops in case you forget your own.
405 Arguello Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94118
T&T Nails is a tiny, casual place near the corner of Clement Street and is on the city’s approved list, with prices that beat other places with chemical-free brands. T&T offers nail polish from Zoya, OPI and the creamy Butter London brand. Clean, accommodating and welcoming, this salon checks off the basic boxes and could become your epicenter for a rockin’ manicure.
Nails by Linda
2103 Taraval St.
San Francisco, CA 94116
Owner Heidi has been quoted in magazine articles discussing California EPA and the healthy nail salon legislation initiatives. Working with the wider California Healthy Nail Salons Collaborative to improve workplace practices, she’s well-versed on the subject. Her Parkside, Outer Sunset salon is approved, and her customers have approved for years, of course.
Related: Best Shellac Manicures In North Bay
Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.