It was a grey, drizzly day in early November. I was fighting a case of seasonal sniffles and struggled to get out of bed. I rolled over and with one eye open, peeked at my calendar, which read “Lushlife” 11am. “Ooh yes! That lovely, natural nail spa I discovered recently on social media!” I quickly remembered. Well, if anything will motivate a groggy blogger to bounce out of bed it’s the promise of pampering. So with a swig of The Squeeze’s Raw Ginger Aid, I was up and at ‘em and headed to the Lower East Side.
One week prior, I had seen a snapshot of the sunny, plant filled space on Garance Doré’s Instagram feed and instantly clicked through in search of its location. Upon doing so, I soon discovered that not only was Lushlife Nailworks totally Pinterest worthy in aesthetics, it was also dedicated to being organic and toxin free!
[I could sit by this window and daydream all day…]
[A rainbow of Zoya colors…how’s a gal ever to choose?!]
My excitement mounted when I saw that they use Zoya nail polish along with handcrafted products made of food grade and organic ingredients. I’ve been a Zoya loyalist for years, ever since I discovered that they were big 5 free AND last longer than most other brands. Of course the fact that they named a nail polish after me doesn’t hurt. In any case, I typically have to BYOZ (bring your own Zoya) to my local nail salon and then ignore all of the other toxic crap they use in mani-pedi services. So when I discovered that Lushlife stocked a full rainbow of hues, I couldn’t book an appointment fast enough!
Upon entering the appropriately lush, plant filled space; I was struck by, or actually NOT struck by any scent of acetone or chemicals so typical of nail salons. Instead I was greeted by the Lushlife founder, Jane MaColla, offering me peppermint tea and water both served in mason jars. She stepped away to answer a call while I chose my polish, and I smiled to myself when I overheard her gently explain to the caller that no, they don’t do artificial nails…
[Laurel Denise leather bracelets with the sweetest sayings like “Life whispers, listen closely”]
[I wound up choosing for Natty for my toes, bien sur!]
As I settled into a cushy chair and prepared for the Healing Lavender treatment ($38 for hands, $55 for feet), Jane and I got to chatting. As it turns out, the former fashion executive spent 5 years in my hometown of San Francisco, which may explain the synergies in our lifestyles. Jane credits the west coast with an advanced awareness of food culture, ingredient consciousness and overall quality of life. That influence is evident at Lushlife, a salon built on the belief that what you put on your body is as important as what you put in it. As my heels and calves were being methodically massaged with organic lavender scrub, Jane explained to me how she had wanted to create a sanctuary to escape from busy city life, in an environment safe enough for even expectant mothers and young children, including her own. When she couldn’t find products that lived up to her elevated standards she looked to her childhood best friend, a registered nurse who’d gone completely organic for her family a few years prior. With a medical background and the utmost integrity, Believe Organics was born to fill the void.
[So many yummy products and trinkets to browse!]
In addition to natural nail services, Lushlife also offers sugaring, a safer, gentler yet more effective alternative to waxing. Where waxing can contain dyes, artificial fragrances and preservatives – sugaring is pure, natural and very sanitary. It is completely biodegradable since it only contains sugar, lemon juice and water and doesn't require strips for removal. Perhaps the biggest draw for many, is that it helps heal and prevent in-grown hairs and is a godsend for those with sensitive skin. Although more popular on the west coast, the practice is so uncommon in the NYC area that Jane had to source a sugaring instructor from Canada to train her specialists.
Jane’s loyalty to those close to her extends to the community surrounding Lushlife, and since opening this summer she’s made every effort to connect with neighboring businesses both small and large for collaborations and events. Everyone from the neighboring French wine bar, Jadis to mega beauty brand, Nars has partnered with Lushlife – a testament to its unique appeal. And after spending a luxurious morning seeped in lavender and good vibes – I can safely say that I too am now a Lushlife loyalist!