HBO's 'Not So Pretty' Review

Episode 2 – Nails

In this blog post, Ology Essentials’ Chief Formulator reviews episode 2 of HBO’s Not So Pretty. For an overall review, be sure to read HBO’s “Not So Pretty” Review by a Cosmetic Formulator.

Episode 2  HBO docuseries, Not So Pretty tells the history of nail salons in America, which I found fascinating. The episode exposes the health issues that nail technicians are facing.  Nail polish is one product I have never had any interest in formulating or manufacturing because back in 1998 it was clear to me that nail polish was toxic, a hazmat issue, and nowhere near the natural standards that I hold to as a formulator. Nail polish is essentially just paint. The rules for labeling nail polish are completely different from other personal care products. 

According to the FDA, “Many nail products contain potentially harmful ingredients, but are allowed on the market because they are safe when used as directed. For example, some nail ingredients are harmful when swallowed, but not when used on the nails, because the nail is a barrier, which prevents absorption.” FDA.gov

These ingredients are not safe to be inhaled day in and day out. Nail polish sold to consumers must have an ingredient list, however products used in salons are not required to have an ingredient declaration. That is a loophole that should be closed. Work conditions at nail salons are regulated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as by local state and city administrations.. Consumers can make a difference by requesting and being willing to pay more for toxic free nail products. 

H.R.5540 – Cosmetic Safety for Communities of Color and Professional Salon Workers Act of 2021 has been introduced as a draft bill. I am not in this particular division of the industry so I don’t have an expert opinion on this particular legislation, but I encourage you to read the draft bill for yourself to determine if it is something that you personally want to support. 

About the Author

Kayla Fioravanti has been a leading expert in the natural cosmetics industry for over 22 years. In 1998, she co-founded Essential Wholesale – one of the first all natural cosmetics/ingredients companies – that started out with $50 in her kitchen and grew to a multimillion dollar company (all while raising her 3 kids). As Ology’s Chief Formulator, Kayla is able to combine her love for natural remedies like aromatherapy, herbal medicine and CBD with her expert knowledge as an organic/natural cosmetic formulator. Kayla is extraordinarily grateful to be on this journey with her family and loves that Ology Essentials is leading the way as a majority woman owned CBD company! Kayla is also an aromatherapist, aromatherapy educator, business consultant and an award winning author.

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