When it comes to wellness and holistic beauty Los Angeles has usually got the jump on New York City, but not in the case of chic, non-toxic nail salon TenOverTen. Founded by style setters Nadine Abramcyk and Adair Ilyinsky in Tribeca, NYC in 2010 (back when safe nail salons were few and far between), there are now four Manhattan locations, one in Austin and their Los Angeles outpost in Culver City’s Platform complex that opened earlier this year with the help of Creative Director– and Nadine’s sister– Jaclyn Ferber. We caught up with the bi-coastal sisters to hear about the the launch of the LA salon’s Safe Beauty Source retail concept and why they want to make nail products smarter.
Where did the inspiration for TenOverTen come from?
The salon was born out of our own frustrations with trying to get our nails done in New York City. We love getting manicures but our only options were either your typical corner nail parlor with next to no customer service and horrible polish options, or the high end spa experience that you had to book days in advance. There was just nothing in the middle. We wanted great customer service, better polishes and online booking, iPads instead of magazines so you didn’t mess up your nails flipping through the pages, a safer environment with clean products and a better aesthetic so you felt like you were sitting in someone’s home instead of a nail salon (think linen covered armchairs, stripped wood floors and lots of natural light). The hygiene aspect was also a huge deal for us. Our frustration led to an “A-ha!” moment when we said “You know what? We could do this better.”
How did the creation of your own polish and nail care line come about?
When we first opened in 2010 there was very little regulation in the nail salon industry and we wanted to have a line of polishes in the salon that we could stand behind and regulate ourselves. If you are using nail polish regularly it really needs to be safe. We launched with a 3-free collection in 2011 (DBP, formaldehyde and toluene), then moved to 5-free and now we are 8-free, cruelty-free, vegan and made in the USA. It all started as a bit of an experiment with the salon as our lab. The colors weren’t driven by trend but by what our customers were looking for and then we moved into the nail care category because, again, we wanted products that were safe but also highly functional in a way that remover, for example, wasn’t. We created travel-sized biodegradable removing cloths using odorless propylene carbonate instead of acetone so they could be used on a plane or the subway without bothering people. Each cloth also comes with a cleansing wipe infused with essential oils in case you don’t have access to water. Our cuticle oil is paraben-free and rather than the usual argan or jojoba oil we chose rose oil for its soothing properties, and packaged the oil in a tube with a roller ball making it much more portable. It’s an elevated approach to nail care that we just hadn’t seen anywhere.
Tell us about your nail color collaborations which have included everything from a trademark bright yellow for SoulCycle and a trio of mini-size sherbet colored pastels with J.Crew, to a limited edition pink shade with Yes Way Rosé.
Our first collaboration was a bright yellow with SoulCycle which just may be the least wearable color we’ve ever produced but, from a marketing perspective, it was a hit. Our Tribeca salon was just a few blocks away from the Warren Street SoulCycle and we would go workout there a lot, so when they approached us about a collaboration we immediately said yes. That experience really opened our eyes to working with other like-minded companies, using it as a way of introducing our clients to them. It was also a fun way to add colors we wouldn’t have otherwise had in the range like the bright blue we made for the Streicher sisters. We also really enjoy the whole creative process. Our next collaboration, launching in May, is with Taryn Toomey of the The Class. We’ve been taking her class since it began and are big fans of hers. While we don’t want to reveal too much, the colors will be very Taryn so go check out her Instagram account if you want a hint.
You now have four salons in NYC, one in Austin (Nadine and Jaclyn are Texas girls) and one in Los Angeles. How has the concept evolved with each new opening?
Each time we open a new salon our retail space evolves. The size of the Los Angeles location has really given us the opportunity to call it more than a salon, but also a space to develop a curated selection of products for our ‘safe beauty source’ retail concept. We really want to focus on the idea that while you’re here you can discover beauty products that are both effective and safe, that we personally use and love, like Agent Nateur natural deodorant, Josh Rosebrook hair products, jade rollers and Dr. Singha’s Mustard Seed bath. We really cherry pick and may just buy one product from a line. The focus is on products that make you feel good and are also good for you.
In NYC you’ve done pop-ups with HeyDay and FaceLove offering mini facials, massage and eyebrow shaping. Will we be seeing a bigger treatment menu in the future?
Pop-ups are a fun way for us to partner with brands we respect, give them a platform in our space and introduce our clients to what they do. We will continue to do that in our Fulton Street salon in NYC where we have a private room that works perfectly for those kind of events. In LA we want to use the space to highlight some personalities who give incredible service in the beauty space. Also, we are now offering waxing, as well as eyebrow shaping and tinting, in Los Angeles five days a week. Danielle Vincent will be leading our eyebrow charge and we’ll be incorporating sugaring into our waxing program very soon.
What’s on the horizon for TenOverTen?
We have our eyes on some new locations in NYC– think Upper East Side– and we are expanding our product line. Right now we are working on a hand cream with an SPF, and next up is a clean, quick-dry spray that we can incorporate into our services. We want to keep expanding our offerings to our clients so they have access to as many safe, clean products as possible.