Fashion / Beauty

New Luxury Nail Salon Changes the Houston Beauty Scene

High-Tech Haven Fights the Toxic Norms

BY // 12.27.16

Waltz through the threshold of BLVD Place’s newest tenant, Paloma, and you’re immediately reminded that this isn’t your typical nail salon. The sleek, minimalist design boasts features reminiscent of tony boutiques — ombre wallpaper, acrylic seating, sparkling brass light fixtures, and other ritzy upgrades.

The refined aesthetic exudes the salon’s mantra — escape to beautiful — while also channeling Paloma’s core foundation as Houston’s first non-toxic nail space.

“I didn’t want a name that was very obvious. What I love about the name Paloma is that it evokes the feelings that I want customers to have while they’re here. I think it makes you feel fresh, or it makes some people feel like they’re having a cocktail on vacation,” explained owner Maryam Naderi.

“In Spanish, the word means beauty in every sense. I really liked that aspect because for me it was really important to create a space that was aesthetically pleasing as well.”

The salon’s facade is as conscious as it is beautiful. Naderi partnered with Houston-based firm Content Architecture to produce a space that is pleasing to both the eye and the environment. Natural materials and textures are coupled with custom-made furniture by HTX Made, a local brand that omits the use of toxic chemicals throughout its designs.

Non-toxicity oozes through Paloma. After reading The New York Times‘ exposé “The Price of Nails,” which chronicled abuse and hazardous working conditions in New York City’s nail market, Naderi — a management consulting veteran — opted to infiltrate Houston’s salon landscape with her own non-toxic rendition, challenging an industry riddled with chemical additives.

“Paloma is a non-toxic nail space founded on the belief that beauty and wellness can co-exist,” she says. “All of our polishes are five-free at a minimum so they don’t contain chemicals like formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene. These chemicals have already been banned in Australia and the UK, and they are currently under investigation in America.”

“Some of them have been proven to be carcinogenic, so if you’re exposed to them for long period of time — which if you get your nails done every other week it’s not a big deal, but think about our nail technicians who are exposed to this everyday.”

An array of non-toxic polishes are on display at Paloma.

Polish brands include RMS, Lauren B (Paloma is the only salon in Houston to offer this polish), Deborah Lippman, Chanel, Dior, and Spa Ritual Gold, all of which are chosen based on their chemical-free rating and long-lasting formulas.

“There’s tons of polish brands to choose from, but we really want something that works and lasts for longer than three days. I think many people think that non-toxic doesn’t last, but the reality is that the advancements in the beauty industry are amazing. I’ve unpacked about 80 boxes in the last week and my manicure has lasted over seven days,” Naderi says.

Customers can indulge in Paloma’s services at one of their four manicure stations or 10 pedicure stations, which forgo traditional tubs for portable stone basins to prevent bacteria build-up.

Try The Quick Fix ($20/$30), a comprehensive option for customers in a time crunch; The Standard ($30/$40), which showcases Naderi’s 18-step nail service (with skincare products courtesy Weleda); The All In ($40/$60), which combines The Standard with an exfoliation treatment and an extra massage; The Paloma ($35/$50), a full-service nail treatment sans polish; and The Petite ($20), perfect for kids.

Complement your service with illy espresso, premium wine, iPads for browsing, and outlets for charging phones. Also on hand is Paloma’s petite retail space, which features everything from acetone-free nail polish remover and Deborah Lippman hand cream to Olio e Osso lip and cheek balm and Weleda Skin Food.

“I’m confident that there’s a population of people that would want something like Paloma,” Naderi says. “We wanted to show [Houston] that you can get a great nail service that isn’t out of reach price wise, that you can also feel good about. Wellness simply does not have to be compromised for beauty.”

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