Ruth Kallens is a true gem. She is the kind of girlfriend that can sit with you for hours and chit chat about, well, anything and everything. And this is exactly how our friendship blossomed, in the lobby of her zen-life nail studio, Van Court Studio, in downtown Manhattan. Along with healthy food and beauty products, we at The Moment HQ are also all about healthy beauty practices. So of course, we came to Ruth for the best tips (and manicure) to satisfy our non-toxic, au natural nail desires. Our favorite nail look is clean, short and hydrated cuticles. There’s nothing more chic than beautiful, clean hands and nails (well besides, a great pair of shoes…bag…and the bandana casually tied around your handbag strap, of course).
Our initial conversation on best nail practices started in the lobby of Van Court (and lasted 30+ minutes). It was filled with so much information that we thought it would be best to hear it straight from her. Check out the rest of our juicy convo on the best non-toxic manicure tips, new trends in 2017 and how she stays in the moment…
The Moment: What was the inspiration behind Van Court?
Ruth: I’ve always been crazy about nails and was consistently disappointed with the quality of the services available. After working in the beauty industry for my entire career, I decided to use my background in PR and marketing to create a destination that filled the void. Using my connections to the industry’s top nail technicians, I created an all-star team and beautiful, zen-like space for clients to experience quality work.
The Moment: Where did the name “Van Court” come from?
Ruth: The name honors my late great aunt who was like a grandmother to me. Van Court is the street she lived on in Long Branch, NJ.
The Moment: What differentiates Van Court from other nail studios?
Ruth: At Van Court, natural is best. With thoughtful curation, all of our lacquers are 5, 7 or 9 free** (non-toxic) and our soaks, scrubs + sanitizers are homemade with organic oils, food/therapy grade essential oils.
**The Moment research: Nail polish has been under scrutiny as it contains potentially harmful chemicals including three main ingredients: formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. Nail polishes that are 5, 7 or 9 free mean they are produced without these, plus more, harmful ingredients.
The Moment: What are people looking for these days when it comes to nail health?
Ruth: A non-toxic environment that uses the cleanest, purest products. The consumer is smarter these days, and they seek additional information from the salon they frequent. We try to provide with that education and inform them about products and our technique. As well as chrome nail polish!
The Moment: What does a clean manicure mean?
Ruth: Using the least toxic nail products with best manicuring practices i.e. no cuticle cutting, minimal nail buffing.
The Moment: What are the important things to look for when detoxing your nail routine?
Ruth: If you’re going to use polish, make sure it’s at least 5 free. There are products with strengthening treatments in them which can be an option. Maxus Nails is a good one. Treat your nails and hands like your face. Use tons of moisturizers. We’re fans of oils and balms.
The Moment: Any nail trends you’re seeing that we should know about?
Ruth: Folks are misinformed and under the misconception that some powder products are Gel except they’re not, they’re acrylics. Acrylic binds so permanently to the nail that a drill is needed for removal. The drilling/buffing process removes several layers of the nail plate, which compromises the integrity and health of the nail. That’s when the nail becomes sensitive and can hurt.
The Moment: Since we are really into the au natural look – what do you recommend we get if we come to Van Court?
Ruth: The Splittsville manicure. It includes a hydrating hand mask and strengthening treatment. We’re big fans of the natural look as well. You can do buff to a shine or choose from our gorgeous nude shades.
The Moment: How do you stay in the moment?
Ruth: Tons of self reflection, meditation and practicing yoga.
Many thanks to Ruth Kallens
Photography: Van Court Studio