For years, manicures were one of the city’s few truly cheap luxuries. But the suspension of disbelief required to pretend that a $10 manicure and $2 tip was fair pay for cutting cuticles and massaging feet, while being continuously exposed to a colorful array of suspect chemicals, became almost impossible after a year-long New York Times investigation resulted in stricter regulation and increased awareness. So where was a lady or gentleman to go to find some grooming without guilt? Try Tenoverten, a nail salon that feels like a living room in an indie lifestyle magazine. The mini-chain (there are now four in New York, plus one recent Austin addition), founded in 2011 by friends Nadine Abramcyk and Adair Ilyinsky, now has its own line of less toxic polishes named after downtown streets, and the savvy salon owners made sure to pay their workers more than minimum wage and overtime before it was cool. Sure, at $25 for a basic manicure, the prices are higher than the janky place on the corner. But the pleasant experience, made more pleasant by a clean conscience, makes it a luxury that can actually be enjoyed.
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