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Nailing It

Nailing It

My name is: Jess Hannah Révész.

I’m known for being: The designer/founder of J. Hannah and the designer/co-founder of Ceremony.

I'm talking about: J. Hannah’s non-toxic and cruelty-free nail polishes.

You can find it at: Online at jhannahjewelry.com.

Before I created this line, I was: A graphic design student making jewelry in my bedroom. Once I started our site, and started documenting some of my early bespoke pieces on Instagram, things evolved organically from there. We still make most of our jewelry to order, which has informed our attitude towards sustainability in production by minimizing waste. It also allows us to focus more on designing, refining and perfecting our collections and gives us space to invest time and energy in connecting with our community through fun collaborations and the most thoughtful projects possible.

What inspired me to launch it was: The poise and beauty of the hand. Adorning and complementing this natural grace was already top-of-mind for me as a ring designer, and, in documenting some of these designs, I found that there wasn't a space for nuanced color in the world of nail polish. There were so many colors, but none felt truly wearable. They felt designed for the shelf, not for the hand and all its possible tones. The original eleven colors that launched the collection are each a saturated, but laidback shade, intended to feel cohesive instead of disruptive, and versatile enough to suit a variety of skin tones and personal styles.

How it works is: Delightfully simple. I apply one thin coat to clean nails, let it dry completely, then apply another coat over that. If you like, you can use your favorite top coat, but the polish performs well on its own too.

What makes it special is: Our signature colors are inspired by artists’ palettes, natural elements and the muses who we envision channeling specific colors or moods. Our hues are carefully edited to include a range of shades that consider the gracefulness of hands and the role of subtle color as an element in the considered wardrobe. 

One thing you can’t miss is: Our striking green shade, Eames.

My favorite secret detail is: It’s made in California, just like our jewelry!

For me, “clean” or “conscious" beauty means: Honestly, with the amount of green/clean-washing, not a lot! I try to just minimize using things I don't need, while also being aware that, just because something isn’t organic, doesn't necessarily mean it’s bad for you, either.

Our skin is our largest organ, which means that what we apply directly to its surface is absorbed into our bloodstreams. Toxins can infiltrate our skin through our nails (especially given in how many contexts we use our hands). The reality is that most nail polishes do expose our skin and nails to toxic ingredients, so it's important to understand the implications and remove harmful or potentially harmful ingredients. There are eight main harmful and potentially harmful ingredients that should be avoided in nail polish: toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, dibutyl phthalate, triphenyl phosphate, ethyl tosylamide and xylene. All JH polishes are free from these. Many drugstore, and even “high-end” nail polish brands, have eliminated three to five of these ingredients (and a few of them all eight). These are ingredients that most people are unfamiliar with, including us until we got into researching and creating nail polish! We want to equip our customers with information (available on our website) on what these ingredients are and why you should avoid them.

On different “non-toxic” nail polish packaging, you'll commonly see labels that claim it is seven, eight or even twelve or thirteen-free. We used to be complicit in this, call our polish “7-free,” but we realized that these terms are meaningless and don't actually certify the polishes’ safety. We removed that from our packaging because it felt misleading—just because the producers say their formula is “8-free” doesn't mean they are the eight ingredients in question. Sometimes, they include things that are never in polish to begin with like gluten or fragrance. Somethings aren’t even ingredients—“cruelty-free” being the most common. We have no interest in participating in this kind of clean-washing and would rather use transparency and education as a tool to show how we’ve cleaned up our polish, and how to spot misleading claims. I also think what is ok for some bodies could cause issues for others, so I don't think that anyone can claim their product is 100% safe for everyone. 

One ritual you can practice with this line is: Hand spa! Taking the time to give yourself a nice at home manicure (or even going to get a professional one) can feel meditative in the moment and, while I hate to be one to harp on self-care, having well-groomed nails truly does contribute to my emotional well-being.

It can help you live your process because: Hands, like the face, are a part of us that holds identity; in many ways it’s a place that exhibits our practices and can be dressed up or down as a form of expression.

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