Just in time for the start of the fall season, LA-based ten-free nail line côte has brought their clean ethos to Manhattan with a newly opened salon. Setting up shop in Union Square, their first East Coast salon incorporates many of the same California vibes as their original Brentwood location including their signature swings, a living room-like atmosphere, and a glass of côte rosé that’s included with every service. “And we don’t discriminate on the time of day,” says co-founder Mary Lennon. “We want it to be like a mini vacation when you’re here.”
Mary Lennon and Leah Yari
Founded by Leah Yari, an interior designer who is originally from New York, and Mary Lennon, a former teacher and admissions director, côte was created—like most great ideas—out of a need. After not being able to find a non-toxic nail salon to host her daughter’s eighth birthday with polishes that were safe for young girls, but also chic enough for moms, Lennon teamed up with Yari to open their own spot with a corresponding line of ten-free, vegan polishes (109 to be exact) all made in the United States and housed in glass bottles blown in Italy that are also free of toxins.
When you walk into côte’s New York location, though, it’s nothing like a regular salon. As Lennon tells us, côte is “pronounced ‘coat,’ so it's like a coat of polish, but it also means ‘coast’ in French. We're kind of that Southern California meets southern France vibe.” With the New York woman running from place to place, meeting to meeting, stopping by for a manicure at côte is about more than just getting your nails done. “It's really cozy and comfortable. You could sit here and enjoy your service and then go back out and join the real world.,” she says. Thanks to Yari’s design expertise, the space is layed out to “look as if you walked into your best friend’s beach house.” With custom-made furniture and decor pieces, it’s “just like what you’d find in somebody's living room as opposed to your run-of-the-mill I-bought-it-out-of-a-spa-catalog kind of decorating” Lennon says.
Keeping in line with their clean philosophy, it shouldn’t surprise you that the space is pretty much odorless—with the all too familiar scent of polish and acetone virtually undetectable. And it’s not just the colors that are free of the ten most major carcinogenic toxins often found in polishes, but none of the services or treatments contain anything that would affect your health either. Lennon notes that many people concentrate on not putting chemicals on their hair, skin, and body, but tend to forget to add their nails into that equation. “People don't understand that the nail bed is a direct line to the body,” she informs us. “Although it's hard and it seems like a barrier, it's just as porous as your head, scalp, or your hair. [Toxins from standard polish] get into your bloodstream and get into your nervous system and it does make a difference.”
Coinciding with the opening, the line is also introducing a new collection of colors inspired by the Big Apple, including a warm wine red (No. 37), a charcoal grey (No. 99), and a smokey graphite (No. 101). With the busy New York woman in mind, a treatment called “Quick côte” ($20) has also been added to the menu. Lennon describes it as a “polish change that’s anything but basic,” as it features their cold-pressed argan oil, a buff and file, base, color, and top coat, and finally a layer of SPF on the back of the hands. To make your life even easier, côte is also completely cash free with the tip included in the price. “No more grabbing in your pocket, your wallet, or your purse to pull out a dollar or remembering to stop at the ATM before you go,” Lennon says. And for all of you out there with gel, don’t be ashamed—you’ll benefit from the salon’s upcoming Resurface & Repair Base Coat Treatment ($21), which uses lavender extract, ginseng root extract and calcium fluoride to repair the damage caused by gel. Time to give your nails some TLC—naturally. 100 E 13 St.