PH7 is the center of the pH scale, describing a water-based solution that’s neither basic (alkaline) nor acidic. It’s also the fitting name of a sweet new natural nail salon that opened in Williamsburg, just two months ago, which uses non-toxic polishes and products and a price point that’s not Brooklyn-gone-crazy.
The bright, minimalist salon is the brainchild of Ai Ke and Di Huang (known at pH7 as Helen and Cici), two 29-year-old sisters-in-law who worked in finance (Ke is still a financial analyst) and finally decided to fulfill their dream of opening their own natural nail salon when Huang got pregnant at the start of this year.
“We noticed that you could go to a nail salon and maybe pay extra for a natural nail polish, but not everything was totally safe,” Ke explains. “What’s the point of having a very nice natural nail polish but then your nail polish remover or everything else is toxic?” she adds, leaving no doubt about the answer.
To that end, pH7 uses non-acetone nail polish remover, non-toxic base coat, top coat, and quick dry formulas (from Zoya), and they offer waxing, which is both organic and soy-based. The hand lotion is from Apotheke, a natural body-care line handmade in Brooklyn, as is the charcoal soap in the bathroom. They’re soon adding Panier Des Sens “because it’s more fall friendly.”
As for pH7’s wide array of nail polish colors and brands, you’ll find classic and trendier shades from bigger three-free and five-free brands like RGB and Deborah Lippmann, in addition to indie lines like Sheswai and Uslu Airlines.
“When we opened we had a lot of Essie, and we decided to swap it out,” Ke explains. “You can find Essie at any salon, and we wanted to focus on the nicer natural brands that you can’t.” Similarly, there are no pedicure thrones—just lounge chairs and bowls for your feet, which are easier to clean and said to be way more sanitary (ie: no trapped, hot-tub-like bacteria waiting for your toes). They say they also use a non-toxic cleaning products.
And the design of the salon, which is located in a new building with oodles of industrial design elements, reflects pH7’s keep-it-clean ethos. (Huang took an interior design class at Parson’s this summer to execute it.) You’ll find white-washed floors, mid-century manicure chairs and tables, Turkish hand towels, industrial ceiling lighting, and a cute array of succulents.
“We wanted to keep everything just simple—an open space that’s pretty and bright,” Huang says. And as Williamsburg’s first dedicated natural nail salon, featuring competitive prices for the area ($18 per manicure and $30 per pedicure), it seems like they may have hit the well-polished nail on the head. —Jamie McKillop
PH7, 227 Grand Street, at Driggs Ave., Williamburg, Brooklyn, www.ph7nailcouture.com