Back in January, I decided to start the year off with naked nails. I wanted to detox from the chemicals found in most polishes and let my nails simply breathe. I used to get my nails done every other Wednesday: it was a staple in my self-care routine. When the pandemic set in a few months later, I found myself jonesing for some color to brighten an otherwise dark world. When friend and founder of TQE Lauren posted the most brilliant watermelon red manicure on her IG story, I had so many questions! What salon could she have gone to during Covid? Did she possibly do that mani herself? That’s when she turned me onto Olive & June, a Los Angeles based, female-owned, all-things-manicure related company answering all of our nail needs.
Olive & June, named after founder Sarah Gibson Tuttle’s (SGT) great-grandmother and grandmother respectively, has mastered the art of the “nailfie” - that ever-coveted, Instagrammable selfie of your freshly self-painted manicure. Everything about this company has captured my heart and I’ve raved to anyone who will listen. My new favorite compliment is, “Wow, your manicure looks great! Where did you go that’s Covid safe?” To which I proudly reply, “I did these myself!” Jaws drop. “I know, riiight?!”
The company puts their mani-enthusiasts above all else, and you feel it from the moment you purchase your first Everything Box: complete with all the necessary tools including a dual-grit buffer, a dual-grit file, nail clippers, polish remover pot, cuticle serum, a clean-up brush, top coat and a polish of your choice. Their holistic approach to the at home manicure turns the most untalented of polishers into pros while being mindful of the ingredients being used. All of their polishes are vegan, cruelty-free, and 7-free, meaning the top seven toxic chemicals, like formaldehyde, are excluded.
Eeny Meeny Miny Moe
Chromotherapy (aka color therapy) can be traced back to ancient Egypt where color was used to elicit certain emotional and physiological responses in the body. Blues tend to be calming while reds are noted to conjure feelings of passion and eroticism. If you’re feeling indecisive, opt for one of O&J’s ombre kits, and paint each nail a different color of the rainbow.
I’ve always resorted to pale pinks as my go-with-everything staple and varying shades of seasonal-dependent reds. Think orangy hues in the summer and bluer emo-tones for winter. I particularly loved Olive & June’s long-lasting CCT colorway, named after Cologne Trude, co-founder of Show Me Your Mumu. O&J describes this sheer pink polish as, “effortless and feminine, just like her Mumu creations.”
Each polish is aptly named after the owner, SGT’s, BFF’s. Powerhouse entrepreneurs like jewelry designer Jennifer Myer (JM), Dry Bar’s founder Alli Webb (AW), and Olympian Louise Hazel, aka “Lou Lou”, (LL) have inspired the names of the polishes with their own hue to match their personality: success, savvy, and charm.
I’m currently coaxing Fall into sweater-weather submission with a drinkable burgundy that goes by the name of ‘SC’, named after Sali Christeson, founder of Argent, a workwear fashion line.
If you’re craving your own fall staple like a pumpkin spice latte, there’s a kit for that too! These desert-inspired tones include a warm cinnamon, sandy apricot, toasted almond, and sun-kissed terracotta.
How do you choose which delicious color to select out of their 45 colorways? Pop over to their Instagram account for inspiration. If you’re feeling like coloring outside the lines, purchase their nail art stickers or put a unique spin on a classic French Manicure by painting the tips red instead of white.
Need A Hand?
Sarah Gibson Tuttle spent a year in research and development with industry specialists before introducing this tool, which can only be compared to having a third, ambidextrous hand. This game-changer tool provides a steady hold for your non-dominant hand, making polish applications surprisingly easy on both hands.
The flat, curved bristles of the polish brush also allow you to paint your nail in less than 3 strokes, which helps to reduce streakage. If you accidentally scribble outside the lines, there’s no need to fret. Simply dip your fingertip in the ‘Remover Pot', a specially designed, sponge-filled, acetone-free polish remover, and start over.
The days of messing with sticky cob-webby cotton balls are over! The ‘Clean-Up Brush’ will magically erase the smaller mishaps making your nails look salon perfect in record time.
I was intimidated that I wouldn’t be able to recreate the perfect squoval (square/oval) shape that my favorite manicurist does. O&J has designed a straight edge nail clipper, making shaping your tips effortless. Follow their 90/10 rule: clip 90% and file 10% to achieve your desired shape.
Within the The Studio Box there’s an ingenious “shelife” for your selfie – a built-in shelf that supports your smartphone, while you create your own instructional video or nailfie.
Back To School
You can practically earn a PhD in beautifying your nails at Olive University, a tuition-free, educational platform that teaches you everything you need to know to achieve a salon-perfect home mani. The brand also hosts a Mani Bootcamp, which is a 7-day Instagram Story program.
Each day gets progressively more challenging and moves from painting with beginner’s colors (sheer neutrals) to intermediate colors (brighter colors and opaques) to the more advanced colors (deep jewel tones and reds). Graduate with honors by posting your new nailfie with your O&J Instafilter. You’ll feel like a pro in no time.
Back when I was visiting salons, I opted for a flash-dry gel polish. Who has the patience for air drying regular polish? O&J’s has a solution for that. Typical dry time clocks in at under two minutes per coat, an anomaly for non-toxic polishes. Their proprietary formula has binding resins which make for a quick dry, and also eliminates the need for a base coat. And, best of all, I’ve managed to stretch my chip-sensitive nails to last well over a week with a little O&J recommended TLC.
Hat's off to Olive & June for nailing the perfect DIY manicure kit - I give it two beautifully painted thumbs up!
5 More Reasons To Love Olive & June
• Drew Barrymore and Jessica Alba are regular visitors to the Olive & June nail studio.
• O&J just launched its ‘Refer-A-Bestie” program. For every friend you recruit, you’ll receive $10 (or one bottle of polish), and your BFF will save $10 on a purchase of $50 or more.
• The brand just launched a Hand Serum, which offers a hydrating boost that also brightens to your skin. Perfect when winter’s coming.
• Don’t destroy your cuticles with a sharp clipper (I still have scars). O&J instructs you to buff them back with their Dual Grit Buffer Cube.
• In addition to their website, you can purchase Olive & June at your local Target store nationwide, or visit one of their brick and mortar salons in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, or Pasadena.