Natural Beauty Tips 101: Q & A with Kim D'Amato of Priti

Recycling? Check. Organic diet? Check. Ready to take the next step to healthier and greener living? Kim D’Amato, founder of the non-toxic nail polish line, Priti, shares her natural beauty tips for your feet, hands and more. In addition to offering fast drying polishes in an amazing color range, Priti also aims to support organic farmers and to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals on earth, one mani-pedi at a time. Whether you go barefoot, sport Havianas, or slip into stilettos every day, check out Kim’s tips for a DIY mani-pedi routine. Your feet (and the Earth) will thank you!

MindBodyGreen: How did you get interested in natural beauty?  Why is it important to you?

Kim D'Amato: Becoming pregnant with my daughter is really when natural beauty became a big part of my life.  Motherhood introduces us to the idea that we have this new creation living inside of us...and that becomes our stepping stone for changing ourselves for the better. Through doing research on all the various ingredients and products we expose ourselves to on a daily basis, I knew I wanted to raise my daughter in the healthiest and most natural way possible. Shortly after her birth, I went through an ordeal with skin cancer, which only reinforced that I had no choice but to live a green and all-natural lifestyle, for both my and her sake.

MBG: How did you get the idea to start Priti Nails?

KD: The idea for creating Priti NYC nails came during my pregnancy while I was sitting in a conventional salon. The smell of toxins and chemicals from all the beauty products became overwhelming, and I thought, "If I eat organically and use chemical-free household products,  why would I not want to beautify myself in the same manner?" I began working on Priti the next day.

MBG: What are some nail care tips you have for the woman who wants to "DIY" her nail care routine?

KD: There are plenty of great ways to do all-natural, salon-type treatments at home. If you're doing an at-home manicure while watching your favorite movie, soak your hands in a bowl of warm olive oil to re-moisturize. You can make a quick sugar scrub that will remove dry, flaky skin by mixing some sugar and olive oil, apply it to your hands in a circular motion, then rinse. You can also use your favorite organic lip balm on your cuticles to prevent them from getting too dry. If you have any foot problems such as corns or athletes foot, garlic and vinegar is a great at-home remedy. The garlic is anti-fungal and actually moisturizes your skin, while the vinegar removes dry skin accumulation. You want to roast the entire garlic bulb in the oven on high-heat for about 30 minutes or until the cloves have softened. Then remove them from the bulb, mash them into a bowl and add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Apply to your problem areas, cover with a band aid, and in 3 or 4 days you will notice a huge difference.

MBG: Any tips for when we're shopping for beauty products? What ingredients should women look for in their nail polish and nail polish remover/other beauty products?

KD: Always make sure you check the ingredients. For nail polish, never buy anything that contains DBP, formaldehyde or toluene, and make sure you buy polish removers that don't contain acetone.

Look out for lotions and body creams that contain any parabens or synthetics -- you don't want to spread these chemicals on your skin.

MBG: You live in New York City, do you have any favorite nail salons or spas? Favorite mind/body/green places or things?

KD: The James Corbett Studio and Spa in Union Square is great for hair care and full-service spa treatments. ABC Home and Carpet is great for finding anything green, and they also have a delicious new green restaurant. My go-to clothing store is Kaight (pictured, right), where they sell all different organic fashion brands. Sustainable NYC in the East Village has amazing products for gifts and for everyday green living. In general, I believe it's very important to support small business, so I will always make every effort to shop at small boutiques and green stores whenever possible.

MBG: Besides Priti nail care products, what are some other staples of your beauty routine? Do you have any go-to products?

KD: I use Dr. Alkaitis for my skincare, RMS beauty for all my make-up, and Max Green for my hair. I swear by Dr. Alkaitis's Travel Kit -- it has all my skin essentials in one small bag for whenever I am on the road or visiting my native home of Australia.

MBG: Priti was at several of the NY fashion shows this year and you have a lot of celebrity fans -- can you share any stories?

KD: Simple pleasures are really the best. Nothing feels better than getting a hand written thank you note, which I have received from many lovely ladies including Felicity Huffman and Kelly Bensimon.

MBG: If someone is just starting to incorporate more natural/organic beauty products in their life, do you have any quick tips or advice?

KD: Know that it is truly possible to have products that are both green and luxury, so you will never have to sacrifice quality for all-natural. Like I said before, always read the ingredients. The next time you need to buy a new beauty product, stop and look at what it is you are really putting on your body and choose a more natural and healthier product instead. You will quickly realize that the greener choice will work jut as well if not better than the products you are used to, and you can slowly start replacing all your beauty products with the greener choice.

MBG: What nail color trends are you most excited about for this summer?

KD: I love orange nails for summers. Some of my favorites are "Snapdragon," a fiery and bright shade that we used for Rachel Roy's Spring/Summer 2010 fashion show, and "Blue Eyed Brunette," which was the shade of Victoria Barlett's Spring/Summer 2010 show. Nudes and whites are also popular again this season.

MBG: What's next for you and Priti? Why should someone run out and buy Priti right now? Where can we buy Priti products?

KD: 2010 has already been a big year for Priti NY and will continue to be! Renowned airport spa chain d_parture spa has opened their first ever organic spa at Newark Liberty Airport, and will include exclusively Priti NYC products for nail care. For Earth Day, we just introduced The Priti Glass Water Bottle (pictured, right), which is completely recyclable and the safest type of container to drink out of. Our inspiration for Earth Day and the water bottle was inspired by the idea of "beautifying from within" -- so any woman looking to do just that, and experience the durability and quality of luxury products, should become Priti. We are carried at Georgia boutique in New York and at ABC Home and Carpet, to name a couple. The complete product line and list of stores is available on our website.

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