Jenna Hipp and Vanessa Gualy – The Gracefully Green, Sleek & Snazzy Duo
Tell us a little about yourselves, what are your backgrounds & where do you come from?
Jenna: I was born in WV and raised in Maui, Hawaii with my dad since elementary school. I’ve always loved nature, was always in the water surfing by 5:30am. I was home schooled for most of my high school and graduated a year early. I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart and started my first company, Hipp Artist Management when I was 20 years old. At 23, I moved to Los Angeles to open a photographer division. While working on set, I met Lisa Postma, famed Hollywood manicurist, and we instantly had a connection.
“The nail world completely crept up on me.. and I’m so glad it did!” – Jenna
Vanessa: Together, we share a love of an eco, healthy lifestyle. More than just painting nails, spreading the word on clean cosmetics is what we’re both extremely passionate about. We love being able to collaborate with like minded companies and meeting others dedicated to the cause. We’re inspired by these great women and incredible brands who are pioneering a cleaner future in beauty and we both feel it’s a gift to experience these brands and products on such intricate levels.
Where are you currently located?
Our Nailing Hollywood headquarters in appropriately placed in the photo district of Hollywood, CA. 🙂 Our office is inside Space 905 Sound Stage/Photo Studio.
How did each of you become involved in the nail industry?
Jenna: I’ve been working on shoots since age 15. I did a little modeling, but realized I really loved what was going on behind the scenes more than anything else. Since then, I’ve dabbled in just about every job in the industry from makeup artist to production, to photo agent before finally discovering that the celebrity nail industry had room for one more.
Vanessa: For me, learning about “green” nails from the pro only added fuel to the fire of uncovering the dirty side of the entire cosmetic industry (not just nails). This information is important to share since there should be no place for carcinogens and toxins in beauty and nail products. My interest in nail care is completely due to Jenna.
The two of you compliment each other very nicely in the nail industry. How do your personalities drive your business?
Vanessa: We joke that Jenna’s the face of the biz while I’m the brains! She’s the social butterfly out building relationships on set and thinking up most of the initial ideas for the company while I’m the one behind the computer making all those ideas happen. We’re fortunate to have complimentary strengths and have fantastic synergy. We both feel extremely happy in our rolls and are thrilled that we get to do the part of the business that we like to do. We divide the responsibilities by our individual talents and skills. Most importantly, we’re both very grateful to be in this together. Mainly, it’s just way more fun!
“Also, together we can accomplish so much more than we can independently on our own. We acknowledge this on a regular basis and are very mindful to show each other, if even in a small ways, how appreciative we are of each other all the time.” – Vanessa
What nail products do each of you use on your own nails?
Jenna: If I don’t use it on myself, I don’t use it on my clients. I’m such a HUGE fan of RGB Cosmetics for Nail Polish. So much so, I recently launched a collaboration called HIPPxRGB Nail Foundations…The first line of 4 nude nail polishes designed to match each skintone. I’m also obsessed with H. GIllerman Organics Aromatherapy Essential Oils. These oils have been so effective with not just myself, but with my clients. They have changed my life and my business for the better and I can’t imagine a day without them now. For hydration, I love love John Masters Organics Cacao and Cupuacu Hand and Body Butter as it penetrates deep and leaves skin glowing and fresh, not dry and ashy. One more thing- I can’t leave out my Dr. Hauschka’s Neem Oil Pen and St. John’s wort Footcream. I’m the one who feels like a celebrity when I use them!
Vanessa: I’m all about the hydration especially emphasizing around my cuticles so hand and nail balms are must haves for me. I love HGO Labs Hand & Body Balm, Revolution Organics All-Over Body Balm and One Love Organics Skin Savior. I also often reach for organic coconut oil or olive oil. I only file my nails with our Nailing Hollywood Crystal File as it files the nail gently without ripping into the free edge like traditional rough emery boards. For nail color, it’s HIPPxRGB Nail Foundation in F1 or F2 on my hands most of the time. I’m a huge fan of red toes so I usually wear RGB Cosmetic’s Too Red or Red for my pedicure.
We adore your commitment to making the industry a greener place. How did it come about and has it been a difficult journey?
Jenna: The switch came with the symptoms. Nosebleeds. Rashes. Headaches. Dizziness. Forgetfulness. The realization that I could no longer expose my body to everyday beauty products/cleaning supplies/ perfumes let alone my nail supplies, forced me to take control of my health and my career for myself and my clients. I had to create a new title that described my newfound green and eco ambitions for the nail industry… that’s how “The Green Celebrity Nail Stylist” came about. I wanted to publicly identify a standard for my- self, my clients, and hopefully inspire other industry professionals out there who are thinking about switching over their products.
“I believe in embracing the entire condition of the skin and nails, from the inside out as well as sourcing organic topical products and at home remedies.” -Jenna
Vanessa: Once I heard Jenna’s story, the book worm in me had to dig in and read all about toxins and carcinogens in the beauty industry. Since I’m one of those people that once I know something I can’t “un-know”, I had to make personal changes as I became more educated on this topic. Learning that the cosmetic product industry in the US is virtually unregulated was astounding and utterly disappointing to me. Thankfully through other resources, there’s research and information out there to educate oneself on making healthier choices. Personally, I love two books Not Just a Pretty Face and No More Dirty Looks.
“I find being green pretty empowering. First of all, I use less “stuff.” I used to be the girl that had a million products and it feels great to only need a few heavy hitters.” -Vanessa
Now, I only invest in quality multi-taskers freeing up my bathroom space and making travel much lighter. The products I use now are a million times more effective and beneficial than their dirty counterparts. I’m still on the lookout for better green options in some areas but for the most part, I am so happy to left my dirty ways behind. Second, now that I’m into “clean” cosmetics, I actually feel cleaner than ever. I’ve become sensitive to being aware of all the filler chemicals in products and now they just feel “filmy” to me.
What are your thoughts on animal testing and what’s the best way to find out if products are tested this way?
We are both HUGE animal lovers and part of our being “green” means we only support cruelty free products that do not test on animals. Look for the Leaping Bunny seal! Also, we only use products that say they are not tested on animals- companies will often inform you on their packaging, so always keep a look out. Online research is the best way to find out about a product and our favorite website is the Skin Deep Cosmetics Data Base that will rate your product from 1-10 on it’s toxicity and educate you on all the nitty gritty details.
How important is it to you both that people are informed correctly about the ethical beliefs and values of a company and what difference does this make for the customer?
Jenna: Our goal, and what’s very important to us, is that people are informed correctly, no matter the brand or company. What individuals choose to do with it once they have the information is completely their choice!
“Mainly, we want to share information that gets people thinking for themselves. I hope every woman out there looks at each of her 288 products and asks herself, is this good for me? Do I want to support this company?” -Jenna
What kinds of changes have you seen in the nail industry over the years? Do you think it will become a greener industry?
Jenna: Not so many years ago, the term “green manicure” wasn’t even a thought. Over the past 5 years, I’ve seen the entire beauty progress quickly, which is only affirming to us that we are on the right track. Fortunately, many green nail products have popped up so green, clean, and organic products have become much more accessible. People are just now starting to understand the importance of organic ingredients and we strive to continue the education process, explaining ingredients and providing consumer awareness to eliminate the potentially very harmful side effects before they happen.
For example, when a product says “3 or 4 Free”, they are pertaining to the carcinogenic chemicals that has been removed from the formula. This usually means formaldehyde, DBP, toluene and formaldehyde resin. The chemical dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, acts as a binder to improve the lasting power of nail lacquer. But it’s also been linked to cancer in lab animals, and underdeveloped genitals and other long-term fertility problems in newborn boys. Even though toluene helps suspend the color and creates a smooth texture, it also affects the central nervous system and can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Toluene is also a reproductive and developmental toxin. In fact, studies have noted an association between toluene exposure and an increased incidence of spontaneous abortions.
“Can you believe these chemicals are still prevalent in America because the consumer demand to remove them just isn’t there? Want to hear something amazing? Laws do not require cosmetics companies to prove that products are safe before putting them on the market.” -Jenna
The bottom line is people just don’t know the kind of chemicals that are in these products, and they don’t realize that the U.S. government doesn’t protect them against them. Formaldehyde is still found in nail polishes as it acts as a hardener even though it is a known carcinogenic. But now that formaldehyde is under so much scrutiny, companies have taken the ingredient out, but instead replaced it with formaldehyde resin, which companies are not legally required to reveal.
Tell us a little about your 5 free HIPPxRGB nail foundation?
Jenna: Because of the constant demand for the “perfect nude” on cover shoots, I created a collection of 4 custom nude shades based for every skin tone called “Nail Foundation”. We teamed up with RGB Cosmetics founder, Gina Carney to create HIPPxRGB, a continuing collection based on the color needs Jenna sees in the fashion industry. Similar to the concept of foundation for the face, Nail Foundation is the first of its kind designed to match and compliment your skin tone for an even, flawless finish that’s customized just for you.
“Thankfully, it’s been a huge hit with our clients and Jenna has already used it on many different celeb covers. We’re just so relieved people like it!” -Vanessa
Update* HIPPxRGB Nail Tints have recently launched: Similar to the Nail Foundation, the four new tints mimic skin tone, resulting in a natural, sexy nude nail. The difference is in the formula, while the foundations offer opaque coverage, the tints provide a lighter, sheer finish.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on the nails and nail art of the future?
Vanessa: Nail blogs are amazing because they inspire and share nail trends, art and ideas. Because of the Internet, nails have exploded! It’s easy to find new looks and learn how to recreate them.
What items can you both never leave home without?
Jenna: For sure, my H. Gillerman Muscle Remedy and Travel Remedy. They are my instant life savers and provide an instant pick me up- anytime, anywhere. Plus, everyone always tells me how amazing I smell and I like that. 🙂 Also, can’t leave without my iphone – I’m a little bit of a tech geek and love to discover what all the different aps can do. Plus, I always gotta be prepared for a fun moment- the iphone takes amazing photos!
Vanessa: I’m the same! It’s gotta be Hope Gillerman’s essential oils. Seriously, they are addictive! They remedy an ailment, clean the air you breathe, relax you and completely better your mood. The world feels like a better place when you’re armed with these oils. Lip balm- I NEED!
Any tips for great nails at home?
Jenna: Repurpose your old toothbrush. Instead of pitching it, use it with warm soapy water to give nails – hands and toes- a quick scrub.
Use a crystal glass nail file to shape nails and smooth out rough cuticles. Your nail shape, just like your nail color, can do wonders for the illusion of thinner and longer nails. A little rounding to sharp corners, (avoiding the square) creates a shape called squoval which is a little square and a little oval, which looks great on most people. A blunt, square nail shortens your nail and your fingers. If you’re into the trends, the almond shape is really in right now, so file tips to a point to stay on point.
A quick way to care for your hands is to give it the same beauty treatment as your face… at the same time! Applying an eye cream? Apply a touch to your knuckles too! Treating a dark spot on your cheek? Dab a bit on the problem area on backs of hands, too.
“The main thing is to give the same love to your hands that you do to your face. You will be amazed at what a confidence booster it is to have nice looking nails!” -Jenna
It’s okay to be picky, it can be seriously intimidating when walking into the nail polish section. With what seems like thousands of colors to choose from, it’s no wonder we all feel overwhelmed! Here are a few tips to help make the process of choosing your perfect color fun and easy!
1. Create a polish wardrobe – If you purchase a cute box or container to keep your colors and nail supplies organized, you’re more likely to use them. Keep polish bottles clean by wiping down the top of the bottle with nail polish remover after each use and store in a cool, dry place (NOT the refrigerator!) as this ultimately makes polish thick and goopy.
2. Plan your purchase. – Special event? Dinner Date? Job Interview? Know what your buying for and what your wearing before you splurge! Plan your nail look ahead of time so you know exactly what you’re looking for. Keep your focus and don’t get distracted and you could save hours and money!
3. Don’t get lured into nail polish ‘sets’ – Polish companies often come out with really cute nail polish “sets” at a discounted price, for a movie we love, or for the season. Understandably, we are easily lured in to the box sets, especially since all the colors are complementary of each other. This is where the problem lies. Just because the colors look great together in the package, that doesn’t mean they will all look great on you. It’s best to stick to purchasing individual bottles so you don’t end up with an overloaded, confusing collection at home.
Vanessa: Apply coconut oil to cuticles before bed to get the benefits of an overnight treatment. I’m motivated to feel good so I’m also a huge fan of exercise and healthy cooking. Healthy comfort food is my niche. Another dream is to write a cookbook.
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
Jenna: Even though there are actually a few things I’m pretty good at, there are some things (like singing, dancing, public speaking and math) that I’m just, um… not so coordinated with. I would love to be almost the best at everything I did or tried to do.
“If I was the absolute best at everything, that would just get dull and boring. I need a good challenge! For now, I’ll just keep it off the dance floor.” -Jenna
Vanessa: Make money grow on trees. In our world, money talks and I’d like to use money for good things – supporting local business, small business, causes, charities, organizations – not for greed.
Thanks to Jenna & Vanessa for answering our questions and sharing a more about their fab work. To learn more about the ladies be sure to visit www.jennahipp.com.
Stay tuned for more interesting interviews with other fun & fearless members of the nail industry.