Walk into almost any nail salon in Denver or across the country, and you’ll likely be greeted with an overwhelming chemical smell. That’s because most salons use polish and products full of harmful and artificial ingredients, like cancer-causing formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). But at Prose in Southmoor Park, you’ll instead be greeted with fresh, ambrosial scents—a result of the salon’s nontoxic, hypoallergenic products that promote nail and skin growth, and actually smell good.

Prose, which started in Phoenix and opened its first Front Range location on June 17, goes beyond your average manicure and pedicure to specialize in rescuing damaged nails. Prose utilizes high-quality products, such as Deborah Lippmann‘s vegan and toxic-free polish and cuticle care products and Margaret Dabbs London‘s hand and foot creams, which use ethically sourced ingredients like emu oil. According to Prose developer Craig Flom, when used regularly, these products can strengthen nail beds and regrow cuticles, which are often damaged by acrylic nails.

“I think the health and beauty aspects align perfectly with the folks in Denver,” says Flom, who also has the rights to self-franchise Prose throughout Colorado.

Setting itself apart from ordinary nail boutiques, Prose selected nail polishes that are vegan and “seven-free,” meaning that they’re sans seven toxic chemicals—toluene, DBP, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, triphenyl phosphate, and xylene. Many of these chemicals, such as camphor, weaken the nail and can be harmful when inhaled. Avoiding these chemicals is not only better for the customer, but also for the nail technician (Prose refers to their technicians as “artists”) who would otherwise be constantly breathing in these chemicals.

Photo courtesy of Prose

“We’re trying to build a different environment for our nail technicians,” Flom says. “We want to treat people like they are family. We’re trying to create a culture that a lot of these folks haven’t had before in their last jobs. ”

While the polish Prose applies is healthier for nail growth, the paint won’t last as long because it lacks the preserving ingredients found in typical, artificial polishes. To keep your nails manicured and tidy, Prose offers membership programs for its clients to have treatments done anywhere from once a month to six times a month for manicures or pedicures.

The prices for each membership vary on how many services you want, and each membership includes discounts on retail products. Right now, Prose is offering early-bird pricing for its memberships so clients can save even more. For example, with the early-bird green membership, you can get up to three services a month for $99 (regular manicures are priced at $45; pedicures are $55).

Even though the South Denver location just opened this month, Flom already has eyes on expanding throughout Colorado—eventually. “Right now, we are focused on giving the best manicures and pedicures,” Flom says.

If you go: You can book an appointment with a Prose nail artist online or by calling 720-506-4949. 5000 East Hampden Ave.

Victoria Carodine
Victoria Carodine
Victoria Carodine is a Denver-based writer and a former editor on 5280's digital team.