Yellow Iron Ore Foraged From The Wasatch Mountains In Nevada.
This pigment is part of the Dust To Dust collection.
Death Valley Nails breaks down this pigment by hand from a whole, foraged yellow iron ore with a mortar and pestle. The polish is naturally colored from the pigment that is broken down and will have texture as well as larger pieces of pigment present in the polish finish. Each batch will have slight color variations as we use different parts of the rock.
Naturally, larger particles will stick to the bottom and sides of the bottle and not suspend in the polish base.
The Dust To Dust Collection
Pigment is a steward of history.
Earth pigments are crushed or extracted minerals from rocks that give us a color experience. Powdered land.
Earth pigments have been used in the making of art and for communication since Homo sapiens have been on the earth. Rich pigments have been used to tell the stories of past civilizations through cave drawings, burials, rituals and ceremonies.
At a time when we seek out connection through so many different outlets, the notion prevails that a core connection between us with each other, and us and the earth, is pigment.
Through this polish series we are exploring the life cycle of soil, stone, and bone.
The earth pigment nail polish is composed of rocks that were foraged by hand in specific locations and then broken down, by us, into a pigment for nail polish. When wearing these polishes, you are physically wearing the place where the minerals in the pigment were foraged.
The grass-fed bone polish is an exploration of sustainability and the start of a conversation about purposeful recycling in the cosmetic world. The bones are currently sourced from Watterson Ranch in Bastrop, Texas.
This polish, both in color and form, is the antithesis of the synthetic plastic glitters in the cosmetic industry: bones are inherent to all living vertebrate in nature, glitter is created in a lab. Bones decay over time, glitter takes hundreds of years to decompose. This product is recycled, while the plastic used in cosmetics industry is a huge source of pollution. Instead of creating a product that continues to pollute, this product is made from an otherwise unused organic material recycled in to a beauty product.
With this polish our goal is to try and re-use unconventional materials in nature as an answer to the beauty industries growing waste problem.
This polish has no added pigment, it is naturally colored and textured by only cattle bones. This specific product is therefore not vegan. These bones are left behind after the cattle is processed on this farm. We are not creating a demand for these bones, as they would exist and be unused regardless of us, but we do see it as an opportunity to create something sacred from what is left behind. This polish contains life, and we want to honor that life.
This is our process: gathering, boiling, scrubbing, boiling again, and drying. The bones are then heated in increments of two, four, and six hours, annealing between each firing. They are broken into small pieces which are ground into pigment by hand with a mortar and pestle.
Bone polish is made from the bones of grass-fed and finished cattle in the Austin, Texas area.
This polish was largely inspired by Dan Barber and the sustainability work that he champions through Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
The bone and earth pigment polishes emerge from a place where every component in the cycle of life meet. In her essay, “Bone Body: English Potteries and Colonial Violence,” Kate Thomas speaks of the potter and his relationship to bone china.
“This history reminds us that pottery emerges from the place where everything on the farm — and therefore in the cycle of life — meets and makes sense: where soil and stone meet air and rain. The cow’s muzzle touches the earth as she eats clover. The pig’s strong snout unearths acorns. The gander’s webbed foot presses, his beak twists and uproots tender grass. Our human hands turn and return the soil, closing the earth to receive the dead. Opening the earth to receive life. Here, where pottery comes from, is also where we — plant and animal — come from, and to where we return. For dust thou art. But while all pots are made of earth and the workings of its geologic clock, the art of pottery reaches past cyclical lifespans. When soil, stone, and water are fired, they seize at the meeting point of mortality and immortality.”
We feel that the same sentiment applies to these polishes.
Powdered land. Powdered life.
-Death Valley Nails
Death Valley Nails creates products that are vegan, cruelty-free and nontoxic. Their polishes are ten-free. Ten-free means that their polish base is formulated without formaldehyde, toluene DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, parabens, phthalates, or added fragrances. All of their polishes are free of ingredients derived from animals, outside of the Bone polish which is made from otherwise un-used animal bones in support of local farms (more on it here). A complete list of ingredients can be found here.
All of their products are made by hand, by them, in small batches. They are passionate about the creation of high-quality beauty products that are responsibly made. They cycle out polishes frequently to make room for new colors and collections.