"It took so long to come up with the name Tenoverten. We came up with it because it’s like 10 over 10—fingers, toes, and we’re open from 10am to 10pm. My dad is like a serial entrepreneur, so he was always encouraging me to work for myself—I went to NYU’s Stern School of Business to study Marketing and International Business. After school, I opened a boutique, which was nerve-wracking and the biggest challenge—particularly in terms of buying. We had a really curated selection of pieces but it wasn’t for everyone necessarily. The thing I didn’t like about fashion was that it was a little bit exclusive. You know, if you came in and you were a size 14, I might not have your size, not because I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t afford to buy that wide of a range of sizes.
At the same time, I would go and get manicures with my business partner, Adair, and we were just so frustrated by the experience. We felt like things in New York are so well thought-out aesthetically, like the restaurants we eat in and the gyms we exercise in, and then you go to nail salons and they all have sort of this similar vibe and the hygiene was really bothersome and customer service was a bit give or take… Like, why couldn’t you book online? So we had a sort of running list and from there we decided to do it. Neither of us had experience in beauty, but it’s a much more inclusive space. If it’s a grandmother or a three-year-old, or it doesn’t matter your shape, your size, the color of your hair, it’s a very feel-good thing for everyone. Even my son wants to get a manicure!
We started making our nail polishes three years ago with my sister. There was a real lack of sophistication in 5-free nail polishes. I was pregnant at the time, my business partner was having a family, and for us, it felt like there should be more options that don’t contain formaldehyde and camphor and all these hot button chemicals. Now we have 29 colors and we’re really moving into nail care products. But 3- and 5-free products are sort of expected at this point, so we’re 8-free now. There’s no such thing as a natural manicure, but we don’t want to use any of the truly harmful chemicals. And we want it to be chic! I love the Whole Foods beauty department, but…
Choosing a color for a manicure is such a way of expressing myself. I happen to be someone who dresses in navy and black and grey and that’s it, so I need to put color on my nails. I don’t do a lot of nail art, but sometimes you’re just in the mood, and you do it. I love the relationship between the manicurist and the client…just the process of sitting down with someone for 25 minutes who I enjoy speaking to. You can’t look at your phone, so you’re disconnecting, but in a very manageable way. And it’s a nice way to make you feel good about yourself and feel like you’re taking care of yourself without being too expensive.
You’ll never really catch me wearing the same color on my hands and feet. I’m not like a matchy-matchy person with my nails. I tend to do sort of brighter colors on my toes. In the summertime, there are certain colors that I’m obsessed with, like Nars Dovima that’s this bright orange. And then our own nude called Fulton, which I’m wearing on my toes right now. I just love it because it’s opaque, so it covers. I don’t like sheer polishes. But I’ve also lately been obsessed with black, which as a pedicure is the chicest thing ever. Everybody has to try it once. I didn’t believe it and then I did it a few months ago. It’s just very elegant.
I wear, from our line, Maiden, which is a deep purple. And sometimes I’ll wear Washington. It’s a little bit more sheer—it’s not like a pure, pure white. It definitely has coverage, but it’s not a pure white. I wear Jane. I like Nars a lot. I like Chanel. They come out with just very unusual colors. And then I feel like RGB does a really good job. Their colors are really great. And they last really long, which is nice.
I keep my nails pretty short and not too round—they’re square with rounded edges. Even when we photograph hands for our website or for anything related to Tenoverten, we really only photograph short nails. It’s sort of a brand thing. And I don’t always have polished nails—I’ll go for a couple days in between colors. I need my nails to breathe. I’ll come home, take the polish off, put cuticle oil on, maybe put our Foundation on, and nothing else. As you get into your 30s your nails become a little more brittle and dry. So I actually take better care of them today than I ever have. I use cuticle oil religiously, whereas before I wouldn’t. Uka makes a nice one that you can buy as a set—I found it at Colette.
I wash my hair almost every day because I like that clean feeling. And I just like to shower. I switch my shampoo a lot, but right now I’m using Rahua. They have this Voluminous Shampoo and Conditioner that’s not weighty on your hair so I like that. It works. It smells really good. I also buy a lot of the Whole Foods shampoos and conditioners. There’s one called Josh Rosebrook that someone bought for me recently I think from Detox Market that I like. But yeah, I’ll use anything. And then when it’s wet, I use Rahua [Finishing Treatment] just on the ends.
Afterwards I usually blowdry my hair. About a year ago, I cut my hair a lot shorter, so it’s way easier than it used to be. I use a T3 hairdryer, which changes the game because it takes like two minutes. But if I’m wearing my hair natural, I just use a little more of that Rahua treatment and walk out the door.
I start with Beautycounter Soothing Face Wash. Christy Coleman, who’s the makeup artist behind it, used to shop at my boutique—so I think I read a piece of press about it and stored the information away for a while. Then I went on a girl’s weekend and one of my friends brought us each a bag of Beauty Counter products. She was like, ‘I’m obsessed with these products.’ So I tried it that way, and now we sell it through Tenoverten because I like it so much. It’s really light and good for sensitive skin. I’ll use a Clarisonic with it maybe like twice a week, but otherwise I just use it in the morning and at night. I don’t think it’s good to use the Clarisonic every day, but I use it because I feel like it’s the same feeling as using an electric toothbrush. It’s the best feeling in the world! Occasionally I want a deeper clean if I feel like I’ve got buildup, so I’ll use Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub. Dr. Hauschka’s Cleansing Cream has a bit of a grain in it, so I use that sometimes.
Since I have a lot of redness in my skin, I use a vitamin serum—Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel has helped even out my tone. And then I’ll use the Beautycounter Countertime Vibrant Eye Perfector to make sure I get enough moisture on that delicate skin. For extra moisture, I use Caudalie Beauty Elixir Spray, which is also like a toner. Actually, that one’s good right out of the shower to lock in all that steam. For moisturizers, in the summer I like the Beautycounter Every Day AM Hydrating Cream because it’s lighter. The Earth Tu Face Hydrate + Repair Face Balm is also a really great, clean product. Or I’ll switch in a mask for my moisturizer—Dr. Hauschka's Hydrating Mask works for that. I’ve also been experimenting with honey as an ingredient. Someone bought me Live Live & Organic Bee Yummy Skin Food, and then there’s this brand called Honey Girl that people are talking about. I have to try a lot for work, so I try not to jump around too much, because I think that’s when you get your skin into trouble.
Oh, I forgot one really important step. I always put sunscreen on every day, no matter what season. Elta MD—it’s the best sunscreen. It doesn’t smell like sunscreen and it's really thin. So I’ll put it on my face and my neck and then the extras on the back of my hands.
When it comes to makeup, I’m not as specific about it because I don’t wear that much. I always curl my lashes, so I’m obsessed with the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler—I have two. And I always do Nars Brow Gel, sometimes with an Anastasia Brow Pen. But in terms of face makeup, if my skin is moisturized, I’m sort of set for the day. Occasionally I’ll put on this Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer. I don’t really wear it that often. But I always do my eyebrows and my lashes no matter what.
If I’m doing a night look, I’ll use a pencil, like a Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Iconic Liquid Eye Pencil. Her products are so good. They’re really creamy. And sometimes it looks too much like a line, so I’ll take a brush and smudge it out. And then I’ll use her Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara. I have a couple more, but I tend to use that one more than others. I don’t really wear blush. I’m already so sensitive about the redness in my skin, so I don’t want to draw attention to it.
But then I have a bunch of lipsticks—I’m like the type of person that will wear no makeup but will wear a very bright lip color. No particular shade… I like hot pink, red, orange-y. My all-time favorite is Chanel Rouge Allure in Passion and I carry that one around with me. I like Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Entourage a lot, but it’s more a winter shade. Nars Lipstick in Schiap is also really pretty.
I am a huge scent person, but not like perfume scent—I prefer air scent. But I’ve tried to pull myself away from candles a little bit because they’re not the best things for you. I’m obsessed with the Diptyque Baies candle, though, it’s the one I can’t give up. Obviously there are soy-based candles and whatever, but I just haven’t found one that I’m totally obsessed with.
I’ve also gotten really into incense. Wherever I go, I buy different ones. In London, I got Balsam Fir. I also really like the idea of lighting white sage to get rid of negative energy. Do I believe it? Yeah, why not? It’s a positive thought. But it just fills your room with such a beautiful scent. Our bedroom is really dark and woodsy, so the experience of doing these things is nice. But before I get in the shower, even if it’s 10:30 in the morning, I light something like that. I do it at night all the time, too. It’s just a really good experience."
—as told to ITG
Nadine Abramcyk photographed by Tom Newton at her home in New York on November 19, 2015.