This Chicago Salon Owner Is Building A Cruelty-Free Beauty Empire

Pear Nova founder Rachel James in front of a billboard featuring her and her brand. Image: instagram/@_rachilla

When Rachel James first entered the beauty industry, she arrived with a passion for beauty and fashion, and a goal to fill a void in the nail community. At the heart of Pear Nova, her rapidly evolving brand of fashion-forward cruelty-free polishes is a mission to celebrate the abounding hues of Black women and bring representation to an industry that too often ignored them. 

Since launching in 2012, the Chicago native has transformed her small brand into a growing enterprise. And last month, the mom, multipreneur and owner of Pear Nova Studio in the Windy City, added a new product, Refresh, to her burgeoning nail collection. “As Pear Nova grows and evolves, we are dedicated to creating clean products with the preservation of our bodies and Earth in mind,” James tells EBONY. All of Pear Nova’s products are vegan and cruelty-free, and Refresh, a polish remover made of soy, jojoba seed oil and tea tree oil is no exception.

“The harsh ingredients in acetone remover are drying to skin and nails and they give off a strong odor,” says James of the most widely used polish removers on the market. “Refresh includes tea tree oil, which gives off a clean scent, and will gently remove classic lacquer and leave skin moisturized.”  With a soy polish remover, James says those on a nail health journey will be pleased with the benefits of Refresh’s properties. Refresh’s non-acetone formula gently removes classic nail lacquers while nourishing the nails and infusing the surrounding skin with Vitamins A, D and E.

Nail health has been a focus for James who set out to celebrate all skin tones with her nail lacquer line. But that’s only part of the reason her polishes are loved by so many. With shades like “Michelle Our Mama,” “Frida Be Free,” “Dianna Boss” and “Cleo F*ckin Patra,” all part of the Brown Girl Magic Classic Collection, women of color can sport shades that were created with their health and hues in mind. Now, with a nail polish remover, James says women have a complete system available to experience a conscious manicure from start to finish.

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