Rescue Beauty Lounge (or RBL for short) owner and founder Ji Baek opened her first New York City nail salon in 1998 after being dissatisfied with the standards she felt she saw at other salons and spas. Today, RBL isn’t just a salon chain. It’s also a line of bath and body care products and, most notably, a unique brand of nail polish.
Before she opened her first salon, Ji wondered if she really wanted to be the clichÃ© of a Korean nail salon owner, but what Ji saw was an opportunity to elevate nail salons and set a new bar in professional nail care. “You have a great concept,” her husband said, “I’ll be by your side and help you. You can’t go through life with ‘what ifs’.”
Some of my favorite RBL polishes ($18 each)
As a self-admitted germophobe, Ji designed her spas to standards of hospital-grade cleanliness, and her philosophy takes overall nail health to heart.
When creating her nail polishes, Ji wanted to set herself apart from other brands by bringing the same philosophy and discipline she brought to her salon to her nail polishes as well. She boasts that several lab technicians almost quit trying to meet her standards, which were for a long-wearing polish made without the the use of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, toluene or animal testing.
Aside from their great performance, creativity also sets RBL polishes apart. Collections are often inspired by the runway, and their shades are frequently imitated by others. Iconic colors like Black Russian, a black base with red glitter; Stormy, a dark gray creme; and Recycle, a deep hunter green creme, have all been replicated by larger nail lines. RBL is all about saving us from the boring hum-drum of average nail polish brands.
A few more of my favorites…
Under the Stars
Rescue Beauty Lounge also pushes forward on the creative front by connecting with their audience at their spas, and I think they realize that there’s a whole world of lacquerheads who are fanatical about nail polish.
Not too long ago, Rescue Beauty Lounge gave the opportunity to three nail bloggers to create the nail polish of their dreams. Scrangie, a purple with iridescent blue and green shimmer, came out of that collaboration, created by the author of the blog of the same name. The color is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before on the market.
If you can’t make it all the way out to New York, you can still set up your own RBL at home. Ji is also the author of Rescue Your Nails, a practical manual for home nail care. After reading it, I felt more confident in my at-home manicures, and now I feel that they’re as good (and definitely more sanitary) as the ones I used to get at my corner salon.
Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polishes are available through RBL’s website for $18 each, and they do ship worldwide.