the pass beach in Byron Bay

The nature of Byron

A little bit of history

 

Byron Bay is a little beachside town located in the far-north east corner of NSW, Australia. It is a quick 1.5-hour flight from Sydney and just a couple of hours drive south from Brisbane. It’s also home to Sienna.

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While the town may have a relatively small population – just under 10,000 people – Byron is well and truly on the radar globally and nearly 2 million visitors every year come from all over the world for the glorious beaches, healthy lifestyle and thriving food scene. Did we mention the coffee?

The Arakwal people have lived in this area for at least 22,000 years and were here for many thousands of years before the arrival of non-Aboriginal people. The history of Europeans in Byron Bay didn’t begin until 1770. Most people would find it shocking to learn that prominent industries back then were logging, abattoirs and whaling – a far cry from the eco-epicentre Byron Bay is today. The town was actually an active sea port until 1963. All that was about to change though.

the pass beach in Byron Bay

The Byron feeling

 

The town was discovered by surfers during the 60s and with its beautiful bay and beaches, Byron quickly became the ultimate off-the-grid hippy destination. The Aquarius Festival was held in nearby Nimbin in 1973 and with that, the town’s reputation as a happy, hippy alternative town was established. Byron Bay was now synonymous with surf, sun and fun, a reputation that still holds true today. Locals joke Byron Bay is in a little bubble that’s a bit different from the rest of Australia, and it’s true! The main street is full of eco-stores, vegan food and yoga studios, and, also unlike most small surf towns, Byron enjoys all the international influences you would expect to find in a big city, thanks to all the visitors who have fallen in love and decided to stay. It is a real-life piece of paradise that visitors from all over the world come to discover.

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The Byron classics

 

Here’s our little glimpse of Byron; local style.

Surfing The Pass.

The most popular surf spot, the wave here is a perfect place for longboard surfers who come to surf long waves from the point of the bay to the end of the beach. It’s also a good place to learn!

Images: Grace Nail Polish

Coffee at the Road House.

Just a little out of the centre of town, this café is one of the most popular places for locals to grab a coffee, chai or one of the café’s delicious and super fresh dishes made from locally sourced produce.

Images: Nurture Nail Polish

Walking the lighthouse

If you come to Byron Bay, you need to go and see the view from the lighthouse. It’s accessible by car, but if you like walking, there’s a beautiful path along the beach that hugs the headland the whole way.  After your walk, have a swim in Wategos, one of the most beautiful beaches of the area. ‘Walking the Lighthouse’ is one of the most popular activities for locals with many heading up daily for both the exercise and the ‘walk and talk’.

Images: Spirit Nail Polish

Shopping in town

Byron Bay is full of amazing shops where you can buy from some of Byron’s best loved fashion labels and of course, plenty of organic products. It’s the perfect place to wander around and do a bit of shopping for things you won’t find anywhere else. You won’t be able to resist going home with some of Byron’s wildly covetable, Insta-worthy style.

Images: Blossom Nail Polish

Come and visit us soon!
We’d love to hear your highlights or Byron Bay bucket list!

nude nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Sienna – First Made Safe Nail Polish

We are so thrilled to share with you that Sienna recently became the very first nail polish company globally to achieve Australian Certified Toxic-free, Made Safe and Allergy Certified certification from MADE SAFE®.

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Made Safe certification

 

At Sienna, it’s important for us to make a difference, and be conscious of the impact we have on the environment. In fact, it’s the very foundation of our business.  For us it means bringing you high-end nail polish informed by the latest research. It also means aligning ourselves with well-known organisations and gaining certifications so you can see we are true to our word and actively support what we believe in. We want to show you that we really do walk our talk.

black satin nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Who is Made Safe®

 

MADE SAFE® is Australia’s first nontoxic seal for everyday products. They have verified that every ingredient used in Sienna is safe from both a health and environmental perspective. We are committed to making sure all the ingredients in our products meet the Made Safe standards –  not just in our current lines, but in our future lines too.

 

‘Each ingredient will be scrutinized for contamination and examined for potential harm to humans and the environment to meet the highest level of health and safety possible with the best science of the day.’

light pink nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Made Safe wants to change the way everyday products are made

 

Made Safe wants to change the way everyday products are made, with a goal of eventually encouraging companies to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals altogether. We are so proud to be part of the journey and to be recognised for all our work in bringing you a professional quality nail polish that meets the highest health and environmental standards.

Learn more about our work with people and the planet by visiting our certifications page.

Nail polish, Acrylic, Gel explained

What is the difference between non-toxic nail polish, regular nail polish, gel, shellac and acrylic?

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Acrylics

the most artificial of them all and more of a ‘nail enhancement’ than a polish. It is a substance that is balled up, placed on the nail then worked out to form a ‘nail shape’. You can identify acrylics by the way the nail looks raised. To remove you need an electric file which can grind back your natural nail, resulting in extensive damage.

 

Shellac

is actually a brand name! Shellac is actually Gel polish.

 

Gel

Oh Gels. I WISH I could make a non-toxic gel (It needs certain ‘toxic’ ingredients to make it last like it does). They’re the most similar to a normal polish but with extra wear (if you apply them right). They apply like a normal polish but are usually cured under a UV lamp and your nails need to be SOAKED in acetone to remove it. Don’t pick at it because it gets so deeply embedded in your nail (think the top few micro layers) that you will pull your nail off with it.

 

Regular nail polish

These are your classic polishes like your Revlon’s and OPI’s. They’re usually long standing brands but the problem is their formulas (and ethics) are stuck in the dark ages. They contain many of the ingredients that modern users are trying to avoid whilst not giving any longer wear than non-toxic ones. Another thing to note is they and are often not cruelty free or vegan as they are more of the ‘mass market’ brand and sell wholesale to countries like China.

 

Non-toxic polish

Yay! The best of the bunch. Not only are these not damaging to your nail bed but they come without the harsh ingredients that we’re ALL trying to avoid. They’re often produced by smaller companies (like us!) so you have greater capacity to ask questions and develop the trust needed to use these brands.

nude pink nail polish glass bottle with timber cap by sienna with orange flowers

If you’re using acrylics or gels but you want to try going for a natural nail it will take approx. 3-6 months for your nail bed to grow out and look natural. I have seen many people with damage that lasts long beyond the 6 month mark! Your nails should recover eventually but it does take a long time so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

 

And remember: the stronger the polish, the more unnatural the ingredients and the more intense they have to be.

light peach nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

7-free, 10-free, 12-free nail polish explained

Nail polish has something of a dubious reputation when it comes to the ingredients list. A lot of conventional nail polish still contains some pretty dodgy stuff. Formaldehyde, anyone? Us neither.

Organic mid-tone red nail polish bottle with timber cap by Sienna with baby's breath flower background

When non-toxic nail polish arrived to support our health, planet and our manis, the X-free branding of nail polish was developed to show people the number of chemicals a polish is free from. But over time, this has turned into something of a marketing arms race. With no cosmetic governing body, the X-free labelling got out of hand very quickly, with some companies even including animal products in their ‘free from’ list.

We decided to step back from the brouhaha and let our formula do all the talking. We are confident our polish is the cleanest AND will give you a durable manicure. But don’t just take our word for it. We are certified by Made Safe who have analysed every single ingredient and deemed us the cleanest.

Sienna nail polish has always been free of Formaldehyde, DBP, Toluene, Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin, Synthetic Camphor, Xylene and Benzophenone -1.

In the name of our commitment to full transparency, we list all the ingredients in our products on our FAQ’s.

It is worth mentioning that Sienna polish has never contained Benzophenone-1, a known endocrine disrupter. Some of the polishes labelled X-free still include it in their formulas, so when in doubt, check the ingredients list.

woman holding hand outside car window wearing blue nail polish by sienna

Naturally Byron – The New Summer Collection

blond woman holding hands to chest, wearing raspberry pink nail polish by sienna

A morning walk on the beach, a cafe with those we love, a view surrounded by mountains, life in unison with nature and the ocean … The essence of Byron Bay.

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This summer, we present you “Naturally Byron”, a collection in the colours of the beautiful Byron and all the joy it brings us. From the blue azure of Kombi to the vibrant peach of Joy, these 5 new crèmes are all inspired by a moment, an emotion, a memory lived in this unique town.

Blue Nail Polish hand swatch on man by sienna

Kombi – Azure blue crème

This azure blue is inspired by one of the greatest classic of Byron Bay: the Kombi. Want to go on a road trip? Explore the open road? Let yourself be carried away by this intense blue and go on the road, where the wind will take you.

pastel purple lily nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Bohemian – Soft lily purple crème

The delicacy of this soft lily represents the calm spirit and peace someone can feel watching at the ocean.

bright peach Nail Polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Joy – Vibrant peach crème

The smile of a child, his little hand in ours, as if we were alone in the world. Here’s Joy, a vibrant peach perfect for a sunny day full of happy moments.

Raspberry pink Nail Polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Goddess – Dark raspberry pink crème

It’s summer, bring out the goddess in you and let it shine! This dark raspberry will accompany your best outfits to celebrate in style.

Vermilion Red Nail Polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Passion – Intense Vermillion red crème

Here is a bright red as intense as the fire that burns in your heart when you are with the person you love.

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We are really excited to show you this new collection! Here is a colour chart for a comparison of the new nail polish alongside some of our current range, to find the perfect colours for your summer vacation!

colour comparison nail polish glass bottle with timber cap by sienna
top shot of a 100% cotton beige pouch bag with gold dots by freeset global and kukukachu with flowers all around it

The Conscience Gift Bag

top shot of a 100% cotton beige pouch bag with gold dots by freeset global and kukukachu with flowers all around it

Our new Conscience Gift Bag has once again been made by the incredible women of the social enterprise, Freeset Global. This time around we wanted to have a unique ‘Sienna’ style print and so collaborated with the wonderful Kukukachu, a Byron Bay local, to create the perfect subtle design of our gold spots.

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Freeset Global

 

Freeset Global is a company created by Kerry and Annie Hilton in 2001. Just after moving to Kolkata, in India, they realised that most of the women who lived there were forced into prostitution by trafficking and poverty. They decided to create a sewing business to offer jobs to those women, and fight with them against the situation they were living in. It took patience and determination, but their efforts were rewarded and today, they work with more than 250 women, offering them and their families a brighter future.

Freeset Global commits to fair trade and eco-friendly practices and we are proud to work with such a company to create this lovely conscience gift bag. See everyone at work here.

The design

Alana owner of kukukachu design posing at her desk with all her patterns on the wall behind her

It was important for us to create a unique design to reflect our company and so we collaborated with an incredible local print designer, Alana, from Kukukachu studio. Her beautiful patterns and lovely personality inspired us to choose a soft gold spot pattern for our new bags. Check out her design process here.

 

 

 

Check out more designs

close up of a young woman's hands held in front of her, showing her light pink nail polish by sienna in the middle of wild flowers

Spring Nail Colours you’re going to love!

If you were to ask any of our team members, they would tell you Spring is collectively our favourite time of the year here at Sienna HQ! Why? New life, warmer days, brighter mornings, and fresh new flowers blooming. That’s exactly what triggered the inspiration for our most recent collection, Eden.

There is so much choice in the nail polish world when designing new colours, shimmer or cremes, block colour or sheer. The possibilities are endless. But for these five new spring nail colours, we decided to keep it simple and look to the native Australian flora for our palette.

Spring nail colours are typically fresh, warm and inviting- a nod to the changing in season. We chose five gorgeous new hues to see you from day to night, casual to dressy.

pastel green nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Elm- Misty Jade Green Crème

This beauty dusty green has been a long awaited and much requested colour. The slight greyish tinge is a nod to the beautiful gum leaves, a colour that looks just as spectacular in the native bushland as it does on you mani!

light pink nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Fleur- Blushing Bride Pink Crème

One of the spring nail colours we just couldn’t overlook, Fleur is going to be your new favourite pink. Slightly lighter than our best seller Ambrosia, Fleur is soft and delicate but has excellent coverage for such a light shade!

peach nude nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Helena- Apricot Blush Crème

A gorgeous nude for those with fair, warm undertone skin, and a beautifully dusty apricot for everyone else! Helena is an all-round winner, perfectly subtle but with enough kick to take you from day into night.

cherry blossom pink nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Peony- Cherry Blossom Pink Crème

Two pinks in the new collection? Correct! This one is a deeper, brighter shade for those of you who love a pop of colour for your mani! Peony is a cool-toned pink and sits on the pinker side of Bliss.

dark magenta nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Florence- Magenta Plum Crème

Florence is the deep plum that will be your holy grail! Beautifully rich jewel toned colour provides amazing coverage and is our new go-to for our pedicures!

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We are so excited to bring you this collection with colours that have been requested by many of our customers. Make sure you check the chart below for a comparison of these new colours alongside some of our current range, to find the perfect colour for your spring mani!

colour comparison nail polish glass bottle with timber cap by sienna
women hands showcasing their henna

The history of nail polish you never knew about!

The history of nail polish from ancient Chinese high society to Cleopatra

Nail polish as we know it has gone through quite the metamorphosis from Cleopatra’s days. With a rich history spanning back as far as ancient china- our little bottles of long-lasting colour are extremely new-world in comparison. The history of nail polish is something we previously have only touched a surface of, but there is over 5000 years of history to explore.

drawing of a chinese geisha

The history of nail polish begins in ancient China, in its earliest form it was worn by the rulers and those in high society as a symbol of their wealth and power. Early nail polish was a mixture of (definitely not vegan) beeswax, gelatin and egg white dyed with orchids or roses, that was left on the nails for a number of hours leaving a stain. Reds and blacks were very popular colours according to ancient manuscripts, as well as adding in metallic dust of silver and gold. Stained nails were such a symbol of the wealthy and powerful, it was a crime for anyone else to wear, can you believe it!

The techniques of the ancient Chinese then travelled across to India, Africa and the Middle East. Egyptians started colouring their nails with henna. Cleopatra used plant extracts to die her nails a deep blood red, and other mummified Pharaohs were found with henna stained nails. It was popular for women across India and Africa to dye their fingertips with henna as an adornment.

old nail lacquer poster

Nail polish didn’t make its way across into Europe until much later, arriving in the late 18th century with trade deals from India and the Middle east. It was still very much associated with the wealthy at this stage, until the first nail salon opened in the late 19th century in Paris.

Nail polish still hadn’t developed into its liquid form however. Powders and oils were rubbed into the nails and buffed away, leaving a soft pink colour, or a red for the brave! Princess de Faucigny-Lucinge was a style icon with her crimson nails.

collage of images of first nail salon in New York, her owner Mary Cobb and first Christian Dior nail polish poster.

It was only once nail polish travelled across to the US, that advances in nail technology like today’s offerings were developed. The first US nail salon was opened in Manhattan in 1878 by a woman called Mary Cobb. Her $1.25 buff and shine manicures set her up as a successful female entrepreneur- a girl boss even!

The invention of modern day nail polish wasn’t far off at this point in the vast history of nail polish. During World War 1, the US seized German chemical patents- leading to the release of Nitrocellulose onto the American market. The ingredient was then included in car paint in the 1920s, inspiring a French makeup artist Michelle Menard, who was working for the Charles Revson company at the time, to release the first liquid nail polish, essentially an off-shoot of car paint. The Charles Revson company was renamed as Revlon, and became the leader in the cosmetics industry, but not without reportedly having issues with the strong chemicals ruining their customer’s nails.

collage of posters for nail polish publicity

Nail technologies continued to advance throughout the 1950s with the arrival of nail wraps and acrylic nails. Acrylic nails were accidentally developed by a dentist. The materials used to fill cavities in teeth became false nails!

Fast forward to the current day, and there are endless options when it comes to the adornment of colour to our nails. There is a vast spectrum of products suited for every individual’s desires and aesthetic. At one end of the spectrum is peel-off nail polishes that last a few hours on the nails and the other end is acrylic nails, allowing clients whatever shape, length and colour they desire for several weeks without chipping, (though they contain a lot of chemicals to do so).

Where do we sit along the spectrum? We believe we have struck the perfect balance. Our nail polish is free of all the harmful ingredients that can negatively affect your health (think those that were found in the car-paint-esque formulations!) but with good application and care, can last you upwards of a week on the nail. The history of nail polish is 5000+ year tale, but one that is fascinating! We wonder which of our reds Cleopatra would have worn? Maybe Tempest or even Merlot?

medium skin model holding her finger in front of her lips and wearing nude crushed crystal nail polish by sienna

Why we’ve ditched the glitter for our Trailblazer Collection

medium skin model holding her finger in front of her lips and wearing nude crushed crystal nail polish by sienna

In the dreaming and planning stages of our most recent Trailblazer collection, we envisioned a collection of nude glitters that were neutral enough for day-to-day life, but with that high-shine impact to carry you through into the night! But one aspect of this vision didn’t sit well- glitter. We have always known that as a brand striving to be as eco-friendly and compliant with planet-saving practices as possible, including glitter in our colours wasn’t a positive move for Mother Earth.

When washed down the drain, glitter breaks into smaller pieces and becomes a subset of marine plastic litter known as microplastic. Microplastics, which measure less than five millimetres in length, are found throughout the world’s oceans, ‘coating’ the water as a type of insultation and ingested by marine animals from plankton through to whales. It has been documented that when collected in their stomachs, glitter can cause seabirds to die of starvation.

 

There are an estimated 51 trillion microplastic fragments in the world’s oceans- more than we can even fathom existing.

 

The physical impact of microplastics on the environment and wildlife is well documented- but the impacts on human health is yet to be determined. For you lovers of seafood- microplastics ingested by fish can then end up inside of humans when consuming seafood.

So how have we gotten rid of the glitter from our products but maintained the high-shine finish? A shimmer pigment called mica- a natural material derived from crushed crystal, sourced from only reputable manufacturers. The beauty of substituting out glitter for the crushed crystal, is that we remove the plastic element, removed any potential for our nail polishes to contribute to the microplastics war, but upped the shimmer factor AND adds durability to your manicure!

We are so proud of our Trailblazer collection. It has been a long time coming, but we needed to make it perfect, and we think we have done just that! Say goodbye to glitter, and hello to high impact shimmery nudes that are hard to resist!

different skin tone models wearing the same silk gold dress and wearing crushed crystal nail polish by sienna

The Trailblazer Collection- our 5 eco-friendly nude glitters

different skin tone models wearing the same silk gold dress and wearing crushed crystal nail polish by sienna

“For years I have been dreaming of this trailblazer collection teamed up with this shoot. It was one of the first collections I EVER wanted to do! And here it is; my proudest moment yet. I’ve done this for all of you, for all of us. Let me know what you think!” xx Danielle

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5 environmentally-friendly, nude shimmers for 5 different skin tones, all through the rainbow that is us, that is life.

 

The Trailblazer Collection is for Every Body, Every Mind and Every Soul. For too long there has been a lack of representation in all media so I wanted to work with women that have bodies just like me, my friends, my family and all of you. It’s so important for us to see ourselves.

As you’ve seen we have recently dropped the use of Glitter in our range because of the harmful effects it has on the oceans and our environment, so we wanted to show you it could be done another way. There’s no glitter in this range, though its hard to believe, its actually a crystal! A crushed up crystal rock to give that glittery shine.

We are all so proud of this shoot- created at Studio Tropico in Byron Bay by one of our favourite photographers with our favourite models from all over the world. And with the colours of the world. Nude enough to compliment your skin tone but with enough chunky flecks of gorgeous shimmer to shine when hit by the light.

We want to speak to you- to all of you.