Once We Define Our Lanes, Others Will Follow: Portia From BarBella Co.

Updated: Mar 4


What are the toxic chemicals in nail polish that cause skin disorders? Turns out they were hiding in plain sight. It was common knowledge that nail polish contained harmful, Cancer-causing chemicals like phthalates and toluene. But what most people didn’t know was that these chemicals seeped through where the nail meets the skin and into their bloodstream. Soon people started realizing that this chemical wasn’t just affecting their nails — it was wreaking havoc on their health. The products are being sold as if they were normal, but in reality, they contain hazardous toxic chemicals.


When Portia Mathis was a nail tech, one of her friends contracted an extreme case of dermatitis due to the toxic chemicals in nail products. She thought it was counterintuitive for someone to be in the healthcare industry while also engaging in poisonous products. Portia wanted to learn how to create a vegan product that was nontoxic that promotes healthy nails. After working with a manufacturer, she made a formula that works well and is nontoxic.


Portia minored in Spanish and has an affinity for the culture. She envisioned having a beauty bar, where it's a combination of a nail salon with a social experience. Bella means beautiful in Spanish. Therefore it's a play of words between beauty bar and bella. And that's how she was able to come up with BarBella Co.