We’re always on the lookout for new talent to join our community of hair and beauty creatives. Introducing; Tabby Casto, the newest addition to the Glasshouse gang. As our Saturday manicurist, Tabby has a wealth of experience in the beauty industry and is excited to bring her new take on manicure classics to the salon. We took some time to chat hopes and dreams, ethical beauty, and of course, nails.
Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you been doing makeup and nails?
I’ve been a makeup artist for just over 8 years now and nails followed shortly after. I started off doing makeup in my hometown Norwich, after assisting a group of inspiring artists. I would say I am a “self taught” artist, but that isn’t entirely true as watching and learning from so many inspiring artists has really taught me what I know. I’ve had my work published in Vogue Italia, Harper’s Bazaar and Bullet Magazine among others and I’ve also worked on several big name beauty counters which taught me a lot about what people want from their beauty routines. Growing up, both my parents were very artistic and encouraged me to be creative and play with colour. My Mum was an avid water colour painter and my Dad was a cartoonist.
Moving to London about five and half years ago really pushed things forward for me. I’ve had some amazing experiences and worked with some great teams. A highlight for me was working with 90s girl band All Saints, who I used to listen to growing up. I’ve also had a few beauty campaigns - one which was blown up in a spa in St. Pancras station which was pretty cool. Nails became a real obsession for me a few years ago. I found myself doing manicures on photoshoots and jobs which sparked my interest. When I properly trained and delved into the “nail world”, I discovered there was a whole plethora of creative mediums that come along with it. It was like discovering makeup for the first time all over again.
How are you finding being part of Glasshouse and what attracted you to begin with?
My work outside Glasshouse is always very mixed and busy so I really love coming into the salon - it’s such a cool and uplifting space that Olivia has created and despite having lots of clients coming in and out it still feels very calm and well organised. I feel that we provide a really relaxing experience for clients and it’s rewarding being able to treat people and give them a little bit of down time. You get a real sense of pride working somewhere that practices what it preaches.
For years I have worked on and off with large corporate brands alongside my freelancing. Although parts of these experiences were fantastic, I felt a little frustrated about working for companies who didn’t really have an ethical stance. The first thing that attracted me to Glasshouse was that it was the complete opposite to this. I love that Olivia has specifically sourced products that are full of natural ingredients and are not tested on animals.
What I noticed in particular was the lack of hairspray chemical smells in the air! Everything seems to have been covered - from the cleaning products used in the salon (all eco-friendly) to the coffee served to customers (it’s ground and brewed sustainably). Then there’s the team! Everyone who works in Glasshouse seems to have a really creative and inspiring background and more importantly, really high standards of customer service and client care. It feels like the perfect fit.
What is it about make-up and nails that keeps you interested?
I love the creative process of playing with textures and colours. With both make-up and nails you can have a lot of fun transforming things. Also you never stop learning new techniques - you never get bored. What I like most is it doesn’t actually feel like a job to me. I love creating and I love people. It’s amazing to share my tips and tricks with others and hear theirs back. There’s also something really lovely about working in a position where you give someone a little bit of your time to make them feel good. It’s completely rewarding.
What do you want to achieve in the future?
I used to want to be the next big thing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve more and more. Then I realised the end goal is not always “success” in fame or recognition. London has this sort of crazy flow to it. A close friend of mine said it’s a bi-polar city - full of big highs and big lows. I think there is some truth to that. For me success would be reaching the age of 70, looking back at my life and feeling that I stayed true to myself and worked with some fantastic people, filling my life with beautiful memories. If I can keep creating and my career takes me to some beautiful places in the world and I meet interesting people who have a story to share, I will be content. The dream is to split my time between home and London and create a network of creatives that I trust. It’s simple but it works for me.
Have you got any grand plans for nails at Glasshouse?
YES! I think Olivia has already had a glimpse of my crazy eyes when I came in and saw all the colours! I want to collaborate with Glasshouse to create alternating nail menus for clients and ultimately make it the spot to come to for nails in Hackney. We already have a huge edge over other salons as we offer the Bio Seaweed Gel and Kure Bazaar polishes. There are also some fantastic options on the menu, The Glasshouse Mani is a favourite with it’s Lemon & Lavender Soak which smells amazing. Look out for some exciting updates coming soon!
What are your three top nail maintenance tips?
1. Do not pick off your gel nails! It’s the worst thing you can do as it rips off nail layers underneath. Always book in for a proper removal to ensure your nails stay in good condition.
2. Use cuticle oil daily - it really helps to keep the nails and surrounding skin healthy and nourished. We do a fantastic organic cuticle oil here called Dadi Oil. If you pop it on your bedside table you’ll be encouraged to use it more often.
3. Have regular manicures - I myself also have to do this as I am a bit of a biter! It’s great to have a fresh polish on as it really lifts your mood and sort of psychologically stops you from biting and picking your nails!
Do you think the Kure Bazaar polishes and the Bio Seaweed range have an edge over traditional nail products?
Definitely - I’m so impressed. The Kure Bazaar has an incredible colour and texture range and as it’s 4-free I’m really keen to replace my own personal polishes with Kure Bazaar. I think for an eco friendly brand it’s also really cool - very sleek packaging and fashion forward colours.
As for the Bio Seaweed I am also sold! I took the entire Glasshouse collection of Bio Seaweed gels home with me for a couple of weeks to try them out before I joined - my friends couldn’t thank me enough! There is a beautiful range of colours and it is certainly less damaging on the nails than traditional gel polishes. This is partly down to the preparation and removal methods we use with it. There is no buffing needed so nails are kept in a much better condition with use over time than other gel polishes. It feels much easier to work with. So far the most popular shade in the salon has been “Peaches” which is a beautiful creamy peach nude.
I’m looking forward to getting to know all the current regular clients and welcome some new faces too. I’ll be in the salon on Saturdays so be sure to book in soon!
To book in with Tabby for anything from a full gel manicure to a simple shape and polish, give us a call on 020 3095 9783, or email email@example.com.
Interview by Lucy Vincent and Lauren O’Neil
Photos by Laura Allard-Fleischl and Lauren O’Neill