Freshly painted nails can give a sleek, well polished look to any woman, but have you ever wondered what chemicals are in those polishes? An open bottle of conventional nail polish always makes me feel dizzy and nauseous – that smell is so overpowering (toluene)! I sometimes chew my nails (and the polish) and now that my older daughter puts it on quite often, I want to make sure to get the least toxic ones. That means getting nail polishes that are free of the “toxic trio”, which includes:
Dibutyl phthalte – A plasticizer used to prevent nail polish from becoming brittle. It is banned by EU and Health Canada because it may be an endocrine disrupter and toxic to the reproductive system. It also causes failure of liver and kidney in little children.
Formaldehyde – A very common ingredient in nail hardeners. It is a well known carcinogen!
Toluene – This chemical has been found in breast milk and when inhaled, it causes drowsiness and headaches as well as irritation of respiratory tract.
There are also a few brands that call themselves “5-free”. In addition to the chemicals above, they have also removed:
Formaldehyde resin– This is what makes nail polishes shiny and durable. Can be an allergen.
Camphor– A plasticizer that acts as a cover on the nails. This poisonous ingredient can cause seizures and disorientation.
However, it is important to know that just because the label does not list these ingredients or even says that it is free of them, is not necessarily true. A study done by California Department of Toxic Substances Control found that a lot of the polishes they tested that were labelled to be free of these toxic chemicals, had in fact contained a large amount of them. And some nail polishes which made none of these claims, were in fact, free of these chemicals. Unfortunately, the lack of regulation of beauty products is a serious problem in America. These ingredients are banned in the EU but not in the USA.
Still, if you’re a polish enthusiast like myself, then there are some more natural options available. Here is a list of some of our favorite natural nail polishes that are cruelty-free and responsible:
1. Inglot O2M Nail Polish: Inglot was one of the first company’s to create a nail polish that allows water and oxygen to pass through. Not only is it free of the toxic trio, but it’s also halal certified. Where to buy: Inglotusa.com, select Macy’s stores.
2. Tuesday in Love: Another popular nail polish brand that allows water and moisture to penetrate the nails. Best part about this is that it peels off, so no need for harsh polish remover. Free of toxic three and does not test on animals. Where to buy: Tuesdayinlove.com
3. Zoya: Zoya was created by a pianist turned cosmetologist after seeing the lack of natural nail polishes on the market. It is free of the toxic five and they are always coming out with the most beautiful colors. Where to buy: Zoya.com, Amazon.com
4. LVX: LVX is a high fashion brand that is 5-free, vegan and cruelty free. Where to buy: shoplvx.com
5. RGB: Similar to LVS, it’s 5-free, cruelty free, vegan, and made in the USA. It has high shine and is chip resistant. Where to buy: shoplvx.com
6. Piggy Paints: Piggy Paints was created by a mom of two girls who was shocked to see how toxic nail polishes are. Free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone. It’s also hypoallergenic and eco-friendly. Where to buy: piggypaint.com, select Walmart and Target stores.
7. Acquarella: Another water based, toxic free nail polish. It is virtually odorless and dries quickly. Not tested on animals. Where to buy: acquarella.com, amazon.com