Nail polish or nail varnish is a lacquer that is applied to the nails of both the fingers and toes, usually cosmetically, but also as protection for the nails.
When you go the store to buy nail polish, one of the most important factors for what you purchase is the color. Is this the right shade? How will it look on my nails? However, hidden to most women, most of the popular nail polish brands, especially the brands used in salons, contain three toxic and carcinogenic ingredients.
A carcinogenic ingredient is an ingredient that has been shown to cause cancer. The three carcinogenic ingredients in nail polish are toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).
Toluene is a clear, colorless liquid that is also found in paints, thinners, and inks. It makes nail polish smooth and makes it dry quicker. When toluene is released into the air it causes headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and irritates the eyes, nose, and throat. It has also been shown to be toxic to the liver and kidneys. It is especially dangerous to pregnant women because it is transferred from mother to fetus through the placenta and through breast milk.
Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic preservative and is used in nail polish as a nail hardener. It also keeps the polish from chipping. Breathing in formaldehyde fumes irritates the lungs, eyes, nose, and throat. It also causes headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and immune dysfunction.
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is found in plastics, personal care products, paints, and pesticides. It’s used as a plasticizer that makes plastics soft and flexible. In nail polish it acts as a binder to make the nail polish last longer. Phthalates are also known carcinogens, are known to cause birth defects, and damage the reproductive organs. Particularly, it has shown to cause underdeveloped genitals in newborn boys and long-term fertility problems. It has also shown to be toxic to the liver, lungs, and kidneys. One can absorb phthalates through inhaling it, touching it, or even eating it.
Since ingredients in nail polishes have been shown to be harmful, carcinogenic, and toxic a good thing to do would be to switch to a non-toxic nail polish.
Below are reviews of 3 toxic-free nail polish brands.
1. Suncoat Products Inc.
Perhaps you’ve seen Suncoat nail polish in your local health food stores. Suncoat is the best nail polish on the market for those who are particularly chemical sensitive. Not only is Suncoat nail polish toluene, formaldehyde and phthalate free, it is also free of alcohol and acetones and acetates. The nail polish is also water-based and naturally colored with earth pigments. Their nail polishes do not contain any FD&C dyes. They paint on smoothly and dry very quickly. Suncoat offers an array of about 32 different colors will coordinate with any woman’s lipstick beautifully.
2. Honeybee Gardens Nail Enamels
These are also water-based, odor-free, toluene-free, xylene-free, formaldehyde-free, and dibutyl phthalate-free. They are also colored with natural pigments and do not contain FD&C colors. While the color selection is not as large as Suncoat’s–only 20 colors presently offered–they are absolutely gorgeous. Honeybee Gardens Nail Enamels offers a wide selection of gorgeous shimmer tones and a few matte colors, all of which match their natural lipsticks. My personal favorites are the San Francisco frosty peach color and the Manhattan red shade with flecks of gold. These colors are so wonderful and odor-free for sensitive people that there’s no reason you shouldn’t give them a try.
Acquarella is odor-free, water-based, and free of carcinogenic ingredients, it is not advertised as being made with natural pigments. The company recommends that you first apply their nail conditioner for 4 to 5 days to return the natural moisture your nails so that the nail polish adheres better. They offer about 21 different shades that cost a bit more than the other nail polishes at $18 rather than $6 or $10, but they offer a few blue shades and you may be able to find the color you’re longing for but couldn’t find elsewhere here.
Photo credit: Zitona / CC 2.0