Most women love painting and decorating their fingernails and toenails. However, unbeknownst 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 7 toxin-free nail polish brands.
Water-Based Nail Polish Brands
Water-based nail polishes are the most natural nail polishes on the market. However, because the water evaporates, the polish must be removed after wearing it for one week. The longer you wear it past a week, the harder it is to remove. They dry in the same amount of time as other mainstream nail polishes, but it can take 4 to 6 hours for the polish to reach maximum hardness and become scratch resistant.
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. Suncaot offers an array of about 32 different colors that I’m sure 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.
While 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.
OPI is an Australian brand that is frequently used in nail salons across the US. While it is not water-based, it is free of toluene, DBP, and formaldehyde. This nail polish brand is free of carcinogens, but is not geared towards more chemically-sensitive individuals. Naturally they have a vast and professional array of colors to choose from. If you can tolerate the chemicals, then this might be a good brand for you.
5. Peacekeeper Nail Paints
This is one of the products I’m least enthusiastic about. It’s not water-based, nor is it made of natural pigments. But it is free of carcinogens. It boasts of being made of Argan Oil, which is rich in Amino Acids to nurture the nails. But the brand only offers a total of nine different shades. I think that all around this product has very little to offer.
6. Sante Nail Enamels
If you are looking for a nail polish that’s carcinogen free, but not necessarily water-based nor odor-free, this brand might not necessarily be your best choice. However, it might be a viable non-water-based choice for more sensitive users. They offer about 19 different shades. The website does not exhibit the shades very well, but they offer sample color swatches for $4.
7. Zoya Nail Polish
Zoya Nail Polish was created by Zoya Reysis who, as a pregnant aesthetician and salon owner in 1984, wanted to create a healthier option. While it is not water-based, it is free of toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP. It’s the top-rated and longest wearing natural nail polish. It receives top ratings in fashion, health, and pregnancy magazines world wide. It is also used in the finest salons and spas world wide and is available in over 240 fashionable colors. Zoya should be able to offer something for everyone.