How Nail Polish is Harming You and the Planet
I’ve been very much into sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyles lately, and I’ve noticed how I’ve never even thought about some things, especially not about natural nail polish.
Think about it: we worry about plastic packages, microbeads, plastic bags, ingredients tested on animals and so on. But we’ve had one of the most polluting beauty products under our noses for so long we don’t even think about it: nail polish.
Nail polish stinks like hell and I don’t know how I didn’t think about how polluting this thing was up until a few weeks ago. Nail polish is basically paint, like proper paint. It must be used in a ventilated room, it must be used with a proper base underneath and it must be disposed like household hazardous waste. And what about nail polish remover? Same thing! Of course, this might change from country to country, but you get the point. We’ve been looking at possibly one of the most polluting and non-environmentally friendly product in our beauty bag for so long and didn’t do anything about it (or at least that’s me, maybe you’ve been using natural nail polish for years now; in this case, I feel like a douchebag).
PS: I didn’t even know that nail polish could be non-vegan. How silly of me.
Natural Nail Polish: What is It
The definition “natural nail polish” can be a little misleading: it’s not like eco-friendly nail polish are made of just water and some kind of pigmentation from plants and fruits. It’s that they do not contain some highly toxic ingredients and they are categorized and defined depending on what ingredients they have skipped on. “3-free” nail polish do not contain toluene, dibutyl phthalate, or formaldehyde while “5-free” (which are obviously better for our purpose) don’t contain formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin and camphor. Are you still with me after all this chemical jargon?
Is nail polish toxic?
Let me explain why those ingredients are toxic: formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, dibutyl phthalate seems to be linked to reproductive problems. Salon workers, who are constantly inhaling these toxic substances, get a plethora of ailments like skin irritations, eye injuries and allergic reactions (source).
What can we do then? Easy, avoid toxic nail polish altogether.
Non Toxic Nail Polish: Where to Find It
Thank to the eco-warrior Gods there are plenty of options if you decide to go for non-toxic nail polish. Some are as good as the “real thing”, some will require you to be a bit more “gentle”.
Priti NYC is probably the most popular “natural” nail polish on the market. It is 5-free, vegan and gluten free. They also sell a 100% natural nail polish soy remover. What I love about this brand is that they also participate to a recycling program in order to avoid the bottles to go to waste and harm the environment. Well done Priti NYC!
Get the nail polish in the photo here (plus a whole bunch of other colours).
LVX is another huge favourite: the brand took it a step further and got parabens and xylene off their ingredients, becoming a 7-free nail polish brand. Their products are popular for being long lasting and very similar to regular nail polish (so much that you wonder if it’s really a non-toxic brand). LVX is also vegan.
Click here to buy LVX signature Runway in all colours here.
Sheswai is a 5-free nail polish brand who also took the pledge of reducing the use of plastic in their packaging. In fact, Sheswai bottle caps are made of sustainably harvested wood! The collection has 22 shades. Get them all here.
Zoya is another super luxury 5-free nail polish brand. They don’t seem to care about the environment or sustainability at all (I can’t find any mention of that in their website). It’s a good non-toxic alternative for fashionistas though. Get Zoya products here.
It’s a pinnable! Mouse over the image below and click on the red button to pin it.
Organic Nail Polish: a Step Further
For the most hardcore environment princesses, the nail polish brands below are even less toxic than the ones listed before (even though they still contain the occasional synthetic ingredient). They put a great attention in only using ingredients that are safe for pregnant women, kids and that are allergy-safe.
Karma Organic is free of all nasty chemicals like TPHP and formaldehyde and it’s safe to use for all ages and medical conditions; they are also cruelty-free and their packages are 100% recyclable. Check out the very few ingredients that are used in their products here. Karma Organic also produces organic nail polish removers, among them the popular Soybean oil and Tea Tree oil one.
Nourished Life sells both nail polish and nail polish remover with an organic and non-toxic formula. Their nail polish is 10-free, which means it contains no formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, parabens, fragrances, phthalates or animal ingredients. Get their products here.
Acquarella is either loved or hated. I haven’t tested their products yet, but I’m curious to know who’s right about their nail polish. Their formula is water-based and free of any chemical you might think of. It’s also vegan and not tested on animals. Get Acquarella nail polish here.
Do you still use regular toxic nail polish? Share and let everyone know why they should switch to natural nail polish now.
About the Author
Hey, it's Elisa, founder of styleonvega.com. I'm a social media strategist & consultant by day and blogger by night (honing my multitasking skills since 2006 ;). I'm an atypical Italian, freedom lifestyle advocate and modern spirituality enthusiast. Feel like we could get along? Join me just above this box or get in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter.