Beauty, nail polish, natural products

Nail Polish, can it be non toxic? A quick lesson


There are a couple of products I wonder about such as nail polish and hair spray- will they or can they ever be non- toxic? There are many nail polish brands announcing that they are “3-free” which means they do not contain the  toxic ingredients of Dibutyl Phthalate, formaldehyde and toluene. Nearly all nail polishes are 3-free but of course you need to read your label. You don’t want to  be in touch with these three. Why? Let’s take a closer look:

Dibutyl Phthalate is used  in shower curtains, raincoats, food wraps, bowls, car interiors, vinyl fabrics, floor tiles and can irritate the nose and throat. Yikes! It also is a reproductive and developmental toxicant.

Toluene is used in paint thinners, paints and various household products. The central nervous system (CNS) is the primary target organ for toluene toxicity in both humans and animals for acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) exposures. CNS dysfunction and narcosis have been frequently observed in humans acutely exposed to elevated airborne levels of toluene; symptoms include fatigue, sleepiness, headaches, and nausea. (

 Formaldehyde is used as a bonding agent, solvent, it becomes a gas at room tempature (these are called volatile organic compounds or VOC)  and small amounts can be found in shampoo and personal care products. Short term exposure causes nausea, coughing, dizziness, and eye irritation. Long term, its been linked to cancer.

I started researching nail polishes and here I will simplify the ingredients. Normal, 3 free nail polish is made up of the following:

solvents, liquids used to mix other ingredients to form a cohesive product * film formers, chemicals that form a smooth surface * resins, make the polish adhere to the nail * plasticizers, gives the nails shine * pigments, add the color to the polish

Various chemical compounds make up what I listed, but that’s a little more complicated than what I can easily break down.  By its very nature, nail polish cannot be completely natural like say, an apple.  You need the above ingredients to create the nail polish. You can however, look for a water based nail polish or one that’s 5-freenot containing  the three mentioned above plus Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor. You will probably find the endorcine disruptor, Benzophenone in most nail polishes, this chemical prevents ultraviolet light from damaging scents and colors in cosmetietcs.

Don’t dispair if you love to paint your nails as I do! There are some paints that are less toxic than others. A few I know about are:

Kure Bazaar, Piggy Paints, Priti, Spa Ritual Vapour, and Scotch Naturals. I recently tried Scotch Naturals which is, besides Piggy Paints, as non-toxic as you can get.

Here’s the 411:

Scotch Naturals is a water based, non-toxic, polish that is  100% free of all phthalates, parabens, solvents (ethyl acetate and butyl acetate), nitrocellulose, acetone, and heavy metals. I recently tried this nail polish and am a convert! The colors were  bright and pretty with a nice shine. There are tons of shades to choose from. Paint your nails with the Base Coat to prep nails then coast with polish and  finish with the On the Rocks topcoat for shine.

The polish didn’t crack or chip even after cooking, cleaning, and doing my daily mom chores! I will point you in the direction of this brand for an alternative to your toxic polish.  You can find Scotch Naturals here. I didn’t notice an overwhelming nail polish odor which is a plus for those of you who are sensitive to scents.

If you are on the fence about using the non-toxic polishes, at least find ones that are 3-free or even better, 5-free.  For a good comprehensive list of polishes from least to most toxic, you can go to Skin Deep here.



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