Let’s be honest, no one really wants to get sick from their nail polish.
In fact, a lot of people are very concerned about the ingredients in nail polish and have moved to natural nail polishes. But what’s so bad about traditional nail polish?
Traditional polishes have a lot of harmful chemicals—some of which can be absorbed through the skin into our bloodstreams. And while these ingredients may not be safe, they do make the polishes stay on longer and look nicer.
For that reason, many brands have developed what they call hypoallergenic nail polish. These are traditionally three-free or five-free polishes that don’t contain harsh chemicals like dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, and toluene. But are these natural polishes better for you? The truth is, it’s hard to say.
Any nail polish with a label that says “hypoallergenic,” simply means that it was formulated without certain chemicals known to cause allergic reactions in some people. So if you’re one of those people who has had a reaction to traditional nail polish in the past, there is hope! You may not have a reaction
In the world of cosmetics, there is no such thing as an official “hypoallergenic” label. It’s not like the USDA-certified organic seal, which has concrete standards to meet. Instead, most brands have an internal standard that they use to determine whether or not they can label a product with the words “hypoallergenic.” For nail polish brands, “hypoallergenic” means that they have conducted a minimum number of allergy patch tests (20 is common) and none of the testers had any negative reactions. Unfortunately, this testing is only done on raw ingredients, which means that once a brand mixes those ingredients together and puts them in a bottle, the patch test is no longer valid—the consumers using those products could still have allergic reactions to the finished product.
Some people might wonder why cosmetics companies bother labeling their products “hypoallergenic” if there’s no legal definition for what that word really means. The reality is that companies want to be able to put “hypoallergenic” (and its variations) on their packaging because it gives consumers the impression that their products are safer than other options on the market.
The bottom line is this: There’s no way to guarantee that any nail polish
When you’re shopping for cosmetics, and a label says it’s hypoallergenic, what does that mean? What is in normal cosmetics that causes allergic reactions? And how do you know for sure if a product is safe for your skin or not?
The answer to the first question is easy: Hypoallergenic means nothing. The word was invented by cosmetics companies to put on labels of products they wanted to sell to people who had sensitive skin. It has no official definition, and companies aren’t required to prove their products meet any standards in order to include the term on their labels.
“Hypoallergenic” basically means a product causes fewer allergic reactions than other similar products, but that doesn’t tell you much about its ingredients or whether it will cause a reaction in anyone at all. Plenty of non-hypoallergenic products are safe for people with allergies, and plenty of “hypoallergenic” products still contain common allergens.
To find out what’s really in your products, look at the ingredient list. All cosmetics are required by law to list every ingredient on the label, and there are a few ingredients that tend to cause more allergic reactions than others. These include fragrance and preservatives called parabens
I would like to think that the nail polish industry has become more honest about the ingredients that are in their products. If you go shopping for a new polish, you will likely find a few brands claiming to be “free of” formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). The three ingredients are often called the “toxic trio” because they can be toxic when inhaled, ingested or applied on damaged skin.
But it’s not that simple. True, some nail polish brands use less toxic alternatives to the trio of chemicals, but they still use other ingredients that are equally as harmful. No ingredient-based standard exists for what qualifies as a natural product, so it’s important that consumers don’t fall for marketing gimmicks.
Formaldehyde-releasers have become increasingly popular among brands who want to reformulate away from formaldehyde resin in favor of safer options. But these formaldehyde-releasers are not safe at all—in fact, they release formaldehyde over time—and many brands continue to use them even though they know better.
With all the buzz around gel manicures and other long-lasting nail polishes, natural nail care has come under fire in the past few years. Natural polishes have been marketed as better for your nails because they don’t require UV light or harsh chemicals to remove them.
In reality, many of these polishes still contain the same chemicals that give gel polish its staying power. These formulas are also less expensive for manufacturers to make than gel polish since they don’t require special ingredients or equipment to remove them.
And yet, most of you don’t want to know what’s in your nail polish. And why should you? Most people just want their nails to look good. You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting a pretty manicure, but you do deserve to know what’s in your nail polish
I am a nail polish addict. I love the stuff. I love painting my nails, I love trying new brands, and I especially love the way it makes me feel — more put together, more adult. But, like many women in this modern day world, I also care about what goes into the products that go on my body.
What’s in Nail Polish?
Polish is made up of five main components: plasticizers (which give it flexibility), solvents (which let it dry), resins (which help it adhere to your nail), pigments or dyes (for color), and UV absorbers (to prevent fading). Some of these ingredients may be exist as toxic chemicals; some of them may be derived from natural sources. Those natural sources may themselves be safe. Or they may not be safe.
It’s all very confusing! The “natural” label does not mean anything about a product’s safety or toxicity — in fact, some of the most toxic things on this earth are completely natural. And many chemicals are known to cause cancer or reproductive issues in animals at extremely high levels that would never occur from using a product like nail polish. So what do you believe?
I believe that we have the right to know exactly what
Nail polish is a much more complex mixture than a simple blend of pigments and resin. The type of pigment used, the amount of pigment added to the formula, its particle size, the size of the resin particles, the type of resin and plasticizer used, and the type and amount of solvent all influence the appearance, texture, durability, and drying time.
How is nail polish made? It’s a liquid until it’s painted on your nails. Then it turns into a solid. That transformation occurs when solvents evaporate from the wet polish.
Nail polish consists mainly of nitrocellulose dissolved in an organic solvent. The solvent can be alcohol or ester (also called ether). Ethers are typically less toxic than alcohols, but they are both very flammable!
Nitrocellulose is a polymer obtained by treating cellulose with nitric acid. It is produced in different viscosities by varying the amount of plasticizer dissolved in it. Nail polish uses nitrocellulose that has a low viscosity (7-10 seconds), because this gives nail polish its smooth consistency after being applied to nails.
When nitrocellulose dries, it forms a solid