Why You Should Only Use Non-Toxic Nail Polish 

There has been a lot of controversy in the nail industry over the years. From the New York Times shocking exposé on NY nail salons. To the 2015 Duke University study with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) on an ingredient used in nail polish called Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP or TPP). A known endocrine disruptor that gets into women bodies causing reproductive issues and hormone problems. This article changed everything for me, and millions of women when it came to painting our nails. And things have never really been the same since. With nail polish brands steadily removing toxic ingredients from their formulas over the last 3 years. We now have much safer products, from 3 Free all the way up to 10 Free. So let's decipher what's in and out of these TOXIC FREE polishes, and a mention of a few brands to avoid that have chosen to stay toxic! (at the time I wrote this). Plus a list of my top favs!


These nail polishes are formulated without "The Toxic Trio"


Is used in nail polish as a solvent for dyes, and as a plasticiser that prevents polish from becoming brittle. It is also used in PVC to render it flexible. It is a suspected endocrine disruptor.


Is a toxic chemical used in nail polish to achieve a smooth application and finish. Repeated and prolonged exposure to toluene can cause abnormal fetal development in pregnant women, reproductive toxicity, respiratory issues, dermatitis & studies on animals have shown it to be linked to several types of blood cancer.


Is used as a nail-hardening agent in nail polish and strengthener. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, linked to nasal and lung cancer by The International Agency for Research on Cancer.


These nail polishes are formulated without "the toxic trio" but also without 2 other dangerous chemicals


Is a very unique resin that modifies the polymers in nail polish to form tough + shiny films. It is a derivative of formaldehyde mainly used in coatings and adhesives. Although it has not been linked to cancer like regular formaldehyde, it is known to cause dermatitis and is listed on The Contact Dermatitis Institute's Allergen Database. It may also contain residual levels of formaldehyde.


Derived from the wood of the camphor tree this is a scented substance that can cause nausea + headaches when inhaled, especially in large doses making it a very concerning chemical for nail technicians. Camphor is used to soften synthetic polymers and like DBP is used in nail polish to increase flexibility and durability.


These formulas are free from all of the above, plus 2 more chemical ingredients


Is a chemical used in plastics to improve flexibility and as a flame retardant. Studies suggest it could be an endocrine disruptor, potentially affecting reproductive health and lipid metabolism (this is where the headline "nail polish makes you fat" comes from)


Is a solvent used in nail polish to help prevent them from going gloopy. It is irritating to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. It can cause systemic toxicity by ingestion and inhalation. Xylene exposure also increases oxidative stress.

The number of ingredients brands claim to be free from keeps on climbing, with 8 Free and 9 Free products now currently on offer. However, the ingredients that these brands claim to be free from are often not harmful or are not typically used in nail polishes anymore. 

Whichever number you choose, be it 3 or 10 Free, there are loads of options out there. So please, do your research and avoid the brands that have any of the above ingredients on their labels!

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