The Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish for a Healthier You

For many of us, getting our nails done is an essential part of our beauty routine, along with leg waxing, eyebrow shaping and haircuts. Taking care of our appearance helps us feel confident and good about ourselves - there’s nothing like the feeling of a fresh set of talons. But how many of us ever check the ingredients of our nail polishes?

You may be shocked to find out that regular nail polishes are actually packed with toxic chemicals. Nails and skin can absorb these harmful chemicals, which can have serious impacts on our health, such as increasing our risk of cancer, diabetes and infertility.

Recently, the nail industry has boomed and we have seen the addition of longer lasting and quicker drying polishes. On the surface this seems ideal, but these polishes in particular contain stronger chemicals to give them these desired properties. But the good news is, there are now a number of healthy nail polish alternatives.

We’re taking a closer look at how nail polish is toxic to the body, and provide some recommendations for the best non-toxic nail polish brands.

What makes nail polish toxic?

Endocrine disruptors (EDCs) are chemicals which interfere with how hormones interact in the body. Hormones are vital for our everyday health and form part of the endocrine system, which regulates all our important bodily functions. When hormones no longer behave as they should, the endocrine system can’t function properly and we are faced with health complications including diabetes, cancer, and even infertility. 

Unfortunately, nail polish contains a number of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, as well as other toxic chemicals:

  • Triphenyl phosphate (TPP): is added to nail polish to make it stick more strongly and last longer. It is believed this chemical may act as an endocrine disruptor and the effects may worsen with continued exposure over time.
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DnBP): is a plasticizer and makes substances more flexible. Phtalates act as endocrine disruptors and studies suggest they may be linked to infertility.
  • Toluene: is a paint thinner commonly used in glue. It has a long list of side-effects, from eye irritation, to kidney and nervous system damage. 
  • Formaldehyde: is commonly used in the manufacture of products. Whilst low level exposure to this chemical isn’t dangerous, exposure to larger quantities may increase the risk for cancer. Nail polish that is designed to dry quickly and last longer contains much higher concentrations of this carcinogen.

Healthy nail polish alternatives

Unfortunately, sometimes looking fabulous comes at a price. It is important to look after our bodies on the inside and out, and consider if the products we use in our beauty routines are actually doing ourselves harm. 

Manicure fanatics will be pleased to know it isn’t necessary to totally give up nail polish, as there are some fantastic non-toxic alternatives that are free from harmful chemicals. Some big nail polish producers like Sally Hansen are making an effort to clean up their ingredients, by introducing new 16-free and plant-based nail polishes. But there are also a number of newer clean nail polish brands we love.

Below are our top 3 favorite non-toxic nail polishes. 

1. XX Base Coat Nail Polish

This nail polish is free from all of the chemicals listed above, plus more. It is hard-wearing, quick-drying and also comes in over 100 amazing colours.

2. Smith Cult Nail Lacquer

We love this vegan nail polish for its rich pigments and non-toxic formula - free from all chemicals. It gives a flawlessly smooth, shiny finish and is chip-resistant, so you can enjoy your fresh set of nails for longer.

3. Olive & June Nail Polish

Another firm favorite is the non-toxic collection from Olive and June. This polish is salon-quality and long-lasting, with a huge array of colours to choose from. 

It may seem “extra”, but if your local salon does not offer clean nail polish alternatives, consider taking your own bottle to the salon. If you’re like us and love to get your nails done regularly, it’s important to start making healthier choices. We’re big believers that small changes over time can have a huge impact. 

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