Why You Should Care What’s in Your Nail Products

Photo by: MarcinK3333/Shutterstock

Whether you frequent a nail salon or prefer the DIY approach, you probably use nail polish often and store it for occasions. I’m sure you know it has a strong, generally unpleasant scent and if you bite your nails in a moment of anxiety the taste is terrible. But you may never have considered why it smells so terrible, or why it resembles a slap on the tongue upon tasting it.

Many mainstream nail polishes contain 3-5 standard, very toxic ingredients. These ingredients can be carcinogenic, toxic upon ingestion, allergy-inducing, or generally irritating to the eyes, nose, and fragile skin. The “toxic five”, as they’ve been dubbed, are:

• Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)
• Toluene
• Camphor
• Formaldehyde Resin
• Formaldehyde

Yeah…like the dead frog preservative from biology class. You read that right.

In addition to many studies proving the toxicity of these ingredients, it’s also been widely investigated and shown that these actually do not drastically affect the function of any nail polish whatsoever, and therefore are pretty unnecessary.

Photo by: Yuriy Golub/Shutterstock

Formaldehyde fears aside, it’s important and beneficial to the health of nail polish users everywhere to make the switch to non-toxic lacquers. Here’s a few brands who have made efforts to remove at least 3 (and usually, all 5) of these toxins from their formulas:


A trendy, colorful, and self-proclaimed “clean” polish line that always keeps its colors and products reasonable and on-trend. With a sophisticated package design and ingredients to boast, ZOYA polish will surely make it seem as if you never switched from your conventional products.

Piggy Paint

Dainty, whimsical, and perfect for kids, Piggy Paint polish keeps the fun in nail design without sacrificing any performance. Though perfect for adults or children, this brand is marketed toward kids, and is easy to use and completely non-toxic. They sell kits with polish and their own acetone-free polish remover, too!

CND and Essie

When you’re at the salon, these are two brands you may want to try. These are two cult-classic polish brands who have made the effort to be non-toxic. These two are salon favorites and are stocked by almost every salon in the state, so you can feel safe when choosing one of these brands. CND also offers a non-toxic gel, if you’re into that!

Reminder that most salons allow customers to bring in their own favorite polish no matter the brand, and these products are becoming more readily available every day. Making the non-toxic switch is a simple way to do yourself a favor!


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