I, for one, find little girls with polished nails to be irresistibly adorable – the younger, the cuter! I am personally rarely seen without toe nail polish. Like so many girls, from tots to teens and adults, I really enjoy painted nails! Recently, I’ve learned that not all nail polishes are created equal. Many contain toluene and formaldehyde and some still contain dibutyl phthalate (DBP); these three chemicals are known as the “toxic trio” of cosmetics and should really be avoided. Opting for natural nail polish that is free of these toxins is better for the health of your daughter and our planet. There are many brands and colors to choose from, making natural nail polish an easy cosmetic with which to go green.
Toluene, also in gasoline, can cause neurological damage when inhaled in large doses and causes dizziness. On labels, it may also be called toluol or phenylmethane. Formaldehyde (also labeled formalin) is lethal if ingested, known to cause cancer and is an eye and respiratory irritant when breathed in. DBP is an endocrine disruptor and a carcinogen that causes developmental and reproductive problems. DBP in cosmetics is banned in the UK and is being phased out in the United States as well. None of these sound like anything I want on my body, let alone my kid! And if these chemicals are toxic to people, they are also harmful to our water and animals.
Three Free Polish
Unfortunately, the majority of nail polishes don’t have content labels. You can do some homework yourself. Look up where your favorite nail polish lands on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetic Database for nail polish. Women’s Voices for the Earth also have a list of popular nail polishes and their toxicity rating. Most green brands will advertise that their nail lacquers are free of the toxic trio – or “three free.”
Brands that were rated cleanest in the EWG’s Skin Deep database (as of August 2014) were: Acquarella, Poofy Supernaturals, Honeybee Gardens, Suncoat, Beauty without Cruelty, Essence and Deborah Lippman (Note that not all varieties of each brand received the same ranking.). Piggy Polish, Hopscotch Kids and Piggy Paint market themselves for little girls and are three free. Zoya and RGB are not only three free but are also free of formaldehyde resin and camphor, labeling themselves as “five free.” There are many other three free natural nail polishes in a range of colors and prices!
Use your discarded traditional polish as an art supply – paint rocks or paper alike. It’s also useful to label bike helmets or coolers.
While considering natural nail polish, don’t forget remover! Buy acetone-free varieties and always use in a vented area – a bathroom with a fan or outside. Acetone is highly flammable and a respiratory irritant. Suncoat has a lacquer line that peels off, no remover necessary. Honeybee Garden’s polishes come off with only rubbing alcohol. Additionally, NYC Priti and Acquarella offer acetone-free and even biodegradable removers.