Not all nail polishes are created equally. Some polishes contain chemicals that can be more harmful than others. In choosing products, the big three ingredient offenders to avoid are:
- Formaldehyde (also listed as formalin or methylene glycol)
- Dibutyl phthalate
Some polishes are known as 3-free, meaning they do not use these chemicals in their formulas. Other polish makers state their formulas are 5-free, 7-free, 8-free and 10-free, based on which additional chemicals in typical nail polish they have rejected. For example, a 5-free polish removes the first three chemicals but also formaldehyde resin and camphor.
Beyond safer ingredients, it is possible to purchase nail polishes that represent your values.
For vegans, some polish brands use no animal products in the formula. Examples of excluded ingredients include silk, guanine (fish scales), pearl dust, carmine (beetles) and keratin (derived from horn as well as other animal parts).
For those concerned about animal testing, some brands meet the cruelty-free conditions.
Here are a few examples of nail polish products that are 3-free or better, vegan and cruelty-free:
- 365 LACQUER
- Deco Miami
- Ella + Mila
- Flora 1761
- PRITI NYC
- Trust Fund Beauty
Always paint your nails in a well-ventilated place.