No More Nasty Nails



I started to write a post this week only to realise that I needed to provide a little background before I published it. I am not a Scientist but a Make-up Artist, however I do research products and their ingredients before I use them and in this case I decided that you needed to know a little background information too – before I published the original post. So here it is, slightly science-y (possibly) but hopefully informative.


When I began writing this blog, admittedly not long ago, I was determined that every single product I wrote about would be organic. That was the point. I have however, come unstuck on a couple of make-up kit mainstays that, having thought about it further, I would not be able to write about if this was the case (frustrating, especially so early on!). What it does lead me to realise is, that as with my kit, it is not possible at the moment to have an organic alternative to everything – the products and technologies are just not out there and sometimes I may have to rely on a natural alternative rather than organic one. So, although this blog will remain organic as far as possible, on occasion it may slightly stray into the realms of ‘not-organic-but-nearly’…. this is one of those times.



Non-toxic Nail Polish

Nail varnish is something that most Make-up Artist’s have in their kit. We are, on the whole, not nail technicians, however we are frequently asked to tidy-up an artists hands and this often results in us needing to carry a few bottles of just in case polish. I am one of those Make-up Artists. When I decided to introduce organic products to my kit, I looked at the array of polishes and asked myself what I could do to change this bag and it’s multi-coloured contents.


The problem with nail varnish is that is full of nasties. It is essentially a modern product and with modern products come modern ingredients and although these products are rigorously tested, we can never truly understand the possible long-term effects of these ingredients until time passes. So why not try to avoid these ingredients as much as possible?


No matter how hard companies try, organic nail varnish does not exist, synthetic ingredients have to be involved and even the water-based polishes contain synthetic polymers (a form of plastic). What is possible however, is for nail polish, to be non-toxic and this is what many brands are embracing.


‘3-free’ is a phrase that is increasingly being banded about when we talk about nail polish, free from the prime carcinogenic chemicals; Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) and Toulene. Nail polish with these three removed is now commonly seen on the high street, with a growing number of big cosmetics companies producing their own ‘free-from’ ranges. This is a great start, but what if you wanted to go one better and find an even more natural alternative? 

There are companies out there who produce ‘4-free’ polish (a couple of which are readily found on the high street), not only do they leave out the big three but they also omit Formaldehyde resin (an ingredient commonly found in paint, fertilisers and fibreglass – you see the problem?). You can reduce the health risks still further by opting for a ‘5-free’ polish. The fifth toxin to be left off the list is Camphor (a plasticiser), an ingredient that can cause dizziness, headaches and irritation to eyes and skin. In addition to all of these 3/4/5-free products, there is also water-based polish… but that discussion I think, is for another day. 



The worry is that these ‘free-from’ polishes may be in some way inferior to their toxic counterparts, but I haven’t found this to be the case amongst the brands I have tried. Some admittedly are better than others, as is the case with the traditional polishes, however non-toxic alternatives can be just a chip resistant or scratch free. You aren’t missing out when it comes to colour either; the colour spectrum within most of the ranges is superb, with most keeping abreast of recent trends in polish with metallics, nudes and mattes.


I wanted to make a difference to my whole make-up kit, and on discovering the existence of ‘free-from’, I threw out my toxic nail polishes and gradually replaced them with the non-toxic alternatives. I decided that the greater the number of unnecessary toxins removed, the better it was for both myself, applying the polish and the artist or model wearing it.

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