I’ve recently done a search on non toxic nail polish to see whether there are odourless options available that aren’t solvent based, and here’s why…
I was on a plane a week ago when someone decided to paint their nails.
I don’t consider myself particularly sensitive to smells, but this was borderline offensive in such a confined space.
It got me wondering whether all nail polish is harsh on the ol’ nostrils!
The result of my search is that there are a number of companies producing less toxic and even water-based nail polish that is essentially odour free.
These non toxic nail polishes are safe for kids, pregnant women, and people with sensitivities and allergies.
I would also like to say it might be a more thoughtful option should you be planning on painting your nails in a very confined space at 34,000ft somewhere just south of Greenland.
Of course, the reason nail polish smells so strongly is because it contains a number of harsh ingredients that are known to have adverse health effects, particularly with prolonged exposure.
Most nail polish contains ingredients such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and toluene. This video goes into some detail about the health risks of some of these ingredients.
So, if you haven’t explored the world of non toxic nail polish, here are a few brands worth having a look at:
Piggy Paint is a water-based nail polish that has definite kid appeal. With birthday gift packs and color names such as Angel Kisses, it’s clear they’re targeting the pre-teen girls. So, if you have a young girl in your life that is enamored with enamel, you might feel more comfortable letting her explore her inner princess with this non-toxic brand. A bottle of polish costs about $9 US.
Karma organics is an all natural, non toxic nail polish that is safe for kids, but seems to be targeted more toward an adult market. A bottle of polish runs around $10 US and they have about 65 shades to choose from. There is also a Karma Organics brand nail polish remover that is soy based, which costs about $12. There’s even a lavender infused polish remover, which will undoubtedly be the best smelling nail polish remover you’ve ever used. As it’s made with oils, the remover also nourishes your nails as you are removing polish.
Aquarella makes a line of products that are completely water based with no formaldehyde, phthalates, toluene or other petrochemical solvents. Their products are also suitable for vegans as they are not tested on animals nor do they contain any animal products. They have a range of about 35 colors of polish, which is one of the faster drying non toxic brands. They claim the polish dries to the touch within 3 minutes and dries to use between 10 and 15 minutes. As a result, the polish is a bit more than other brands at about $16 a bottle. There is also Aquarella’s polish remover, which they recommend applying to your nails prior to applying the polish to be sure to remove any old residues.
Zoya nail enamel costs about $8 a bottle and doesn’t contain doetoluene, dibutyl phthalate or formaldehyde. This brand has the greatest variety with over 300 colors to choose from. It also claims to be longer wearing than most other brands – toxic or not.
Tips for using non toxic nail polish
If you switch to a non toxic and water based nail polish brand, you may initially notice a difference in the way they apply and wear. Here are some basic tips that should make your transition to a non toxic nail polish easier:
- Follow the instructions that come with the polish. Although you might be tempted to simply apply as you would with your normal brand of nail polish, these non toxic and often water based products might require a little more nail preparation. It usually just means doing some buffing and then applying a polish remover to be sure the nails are free of any other substances.
- Allow sufficient time to dry. A lot of the more toxic chemicals in other nail polish products are what helps them dry hard and fast. Remove these chemicals, and of course you are going to have to be a bit more patient about letting the product dry.
- Base coats and top coats preserve the polish longer. Many of these brands also make non-toxic base coats and top coats that will help prevent chipping and preserve your nail color longer. It’s a bit more time investment up front, but it might be worth it in the end.
- It might be the color rather than the product. Some colors of the water based polishes go on quite streaky and uneven. However, don’t give up hope, it might be a trait of that particular color and another color of the same brand might work a charm.
There is any number of reasons for using a non toxic nail polish; whether it’s so you feel safe letting the kids dip into your nail polish supplies or because you’re expecting or have allergies, or maybe simply because you don’t like the idea of breathing in harmful substances. Hopefully some of those brand names will point you in the right direction and so long as you follow those four tips, you should make the transition easily.
Who knows, I might even consider having a bottle of non toxic nail polish at the ready for the next time I fly! If not for myself, at least to hand over as a subtle suggestion to anyone who dares violate my breathing space with nasty fumes again!