Safer Beauty: Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish

Once your eyes have been opened to the importance of using safer beauty products, there's no way to close them. You start to question everything you put on your skin. Is this deodorant okay? What about my perfume? What about my hair color? How about my nail polish? Is that okay?

Here's the truth: Because of lack of regulations, those products you use every day don't have to disclose their ingredients, don't have to be transparent, and are getting away with using potentially harmful and toxic ingredients because there is no one telling them not to. That means you have to do the work. You have to be your own researcher, educating yourself, making sure you understand what exactly is in the products you are using.  

But nail polish? What could possibly be wrong with nail polish? I mean, it's just on your nails. You don't have to worry about what you put on your nails, right? Wrong.
There are plenty of toxic chemicals in the pretty polish that we women get put on on ten finger and ten toes every time we go for our regular manicures and pedicures. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) website shared the following from a study released in 2015:
It’s not surprising that many nail polishes contain potentially toxic chemicals. Now a study conducted by researchers at Duke University and EWG finds that at least one of those chemicals could be ending up in your body. Triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP, a suspected endocrine-disrupting chemical, is commonly used to make plastics and as a fire retardant in foam furniture. And if you wear nail polish, it could be in your body too.
Yuck. And TPHP is just one of the chemicals found in nail polish. Other toxins lurking in our nail polish are:

  • dibutyl phthalate -a hormone (endocrine) disrupter, linked to cancer
  • toluene - a skin, eyes, and lung irritant, harmful to nervous system, impaired human reproduction
  • formaldehyde - a  known carcinogen 
  • camphor - skin irritate and allergic reactions
  • parabens - a hormone disrupter, tumor growth

You will often hear safer nail polish brands claiming that they are "3-Free" or "5-Free" or even "7-Free" of these toxic chemicals. Much like my search for a safer deodorant, when I started searching for safer nail polish it was important for me to find a brand that was not only safe but also highly effective. I've tried a few brands trying to find the best. (FYI - I am not paid in any way by these companies so you can trust that my opinion really is my opinion.)

  • Pacifica: 7-Free, $9. Several pretty colors and easy to find at local stores, but after one day I stood in the shower peeling it off. A nail polish that doesn't last more than one day, no matter how safe, isn't worth it.
  • Zoya: 5-Free, $10. Lots and lots of colors, also easy to buy. Lasts a good week before wearing out. However, even though other stores and website claimed the 5-Free non-toxic status, I could not find anything about it on their website. That just didn't sit right.
  • Defy & Inspire: 5-Free, $7.50. Best price by far. Found this one at Target. Turns out, it's Target's own line of polish. Fun fact: each color is named after reality T.V. I was happy with it's long-wearing performance. Unfortunately, my local Target didn't have my colors to choose from.
  • Côte: 10-Free, $18. I saved my favorite for last. It's my favorite for lots of reasons. For one, Beautycounter partnered with Côte during February for a special Valentine's Duo with their No. 6 color. Another reason is that their focus is on cleaner, safer beauty as well as being vegan and cruelty free. Sure, the price is a little up there (okay, maybe way up there) but their products are worth it. They have over 100 colors to choose from and I don't have to worry about any of them. And to top it off, their fantastic shop is only 30 miles away from my house! Naturally, after trying a few of their colors and being very happy with their long-wearing performance, I decided to invite my girlfriend for a little mani/pedi outing.

I could have spent ALL DAY in their shop. My manicure was fantastic (I can't believe I didn't take a picture!) and of course I bought some pretty colors to take home. Followed by a fun lunch with my girlfriend, it was a great day (minus the L.A. traffic with is always a beat down.) Regardless of the traffic, I would endure the 405 all over again to go back to this fantastic shop again and again for safer, non-toxic manicures and pedicures. In the meantime, I have plenty of colors to do them right here at home.

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