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Fact^Many of us are trying to live a more toxin-free life.
Contradictory fact^ We still love polishing our nails.
Sadly, these two traits are contradictory, but there is a solution. While there aren't chemical-free nail polishes, there are nail polish brands that are considered low-toxin or toxin-free. Safe nail polishes are often described as "3-free." This means they're free of the top three ingredients you really shouldn't have anywhere on your body — formaldehyde, dibutyl and toluene — but probably are using if you're polishing your nails.
Do you really need to avoid these ingredients? Well, they're known carcinogens and are used to make car paint. So we're thinking the answer is yes.
Joanna Runciman, BSc, blogs at Actual Organics and believes that you can be radiant while avoiding synthetic chemicals in skin care and the environment. Her book on this exact topic, The Radiant Woman's Handbook, was published this year. She advocates for using fewer synthetic beauty products saying, "Simply put, you are what you eat, breathe and use on your skin. Opting for less toxic personal care products is a good way to care for your body and reduce your 'cosmetic footprint.' After all, the personal care choices you make can affect you and others downstream."
To get you started on lessening your cosmetic footprint, we've gathered our favorite 3-free nail polish brands.
Acquarella is considered a safe, odorless nail polish because it's water-based. In fact they describe their nail polish as "water colors." Their team is made up of people with backgrounds in chemistry, cosmetology, medicine and natural health — a perfect combination of minds and hands creating a high-quality beauty line that's never tested on animals and doesn't contain any animal products or by-products. An added bonus is that this brand is non-flammable and free from toxic fumes. We love their playful colors such as French Kiss, Mahalo and Zesty.
Honeybee Gardens was created in 1995 by herbalist and author Melissa J. Hertzler. Years of herbal study prompted Melissa to create natural personal care products for her and her family. What began as kitchen cosmetics turned into an enterprise. Since 1995, Honeybee Gardens, Inc., has operated under one simple concept: "Create pure, all-natural bath and body care products made from only the finest organic ingredients, offer them at a reasonable price and treat every customer like a friend." Their Watercolour Nail Enamel falls in line with these standards. In fact, at trade shows staff will actually swipe the nail polish wand over their tongue to show how non-toxic it is. On the Honeybee Gardens site you can find full disclosure of exactly how their polish is made, how to apply it, how long it takes to dry (Spoiler alert: a bit longer than more toxic nail polish brands) and, importantly, the whys behinds all of these.
Scotch Naturals sold us with the first line in their description: Scotch Naturals™ polish has a lot in common with the women who wear it. We are smart, fun and forward thinking. Their product line is based on choosing natural products knowing it's not just healthier for the user but for the world around us. Scotch Naturals is a safe and eco-friendly alternative to conventional polish. Their water-based formula delivers long lasting, salon-quality results in a stunning array of sophisticated shades. You have to love a company who boasts the tag line, Even our bottom shelf is top shelf.
Made from equal parts nature's finest, innovative science and a dash of mother's love, Suncoat was founded by polymer and organic chemist Yingchun Liu–Ying. When her daughters wanted to paint their nails, Ying took her scientific smarts to task and developed this non-toxic, natural and effective nail polish formula. Suncoat prides itself on fusing nature with technology to create innovative products founded on the balance of vegan, mineral-based ingredients and water, one of the principle components of our bodies. They hope the result of putting nature back into nail polish will motivate people to do the same in other aspects of their lives and inspire a little more harmony back into the world.