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Why choose low toxic Nail Varnish?

You may have noticed in the last couple of years many new terms popping up when it comes to nail varnish. Such as 10 free, 5 free, low toxic and vegan. Are these just new marketing terms and what does all this mean for our nails. Is it worth the hype??

In this article I'm going to take a look at some of the harmful ingredients that most nail varnish brands contain and explain

the benefits of using 'low toxic' and '10 free' and what they actually mean.

So let's take a closer look at some of these ingredients starting with the toxic trio!! DBP, Toluene and formaydehyde.


A member of the phthalate family of chemicals it is a highly toxic ingredient. It is used to strengthen nail varnish and reduce chipping, but the chemical is known to interfere with hormone function and is associated with birth defects when tested on animals. It can be absorbed through the skin and affects the endocrine function causing a number of problems such as liver damage and even the early onset of menopause.


Another common ingredient which is used to create a smooth finish. It is also found in glues. Although it has a sweet smell the fumes are known to be highly toxic and exposure has been linked to decreased brain function, dizziness, impaired breathing, headaches and nausea. It is extremely dangerous to pregnant women and has been linked to impaired fetal development.


Unfortunately this ingredient pops up far too often in all sorts of skin care products. Formaldehyde resin is mainly used as a preservative and in nail varnish it also acts as a hardener. It is a known carcinogen that can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

I don't know about you but I would rather not have these ingredients on may nails, especially when I have a tendency to bite them!!

Luckily you can avoid these three ingredients if you make sure your nail products are made in the EU since all three have been banned. Unfortunately a lot of American brands still include them and are refusing to remove them.

The next couple of ingredients you can avoid by choosing 5 or 10 free formulas.


Traditionally camphor comes from the bark of the camphor tree. Unfortunately, these days it is synthetically manufactured from turpentine oil (paint stripper). It is used to make nail varnish appear glossy. Not as toxic as the first three on the list but it's recommended not to apply to broken skin for risk of poisoning (not great if you get torn cuticles). Inhaling it can also cause headaches, dizziness and, in the extreme cases, liver damage.


Xylene is commonly used to thin nail polish. Produced from coal tar and petroleum. If absorbed into the skin it can cause irritation such as redness, swelling and itching. It is also a powerful neurotoxin when inhaled causing headaches, dizziness and nausea.


This is a chemical used in plastics to improve flexibility and also as a flame retardant. It's known as an endocrine disrupter which means it affects your hormones. Especially reproductive health and metabolism. In animal testing it showed reproductive development issues. The most concerning thing about this ingredient is that studies have proven it is absorbed into your body through your nails. The level of THTP was 7 times higher in the participants 10 hours after they painted their nails.


You have probably heard of this one, a common preservative in cosmetic products. They are associated with allergic reactions, dermatitis and skin inflammation. They have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.


Although these ingredients do not cause health problems they are completely unecessary and one to look out for if you're vegan. Carmine made from crushed or boiled beetles is often used to create vibrant red colours (cherry red suddenly doesn't sound so appetising) .

Guanine is used to create shimmery colours and is derived from fish scales.

After looking at all the facts, if you're still not convinced, you may want to consider how our bodies are reacting everyday to the amount of toxins in our modern world. An internally overburdened oxidative stress load can limit your body's ability for growth and repair. If you're not able to successfully detoxify your body you could start suffering from hormonal disruption and increased inflammatory overload. I love nail varnish and I believe it's the little steps that help create a long term happier healthier body. Unfortunately, it's not possible to create a completely natural and organic nail polish, but since I can't give up nail varnish I decided to create a 10 free formula polish to compliment the rest of our organic products. I really hope you enjoy our new summer colours.

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