Less-Toxic Nail Polish

If you are interested in going clean and green when it comes to beauty products, you may be familiar with a lot of nail polish brands recently advertising that they are 5-free, 7-free, and even 10-free!  These numbers are referring to the number of common toxic chemical ingredients that are left out of their nail polish formula. You may have noticed that the title of this post is not “Non-Toxic Nail Polish” because so far that doesn’t exist completely, however there are a few brands that are definitely less-toxic than the rest. Do your research and realize that when it is 5-free for example, there are still a lot of toxic ingredients present.

So where can you research or find out where your favorite brand ranks? One way is by searching “nail polish” on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. The results will show the cleanest brands in their database, for example Acquarella and Suncoat. Both of these brands are water-based which is a great start and they do leave out many of the common toxic ingredients. Be mindful, however, that although they score a 1 on EWG (low rating), if you look at the details, there is still a low concern for some of the remaining ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, low is great and definitely better than a lot of common nail polishes, but completely non-toxic and clean, not quite. You can also search a specific brand you use, for example Essie and you can read its rating, its ingredients and their related concerns.

You can also do the same type of search on the Think Dirty® app. Acquarella scores a 3 and Suncoat a 4 on Think Dirty® app. The lowest rating they have for nail polish is currently a 3 and goes to the brands Scotch Naturals and Benecos. Ultimately, the decision is yours… how clean do you want to go and what ingredients are you willing to tolerate?

So again, “newbie” here and while I haven’t had a chance to try a lot of different less-toxic nail polish brands yet, I recently bought and started using a brand called Trust Fund Beauty. You actually won’t find this brand when searching on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database or even on Think Dirty® app, but they advertise to be 10-free. So let’s get into what these 10-free ingredients are: Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Andxylene, Parabens, Fragrances and Animal ingredients. The following is just some basic information I have found regarding a few of the toxic ingredients:

Dibutyl phthalate (DBT): DBT is a plasticizer and a common additive to adhesives. This chemical is banned in Europe and is known to cause reproductive problems. The EWG classifies this chemical as the highest danger level and warns that it can cause organ problems and endocrine disruption.

Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Resin: Formaldehyde is classified as a known carcinogen by the US National Toxicology Program. It is also used as a tissue fixative and an embalming agent. When used in lab preparations, there are strict warnings to avoid inhalation or skin contact.

Toluene: Toluene is an organic solvent with the ability to dissolve paint, rubber, ink, adhesive, lacquers, among other products. It is frequently employed as an octane booster for internal combustion systems. Research shows the chemical causes reproductive harm and dizziness. It is also found in gasoline and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that it can cause central nervous system problems.

Something else Trust Fund Beauty nail polish doesn’t have and is an ingredient that is commonly found even in many of the “cleaner” nail polish brands is Benzophenone-1. Multiple studies link Benzophenone-1 to Cancer, endocrine disruption and hormone disruptions. I use nail polish sparingly, mostly on my toes, but from my experience with Trust Fund Beauty’s polish, it lasts just as long as the top, more common and more toxic brands out there. It doesn’t chip easily and they have some great colors with very cute names like “I Look Good Nude” and “Wine O’Clock.”


All of this information regarding common toxic ingredients in nail polish just goes to show that we must create awareness for ourselves and research the products we are commonly using. It’s important to take the time to find out what ingredients are in our products, what those ingredients do and how harmful they can be. Then, if needed, find a better, less or non-toxic alternative.  Even though the US National Toxicology Program classifies formaldehyde as a known carcinogen and even though the CDC warns that toluene can cause central nervous system problems, these ingredients are still allowed to be used in our products. So until something changes, it is our responsibility to do the research and protect ourselves.

I guess my MO is leaving things on a more serious note in my posts with a call to action! HAHA! I really am passionate about this stuff as I find out more and more. I will continue to share my findings and we can learn together. Paint safely friends!

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

*This post was not sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own research.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s