Chances are, your fingers and toes spend most of their time glossed in any shade of the rainbow. Whether at home or in a salon, a mani-pedi is an easy way to feel polished. But have you ever stopped to think about what that pretty paint may be leaching into your body through your porous nail beds? Not to mention the plethora of toxic substances used in the process (I mean, have you SMELLED polish remover?? That ain’t natural.)
The toxic cocktail of ingredients like toluene, formaldehyde and camphor present in many polishes can cause cancer, damage the nervous system and be harmful to both reproductive organs and unborn babies, just to name a few. Luckily, beauty companies are wising up to these effects and even big brands like Chanel, Dior and L’Oreal now proudly claim “big 5 free” ingredient lists. To better explain those big 5 and why they should be avoided, we sat down with Rebecca Isa, the Creative Director behind Zoya - a pioneer in the world of 5-free polish.
Click through for tips on how to make your mani safer, AND last longer. Plus 20 safe and stylish polishes to try now! Or check out the version published on Guest of a Guest!
What are the big 5 toxins to watch out for in nail polish, and why?
The big 5 toxins are: Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DBP and Camphor. These ingredients have been found to cause a number of health concerns such as: birth defects, cancer, fatigue, headaches, fetus development problems, irritation, CNS complications, nausea and dizziness. Some of these concerns are from inhalation and are more of a problem for nail technicians who breathe the fumes in for long periods of time; while others problems can develop through contact absorption.
Why do other companies use these toxins, is there a benefit to the product?
I am not sure why a company would choose to use these ingredients however at one time they were common place. The growth of the industry and development of a more natural focus has led to a greater awareness of ingredients and modern chemistry allows us to replace [these] with equally effective more benign choices.
Do you have any tips for making your manicure last?
Step 1: The first thing you must do is to prep the nail properly; use a remover formulated for natural nails to take off existing polish without stripping the nail plate (Zoya Remove +).
Step 2: File in one direction from the outer corners to the center and buff down any free edge separation. Use products designed for the natural nail, they will have better adhesion and more flexibility which means fewer chips and cracks.
Step 3: When painting wrap the polish around the free edge; always use a base coat, 2 coats of polish, top coat and drying drops. Remember to reapply your top coat every 2 days to increase the wear and renew shine.