Isn’t it fun to indulge your inner glamour puss every now and again? Was that a non-commital nod I just witnessed through the other side of this screen? Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your inner truth. It’s just you and me sharing a precious girlie moment — and let’s face it…the older we get, the less frequent these opportunities become — so CARPE DIEM, bay-bee.
Put aside the fact that housework needs to be done, the kiddies require constant entertainment, and you’re always pondering what on earth you’re going to serve for dinner. Some things will never change, but in the midst of all the domestic madness, you deserve to paint your flipping nails…even if it’s just once a month.
Isn’t it funny how that one simple act is almost defiant in nature – as if to announce to the world (or at the very least, your carpooling circle of kindergarteners, tweens or apathetic teens) that, despite your maternal role and desperate need for a long hot shower, a girlie-girl lies in wait…craving an opportunity to bloom, if only for a fleeting moment.
Painting one’s nails is almost like intentionally wearing frilly little unmentionables beneath your pet hair covered sweatpants, except who actually does that?! No, seriously. Women’s magazines started that ridiculous ‘matching underwear’ rumor in order to promote the notion of self-pampering. At least with nail polish, it lasts a while, it reflects your mood as well as your personality and it’s a whole lot more comfortable than wearing perpetual wedgie-inducing lace thongs and garter belts
But have you taken a gander at the kind of junk found in typical nail polish brands? Chemically cryptic compounds like dibutyl phthalate, sodium laurel sulfate, methylparaben, toluene, hydroquinone, diethanolamine, sodium laurel sulfate, formaldehyde, and triethanolamine? Here’s a quick rundown of what they are and why you want to avoid them, but if you’re short on time, all you really need to know is that the human body was not designed to be assaulted by manmade chemicals 24 hours a day.
By painting a cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals directly on your nails, that’s precisely what you’re doing — inviting that sinister blend to transfer from your nail bed directly into your bloodstream where it can wreak havoc on your system and trigger endocrine issues among other equally troubling complications. Don’t forget your lungs, either. Every time you open up a bottle, those noxious fumes have to go somewhere.
No need to pout. You don’t have to sacrifice this elemental feminine beauty ritual now that manufacturers are producing greener, safer alternatives. The next time you want to jazz up your fingers and toes with a punch of color, consider these eco-options, particularly if dipping into your daughter’s admittedly green yet not terribly lasting paint-n-peel polish has been the catalyst for far too many kitty fights. Me-owww!
GREEN, LESS TOXIC NAIL COLORS TO TEST DRIVE
KAIA HOUSE ORGANICS BIO-NAIL POLISH: There isn’t a well-defined description of this line on Kaia’s website, other than the fact that it is absent of formaldehyde, phthalate, and toluene, but at $8.00 per bottle, it won’t break the bank so it’s certainly worth a try.
PRITI NAIL POLISH: This 100% biodegradable, vegan-friendly lacquer – priced at $12.50 per perfectly recyclable glass bottle — is made with soy, corn, orange oil and is totally free of the ‘toxic trio.’
ACQUARELLA NAIL POLISH: Claiming to be the world’s only non-toxic and water-based nail tint, their mucho-pricey $18.00 indulgence better be as impressive as they’re boasting. In addition to coming in 31 different colors, the formula is vegan-friendly, absent of the ‘toxic trio’ (not to mention a lot of other funky stuff that is hard to pronounce) and it even enhances the flexibility and strength of nails the more you use it. Just be sure to earmark a fair amount of time for your manicure, because you’re going to have to REALLY pay attention to their prep instructions to ensure that your chosen color stays put.
SHESWAI NAIL POLISH: The first thing you’ll notice about this minimalistic line of 7 USA-made paints is that they’re crowned with sustainably harvested wooden caps, thereby significantly reducing the amount of plastic that is ultimately landfilled. What they’re missing is the toxic stuff such as dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and toluene, making each bottle a highly eco-responsible addition to your girlie accoutrements – if you can just justify the $16.00 cost.
SPA RITUAL NAIL POLISH: This vegan line of well over 80 different rainbow colored nail lacquers is free of DBP, toluene, formaldehyde and formaldehyde resin, and for the eco-geeks out there, the Italian-made glass container is crafted with up to 50% recycled materials.
PIGGY PAINT: Who says that tweens should have all the fun? Piggy Paint – known for their youth-oriented, water-based, formaldehyde-, toluene-, phthalate-, Bisphenol A-, ethyl acetate- and acetone-free $8.99 neon and candy-tinted lacquers are now available in more sophisticated tones for the…ahem…mature set.
NO MISS NAIL POLISH: Although the scent of this paint seems utterly ‘chemically’ the moment you twist off the cap, the makers insist that their formula is absent of dibutyl-pthalate, camphor, formaldehyde and toluene. To their credit, they sell 150 colors, all made with earth-based pigments rather than D&C dyes. Another admitted bonus is that they’re just $6.99 per bottle and sometimes even cheaper at a local health food store. Worth a shot, don’t you think? (Pssst…just crack a window wide open before hunkering down for your manicure.)
ZOYA NAIL POLISH: Among the most affordable and long-wearing of the eco-friendly nail lacquers out there, Zoya’s $7.00 bottles are vegan-friendly and absent of camphor, dibutyl, formaldehyde and toluene – plus they don’t release that terrible nose-offending odor that is common among their competition.
A BEAUTIFUL LIFE NAIL POLISH: Offered in 16 diverse and deeply pigmented shades, this $12.00 ‘toxic trio’ free product apparently wears well (which is more than can be said for a lot of eco-friendly polishes) and it will help you to breathe easier…at least mentally speaking.
PEACE KEEPER NAIL POLISH: Apparently, the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Safety Database is rather impressed with this unique brand of nail paint because they’ve bestowed Peace Keeper with a particularly kick-@$$ health ranking of ‘4’ (out of 10…and this is one of those cases where a ‘perfect 10’ is actually a bad thing).
SCOTCH NATURALS: Boasting a water-based formula, this collection of 13 shades is free of everything from assorted heavy metals and dibutyl phthelate to acetone, toluene and formaldehyde. Each bottle is priced at $14.99, so not the cheapest car in the lot, but they say that you get what you pay for…
BUTTER LONDON: Lacking formaldehyde, toluene and DBP, their 43 different $14.00 nail tints are almost as eye catching as the limited edition lilac glitter shade that they launched in honor of Kate Middleton’s nuptials to Great Britain’s Prince William.
GREEN, LESS TOXIC NAIL POLISH REMOVERS TO TEST DRIVE
HONEYBEE GARDENS ODORLESS POLISH REMOVER: Effective at removing both conventional as well as more natural nail lacquers, this California VOC-compliant liquid contains nail strengthening vitamin E and horsetail extract along with aloe vera – and at $8.99 for each 4 ounce bottle, it isn’t all that unreasonable, either.
PRITI NAIL POLISH REMOVER: Jeeze-louise…$22.50 per 4 ounce bottle. Hey, it’s your call…if you have a wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, then go crazy. To its credit, this soybean ester based lacquer remover possesses NO petroleum products, it is 100% biodegradable and it is not carcinogenic…plus it contains lemongrass essential oil for an appealing kick of scent.
A BEAUTIFUL LIFE SOY POLISH REMOVER: This product offers a gentle way to remove all traces of last week’s color thanks to a combination of soybean esters, biodegradable cocomide dea and pink grapefruit essential oil, but its $20.00 price tag (for 4 ounces) makes it among the most costly of the natural nail polish remover offerings.
KAIA HOUSE ORGANICS POLISH REMOVER: Each 2 ounce, $8.00 soy-based bottle is acetone and phthalate free, naturally moisturizing, and vegan-friendly. Short-n-sweet, but you can blame Kaia since they’re not terribly forthcoming with their product descriptions.
ALMOST NATURAL POLISH REMOVER: Since this vegan-friendly formula is lacking the acetone, ethyle acetate and other harsh chemicals typically found in mainstream versions, it really does take a lot longer to work its magic. However, patience is a virtue and it’s comforting to know that you’re not saturating your nail beds in pure evil. The price isn’t all that bad, either, at $4.99 for a 2 ounce bottle or $6.99 for a 4 ounce bottle.
SUNCOAT NATURAL NAIL POLISH REMOVER: This fully-biodegradable, GMO-free, plant based, vegan-friendly nail varnish remover – containing corn and soy esters plus d-limonene and glycerin – works to hydrate nails while gently removing old color. It can be yours for the not-too-shabby price of $5.99 per 2 ounce or $9.99 per 4 ounce bottle.
SCOTCH NATURALS POLISH REMOVER: Made with plant based alcohols & fatty acids as well as organic buffers and nonionic surfactants, a $9.99 bottle will clear away all evidence of your now ‘worse for the wear’ manicure. Plus the bottle looks tres chic (compared to what you might find at your local Walgreens.
ACQUARELLA NAIL POLISH REMOVER: Far more affordable than their nail lacquer, each $6.00 container of Acquarella’s water-based nail polish remover has no traces of conventional petrochemical solvents, rendering it non-toxic – and it’s guaranteed NOT to dry out nail beds or cuticles.
ELIZAH LEIGH — GREEN BLOGGER FOR ORGANIC BABY UNIVERSITY
Elizah Leigh’s master’s degree in education combined with her passion for the written word and deep-seated interest in environmental issues has proven to be the ideal trifecta for her present status as an eager-beaver eco-journalist on such sites as Organic Authority and 1-800-Recycling, among others. Currently commissioned to write a reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah does her best to inspire positive planetary change with each new article that she authors. Follow Elizah on Twitter.