Why should you switch to toxic-free nail polish?

toxic-free nail polish

Do you ever wonder why the strong smell of conventional nail polish makes you feel a little dizzy or even gives you headaches? That’s because most traditional polishes are packed with seriously harmful chemicals. Now, you may think that the occasional trip to the nail salon seems like you’re not really exposing yourself to the toxic fumes. But your nails are porous, so every time you apply a coat of varnish, the chemicals are directly absorbed into your body and can cause damage to your kidneys, liver, and even reproductive hormones in the long term.

So why aren’t we all wearing non-toxic nail polish? The world of natural nail polish can be confusing. Brands are throwing around terms like "non-toxic," "free-from," and "clean", but it's hard to understand all that lingo when you're new to the clean beauty scene. For all of you who are feeling a little confused and would like to know the difference, here’s a quick breakdown to understand what it all means and why it matters.

Non-toxic nail polish will be labeled 3, 5, 7, 12 or 21-Free. This refers to the number of chemicals your nail polish is free from.

Nearly all conventional nail polishes available today are considered three-free, which means they don’t contain the “toxic trio” of formaldehydetoluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) that have serious health effects ranging from asthma, to fertility issues and cancer.


WHAT'S OUT: formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor.

WHY THAT MATTERS: Studies have proven that formaldehyde resin (a derivative of formaldehyde) is allergenic. Camphor is a common ingredient used for the glossy finish of your nails. It can cause severe allergic reactions that can lead to seizures with prolonged and excessive exposure. It is also responsible for depriving your nails of essential nutrients, making them weak and brittle.


WHAT'S OUT: formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, parabens or xylene.

WHY THAT MATTERS: Xylene is a petroleum-based solvent found in paint thinner and nail polish that can cause symptoms like headaches and dizziness with short-term exposure. Used as preservatives, parabens have estrogen-mimicking effects which may trigger hormonal problems.


WHAT'S OUT: formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, parabens, xylene, fragrances, phthalates, animal ingredients and don't contain ethyl tosylamide and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP).

WHY THAT MATTERS: TPHP is a flame retardant and plasticizer that gives a smooth glossy shine to nail polish. Ethyl Tosylamide is a sulfur-based antibiotic and is banned in Europe for use in cosmetics since it can cause mild to severe allergic reactions. Studies have suggested that both TPHP and Ethyl Tosylamide could be endocrine disrupters which affect your hormones.


WHAT'S OUT: formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, parabens, xylene, fragrances, phthalates, animal ingredients and ethyl tosylamide, triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) and don’t contain benzene, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), glycol ethers of series E, hydroquinone (HQ), 4-methoxyphenol (MEHQ), nonylphenol ethoxylates, tert-butyl hydroperoxide, chromium oxide greens, bismuth oxychloride.

WHY THAT MATTERS: Benzene can cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) is a chemical solvent and may cause reproductive harm and organ toxicity. Glycol ethers of series E are derived from Ethylene oxide which is a flammable gas and exposure to it may cause headache, nausea, breathing difficulty, drowsiness, and reproductive effects. Hydroquinone (HQ) is a depigmenting agent and long term use may damage your skin pigment cells. 4-Methoxyphenol (MEHQ) is a synthetic derivate of hydroquinone (HQ). Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE) potential health effects include hormone (endocrine) disruption, skin and eye irritation. Tert-Butyl Hydroperoxide (TBHP) is a suspected endocrine disruptor that has been demonstrated to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream following nail polish application. Chromium Oxide Greens and Bismuth Oxychloride are mineral pigments with the potential to absorb into the skin.

Are non-toxic nail polishes 100% safe? Truth be told, it’s impossible to make completely chemical-free nail polish… yet! But we do believe in being as healthy and safe as possible. That’s why at Maria Curau, we use the kindest and purest formulation for our very own collection of 21-free nail polish to give you beautiful nails, with no major nasties. All you need to do is worry about which color to choose!