Oh, bother. We can’t say we’re terribly surprised about this, and we know that even when nail polish is free of toluene, DBP and formaldehyde, it’s still usually as far as you can get from natural, but yup:
A new report from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control found levels of these harmful chemicals in 10 of the 12 “nontoxic” nail polishes it tested.
From the Washington Post:
Investigators found that 10 of 12 products that claimed to be free of toluene actually contained it, with four of the products having dangerously high levels.
The report also found that five of seven products that claimed to be “free of the toxic three” actually included one or more of the agents in significant levels.
As I type this, gazing at my chipped coral manicure (OPI, don’t hate—it was for an important occasion), I’m sort of faced with that “I knew it but I didn’t want to know it” feeling. It’s similar to how we felt when we were writing the book and had to part with some of our favorite products. Like my “all-natural” defrizzer that was aloe-based, but also contained no fewer than three parabens—as well as fragrance.
But back to polish. Among those tested and mislabeled were: Sation 99 basecoat, Sation 53 red-pink nail color, Dare to Wear nail lacquer, Chelsea 650 Baby’s Breath Nail Lacquer, New York Summer Nail Color, Paris Spicy 298 nail lacquer, Sunshine nail lacquer, Cacie Light Free Gel Basecoat, Cacie Sun Protection Topcoat, Golden Girl Topcoat, Nail Art Top-N-Seal and High Gloss Topcoat.
Glad that none of the brands I use are on the list, but there’s little comfort in that, obviously, since the Tox department only tested a random sample.
Show’s to go ya you never can be too sure you’re getting what you’re buying, no matter how careful you are. That’s why we try to only shop from brands we know very well, whose transparency and authenticity we trust. But blah all the same. Are you going to stop getting your nails done?
Last weekend I got married, and for the sake of transparency here, no, it was not an all-natural affair. Siobhan and I have long conceded that industrial strength antiperspirant, waterproof mascara (we all had a good cry), and long-lasting foundation have their place at special occasions. And while the smell of the super-hold hairspray gave me pause, I was very happy not to worry about my do’ collapsing mid-evening.
The other thing I did for the event, which I have not done in nearly two years now, is polish my nails. If you read the book you know that nail polish and remover are among the worst offenders when it comes to nasty chemicals. While many brands have taken out the big three—formaldehyde, toluene and DBP—it’s pretty impossible to make functional nail polish from clean ingredients.
At a certain point during our research for the book I began to buff instead, and I’ve just never turned back. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have a weird obsession with long nails, and when I stopped polishing mine something incredible happened: They stopped breaking.
Recently though I’ve wondered if that phenomenon was a figment of my imagination. Maybe it wasn’t the nail polish, but a change in my diet that had strengthened my claws? Not so.
While I loved the ritual of having my nails done last Thursday with my mom and sister, and the manicurist used OPI (which is big-three free), almost every single nail on my hands has since chipped, peeled or broken.
So, of course, now we want to know: Do you polish your nails? Did you stop because of chemicals? Have your nails changed? Telltell.
I was pleased to come across this post on Treehugger about American Apparel’s line of cleaner nail polishes. (And yeah, it’s no secret that I used to work for the company—where I made many dear friends and which makes my new favorite pants—but that’s not what this post is about.)
Are they totally chemical free? No—unfortunately no polishes are—but at least these don’t contain the big three: DBP, toluene and formaldehyde. Like all things American Apparel the nail polish is also made in America, which means a smaller carbon footprint. Another added bonus? The 20 fun colors it comes in.