Getting ready for a pedicure? With the plethora of nail polish options these days, it can be tough to distinguish which ones are good for you. Thankfully there are several options now for better polishes that still perform really well. Many salons now carry the cleaner varieties also, but I like to carry my own for touch-ups.
Interestingly, nail polish originated in China as early as 3000 B.C. The ingredients included beeswax, egg whites, gelatin and vegetable dyes. In Ancient Egypt, nail polish was actually used to distinguish class rankings. The lower class often wore nude and light colors, while high society painted its nails red. Inspired by automobile paint, a completely colorless version was introduced in 1916. Revlon became the first established nail polish brand in 1932 when it released a cream color. In 1934, a bottle of Cutex nail polish cost 35 cents and came in three shades of red.
In terms of the chemicals in nail polish, you may have heard of the “Big Five” chemicals, which are dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and camphor. These are the main ones to avoid. You may see some types advertised as “Big Five Free”. In fact, nail salons harbor a lot of airborne chemicals, so take care in limiting your exposure time if you can.
There are several good brands that have fun colors too! Making nail polish is a little tricky at this point, so better off sticking with the pros.
1. Acquarella: Water-based, vegan and wheat-free. Also makes a non-toxic nail polish remover.
2. Honeybee Gardens: You can actually remove this nail polish with vodka or rubbing alcohol, so you don’t have to buy nail polish remover at all.
3. Piggy-Paint: One of the least-expensive brands and has nail art too.
4. Suncoat: Peels off easily, meaning you do not need nail polish remover.
5. Ella+Mila: Claims to be chip resistant, fast drying and vegan.
— Sara Lemons Vaules is the founder of Lemon and Light, which offers consulting, products and strategies for moving with ease into an organic, chemical-free lifestyle.