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Safer Nail Polish

Safer Nail Polish

My daughter is hoping to be pregnant soon, and I am worried about her using nail polish since I heard it is unhealthy for fetuses. Are there any that are safe?

My daughter and I have faced the challenge of finding healthy nail polish–what I will allow her to use, and why, and her response–and the good news is that this stress between us has finally lessened because of some great new products. Here is a mother/daughter blog we wrote about this:

Annie (the mom)
In the summer I look with envy at women with peach-colored toe nails and a tan, or ruby-red toe nail polish with black sandals. I know nail polish is bad for everyone (see “Getting It,” below), but my sense of fashion makes me want to compromise my standards despite the environment, if only I could tolerate it. Maybe it is my own yearning that made me be gentle with Lily’s desire to wear nail polish instead of just saying no: she has been in love with it since she was three. I allowed her to use it within parameters, which were far from ideal for her! Fortunately some much safer products have since come onto the market for her to use.

Lily (the daughter)
When I think of nail polish, words like “pretty” or “stylish” donít pop into my head right off the bat. When I think of nail polish, I think ďwhat a dragĒ and go check the temperature outside. One thing that has been severely lacking from my youth and teenage years is the excitement of painting my nails. Sure, I do it. But in order to paint my nails, I have to do it outside and then wait until they are completely dry before venturing back indoors. This isnít so bad during the summer. But what am I supposed to do when the temperature drops below 60 degrees?

And then thereís the matter of insects. There I am, painting my nails, and the mosquitoes decide that Iím the perfect target. I canít bat at them, I canít swat them away: I learned that this was a bad idea when one got stuck in the wet polish on my finger. And then, of course, there was the idea of ďnon-toxic nail polish.Ē A good idea in theory, but in reality it still smells bad, it clumps weirdly, and comes off too quickly. No matter what direction I choose, the answer is simply not productive, and I have hence become subject to a mainly nail-polish-less existence.

GETTING IT: Until very recently, there were no safe nail polishes and even doing one’s nails outdoors was an unhealthy compromise, and dangerous for the fetus if the person were pregnant. Unsafe means solvents that are neurotoxic (toluene), carcinogenic chemicals (formaldehyde), and plasticizers (phthalates) that are disrupter of hormones. This later is the most dangerous for male fetuses. Fortunately, Annie has FINALLY found some good products that are a big improvement over the ones Lily mentions, and Lily likes them, too.

GETTING IT GREEN: I, Annie, am most excited about a water-based nail polish now on the market, Suncoat Water-based nail polish, and it appears to be the safest out there. It is about 60-70 percent “natural.” The colors are all made from natural pigments. They do not contain phthalates, formaldehdye, toluene, or acetate/acetone.

Here are two other safer brands of nail polish that I will let Lily use even if they still might not be safe for someone who is very chemically sensitive: Honeybee Gardens and Peacekeeper. They are both free of phthalates,
formaldehdye, and toluene. To check your nail polish brand for safety visit the Environmental Working Group.

Polish remover adds another type of problem, so we recommend you let it peel off naturally. As yof et we don’t know of a phthalate-free nail polish remover.

Read more: Beauty, Ask Annie, Hands & Feet, , , , , ,

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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10:03PM PST on Dec 19, 2011

thank you!

12:42PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

I use Deep Cover Nail polish too. It's so much better for you.

12:17PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

What a great informations!!! I love nail polish!!!! Zoya is my favorite, Deep Cover Nail System too but is hard to buy.

3:56PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Great information. Color up, girls. :0)

1:35PM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

I'm using Deep Cover Nail polish and Zoya. It's easy to buy Zoya but Deep Cover is always sold out on shopnbc. I did't know you can buy it on the deep cover webside. So thank you for the info. And yes it's great!

1:34PM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

I'm using Deep Cover Nail polish and Zoya. It's easy to buy Zoya but Deep Cover is always sold out on shopnbc. I did't know you can buy it on the deep cover webside. So thank you for the info. And yes it's great!

9:19AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

The deep cover nail system it's the best. I have been useing for about year now. I like Zoya too, but deep cover is FDA approved

11:31AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Kelly, I got Deep Cover System nail polish in july. It's awesome!! I love everything healthy and I'm so glad somebody else know about it! Btw, it stays on forever :)

5:33PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Try Deep Cover System!!!!! This is THE only FDA approved nail polish. You can get it on SHOPNBC (cheeper) or

8:16AM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

Thank you

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

We would all be healthier if we consumed more fresh produce.

The dog is looking and thinking "Can someone shut this kid up"...

The child is mimicking someone close to him.


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