Chicks dig pedicures. There, I said it. Just to clarify, I am a feminist and I don’t subscribe to the notion that women need to paint and coif themselves to perfection to live up to some societal notion of beauty. But what can I say? I like getting my toes done, and if that makes me a little bit girlie then I guess I am guilty.
My guilt about this pampering ritual I engage in every couple of months (maybe more often in summertime) has nothing to do with feminism and everything to do with being green. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might remember the paraben purge I went through a while back, and know that while I don’t profess to be the queen of green by any stretch (I’ll leave that title to Annie), I am pretty conscious about what goes into my products and onto my body.
So surprise surprise, like many things, nail polish smells bad for a reason. It’s packed with chemicals that are not good for you. Imagine that. Ethyl and butyl acetate, dibutyl phthalate, isopropyl alcohol, and benzophenone-1–just a taste of what’s in your favorite candy apple red or barely-there pink. Some of these chemicals effects: Cancer, immune system toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, respiratory toxicity, bioaccumulation, and endocrine disruption. No thank you!
So last week I was at a mani-pedi baby shower with some women from work. There were cupcakes and champagne and rose petals in the glass bowls we were going to soak our feet in and it was all very girlie–and fabulous. But there was that niggling feeling, like is this pedicure habit going to kill me eventually? And what about that poor unborn baby gestating in the guest of honor? But then something sort of amazing happened: The mom-to-be pulled out a box of non-toxic nail polishes she brought to share! She had several shades to choose from, and we all made sure our technicians used the non-toxic base and top coat too.
Now the last time I tried non-toxic nail polish I remember it was 2001 and the stuff went on goopy and peeled off in less than 24 hours. There have apparently been some improvements since then.
So I have been on the hunt for my own collection of non-toxic nail polishes, which I plan to use each and every time I go to a salon for a pedicure. But here is the rub (and not the foot rub): After finding what were labeled non-toxic nail polishes at a number of different sites, a closer look at the ingredients found ethyl and butyl acetate, dibutyl phthalate, isopropyl alcohol, and benzophenone-1. Apparently calling a product non-toxic doesn’t guarantee that’s so.
Priti Polish, Earthly Delights, Zoya–all of these nail polishes claim to be non-toxic and Earth-friendly, but they are definitely NOT. The two brands I found that are truly free of petrochemicals are Honeybee Gardens and
Bringing my own nail polish will make me feel greener, and easy the safety concerns I have about getting pedicures, but it won’t make me any less girlie. I can live with that.