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  • Writer's pictureKata Csehek

What your nail polish says about You

After all fashion runways showed mixing up colours for the summer this year, pop colour and the colour trend is yellow (Aspen Gold, Pastel Yellow, Turmeric, and Lemon Verbena) among all the pastels and rich, warm shades of autumnal colours. You can certainly find dark and light shades for your nail polish to harmonise your nails with your outfit. And what kind of message are you going to signal with these colours to your surrounding that unconsciously we all do understand?

Don’t mess up with me look, but keep in mind the endocrine disruptors.

What are you telling about YOU with your colour choices on the nails?

Black and very dark shades of nail polishes accentuate skin colour and make you stand out. It can also be quite empowering, and can give you a don’t mess with me look! It shows dare and self confidence.

Some man gets attracted to this message, while others may rather turn to women with light shades of nail polishes.

Light shades are indicating that you want to fit in and you are careful about what others think about you. They indicate that you are more likely willing to do things in the way as the others around you believe things have to be done.

You want to attract your-other-half, so choose “your colour”! Jus be yourself, and whether it’s from the dark or light shades, don’t forget: you can seriously harm yourself and the salon workers (if you let it done in a salon) if you are not selecting the right quality of nail polish. Because safety regulations are not covering this area of life fully, you have to step up for yourself. Nail polishes contain 5 very hazardous chemicals:


Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a member of the phthalate family of chemicals, is used in nail polish to minimize chipping. Phthalates are classified as endocrine disruptors, they mimic the hormone oestrogen in your body. They are proven to impair the hormonal development of male fetuses, cause organ damage, and may even instigate early-onset menopause.

Animal studies show decreased fertility, hormonal disruption, bioaccumulation, and liver damage for phthalate exposure.. The European Union banned DBP in cosmetic and personal care products, and the Australian government currently classifies DBP as a risk to the human reproductive system. In the United States, California classifies it as a reproductive and hormonal toxicant, but the federal government does not. Online you can buy any nail polish from anywhere, go for the right one!


Toluene is the nail polish ingredient used to create a smooth application and finish. Though it has a sweet, pungent smell and is also found in most conventional nail polish removers its fumes are highly toxic; studies have shown that exposure to toluene can cause neurological damage, decreased brain function, impaired breathing, hearing loss, and nausea. When inhaled too frequently by pregnant women, it may result in impaired fetal development. Animal studies have also shown that toluene is linked to reproductive impairment, immune system toxicity, and blood cancers like malignant lymphoma.

The European Union has restricted the use of toluene in personal care products, including nail polish, and advises that pregnant women and children should not be exposed to its fumes. In California, toluene is on the state’s Prop 65 list of chemicals that are harmful to fetal development. Yet, nail polishes containing toluene are available.


Formaldehyde is used to harden and strengthen nail polishes, also serving as a preservative that protects against bacterial growth. Formaldehyde is naturally produced by the body in incredibly small amounts—similar to the concentration found in some vaccines. At this low level, formaldehyde is not dangerous.

However, exposure to larger doses of formaldehyde in the air or on the skin may cause cancer of the throat, nose, and blood. Nail salon workers and their children are especially at risk for chronic health problems caused by formaldehyde, including asthma, convulsions, nausea, and miscarriages. Repeated exposure can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs and cause abnormal fetal development in pregnant women. The European Union allows only limited use of formaldehyde in personal care products, while Japan and Sweden have banned it completely.


Camphor is the ingredient used to give conventional nail polishes their glossy, shiny appearance. It is less toxic than the first three ingredients listed above, and is sometimes used in cold remedies such as vapor rubs and nasal sprays.

However, the safety of camphor has recently been called into question. It has been shown to trigger severe skin irritation and allergic reactions when applied topically, and inhaling its fumes can cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches. Observational studies have also linked camphor exposure to organ damage, such as liver dysfunction. Camphor in personal care products is limited to a concentration of 11% in the US, and it is being phased out in markets within the European Union.


Formaldehyde resin is a by-product of formaldehyde that makes its way into many nail polish formulas that include formaldehyde. It has been the subject of fewer human tests than the other four chemicals. However, preliminary studies show that can cause severe skin irritation and allergic reactions, skin depigmentation and loss of nerve sensation.


Choose a brand that is at least free of the first three hazardous chemicals (DBP, formaldehyde, and toluene), but aim for one free of all five or even better. Here are some links to online brands using alternative mixtures:

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