What Makes Some Nail Polish Toxic?

Justine Lassoff

Posted on January 04 2017

What Makes Some Nail Polish Toxic?

Every new year comes with a new resolve to improve our lives, but people often see this as a huge undertaking and may feel overwhelmed! The key, we've found, is to take small steps - one foot in front of the other, enjoying each moment as you go.


For this first step, let's actually look at our feet, and hands too! Nail polish is many ladies' way of feeling more put together, but it also contains some of the most harmful chemicals found in cosmetics. A recent study done by the Environmental Wellness Group (EWG) and researchers at Duke University found a sevenfold increase of a chemical called Diphenyl Phosphate (DPHP) in womens' bodies just 10-14 hours after applying nail polish. DPHP forms in the body when it metabolizes Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP), an ingredient found in flame retardant, and more than 1,500 popular nail polishes. These chemicals are known to cause damage to the endocrine system, yet are found in a product very frequently used by people of all ages, especially teenagers.


The most prevalent toxins in your usual drugstore and makeup counter finds are the "Big 7": DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, and xylene. These are known to disrupt endocrine systems (even between pregnant mothers and their unborn children), cause skin and respiratory irritation, and have possible links to certain cancers.


There are thankfully many nail polish companies that have opted to go "7-Free" and create alternative formulas for their nail lacquers, but these can be difficult to find among the huge selection of polishes out there. We've rounded up some of our tried-and-tested favorites: 


LVX: Latin for "light", their collections' colors are inspired by the most chic runway trends every season.

LVX polishes can be found on our site, and have been featured in past LOVE GOODLY boxes! The shade "True LOVE Red" (not pictured) is a custom shade created exclusively for LOVE GOODLY and can only be found in the LOVE GOODLY Shop.


Pacifica: Their huge selection of beauty products are all fun, whimsical, and ethical through and through.

We plan to add Pacifica Beauty products to our shop soon, so stay in the loop on our Instagram or Facebook!

Côte: Made by the experts, Côte even has its own salon location!

Côte was featured in our recent, sold-out December/January edition of the LOVE GOODLY Subscription box.

Here at LOVE GOODLY, we are all about encouraging people to feel their best by helping them love themselves, others, and the planet. As we kick off 2017, we'd love to share more information about ways to feel cleaner, greener, and more kind. Let's clean up your beauty routine in more ways than one! Not only will your cosmetics kit feel the lighter for it, but your body will too.

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