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Toxins in Nail Polish

Sporty & Rich Wellness - Toxins in Nail Polish


By: @wellclub__


Many of us are making significant strides to feel healthy, from drinking two plus liters of water per day, consistently moving our bodies, meditating, reading self-help books, getting seven plus hours of sleep each night, and eating well. Yet, a blind eye is often turned towards the everyday products that we use on our face and body.

Beauty products are often the final step taken towards a non-toxic, healthier lifestyle. Swapping out your “cult favourite” product for a cleaner alternative may have been challenging in the past, however, the beauty market is now filled with an abundance of clean alternatives that perform as well (or better) than their conventional counterparts. 

The skin is the body’s largest organ and it is highly absorbent. Meaning, what we put onto our bodies matters. Did you know that industrial chemicals and carcinogens can be found inside almost all conventional beauty products? These toxins have been linked to a range of health issues from allergies, asthma, reproductive disorders, hormonal imbalances, nervous system problems, autoimmune diseases, and even cancer. Not only are these toxins harmful for ourselves, but they also pose a risk to the health of our planet.

You may be wondering how and why these toxins could possibly be included in beauty products. The beauty industry is essentially unregulated in the US, meaning, companies can legally put toxic ingredients in their products. Many people naturally trust the safety of a product if it is available for purchase in a store. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. The labels may include the ingredients, but they do not state the harmful health effects of each one.

If you’re ready to slowly make the transition towards cleaner beauty products, an easy (and often overlooked) swap to make is nail polish. Although it may have been next to impossible to find clean nail polish brands in the past, the beauty industry has made some impressive strides and has risen to the challenge. Considering the fact that nail polish can be absorbed into the bloodstream, it is wise to switch over to a non-toxic brand.

The toxic trio typically found in conventional nail polishes are Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde, and Toluene. Formaldehyde and DBP have been linked to cancer, while DBP has also been linked to reproductive issues. Even in small amounts, formaldehyde can be poisonous. Toluene is a petroleum derived chemical that is harmful to the nervous system and also linked to reproductive issues, breathing complications, dermatitis, nausea and headaches. Other harmful additives to look for are Formaldehyde Resin (a less toxic derivative), Camphor (a neurotoxin), Triphenyl Phosphate THPH (a plasticizer and flame retardant), xylene, and ethyl tosylamide.

If you’re curious to learn more about the ingredients found in your nail polish, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website is a great resource, specifically the Skin Deep Database. This database provides a rating of each ingredient’s toxicity. Many non toxic nail polishes are also referred to as being “3 free” or “5 free”. 

Below is a list of popular clean brands to try out.



Deborah Lippman 




Kapa Nui

Ella + Mila


Smith and Cult


Start by experimenting with some alternative brands and even ask your nail salon if you can bring in your own colour. Once you make the nail polish switch then try swapping out your other beauty products, one by one. Glamour is still achievable and accessible without compromising the health of yourself or the environment. 


Prince Sporty Crewneck - Orange

Prince Sporty Crewneck - Orange

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94 California Crewneck - Sage

94 California Crewneck - Sage

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