Nails, News

The Truth About What’s Really In Your Nail Polish

June 8, 2017


You’ve just chosen your polish, picked out your favorite magazine, and put your foot in the pedi-tub filled with warm soaking water. Now it’s time to paint your toes in formaldehyde, parabens, and other toxic carcinogens. If this sounds wrong, then it’s time to take a closer look at your nail polish choices. You see, many mainstream polishes contain toxic chemicals like these. At milk + honey, our nail treatments are toxin-free and safe. See what makes us different.

The “Big Five” to Avoid

  1. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is a chemical that manufacturers use to create flexible plastics. In nail polishes, this toxin is used to prevent chipping. Within the last decade, many studies have linked this toxin to reproductive issues and cancer. In fact, the European Union has banned the use of DBP in cosmetics and the state of  California classifies it as a hormonal and reproductive toxin.
  2. Derived from petroleum, toluene is a chemical that gives polishes a smooth application and even finish. This chemical is used to create TNT and is an octane booster in gasoline. Toluene’s fumes are highly toxic and studies show that it can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, liver damage, fetal development damage, and skin irritation. Some studies have even revealed that toluene can cause cerebral deterioration causing seizures, blindness, and decreased cognition.
  3. Formaldehyde is a chemical that is used to embalm the deceased and can be found in many nail polishes as well. This toxin is used to harden and strengthen your nail polish. Studies link this chemical to nasal and lung cancer — it’s considered a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Nail therapists and their children are at a higher risk for exposure to this chemical due to their profession. Long term effects for them include asthma, convulsions, nausea, and fetal miscarriage.
  4. Camphor gives nail polishes their glossy, shiny appearance. It is also used in rust repellents and acts as a plastic cover on your nails. This cover deprives your nails of essential nutrients and can leave yellowish stains. Though this ingredient is considered “safer” than DBP, formaldehyde, or toluene, camphor has been shown to cause seizures and organ damage.
  5. Parabens are preservatives in nail polishes and they prevent your nails from receiving vital natural nutrients. In the past decade, studies suggest that this toxin may be linked to breast cancer.

Clean Polishes

At milk + honey, we believe that beauty products should be clean, which is why we’re proud to use (and retail!) Spa Ritual nail polishes. Developed in 2004 by Shel Pink, Spa Ritual is a line of vegan and cruelty-free polishes. Each of these polishes contains certified organic ingredients and are free of the “big five.” Here are five polishes to ditch in favor of their Spa Ritual counterpart.



Do you love a bold red? Stand out from the pack with Spa Ritual’s vibrant Poppy polish.


Go confidently into the dark side with Street Smart.



Don’t let the name fool you, Spa Ritual’s Airhead is no space case.



Make a statement with Last Tango.



Ideal for fall and winter, Solitude is the deep burgundy shade that we love.


You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Follow Us on Twitter

Find us on Facebook

Then copy and paste this code into the Scripts in Footer section: