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What Is “10-FREE” Nail Polish?

Toxic polish ingredients to avoid, and what 10-Free nail polish means for your health

Written by: 100% PURE®
Creamy Nail Polish Dripping

As much as we love a freshly painted pair of fingers and toes, we cringe at the realization of what kinds of toxins we’re putting on our nails. These toxins can infiltrate our skin, enter our mouths when we use our fingers to eat, and ultimately in our bloodstreams! Floating around the nail polish world you may have come across the terms 3-free, 5-free, 7-free, or even 10-free. But what do these numbers mean?

These numbers indicate the level of non-toxicity in the nail polish, noting how many toxic ingredients are not included. Think about that for a second. That means most standard nail polishes DO contain up to 10 toxic ingredients that we expose our skin, nails, mouths, and bloodstreams to every single day. What’s more is that there’s very little regulation and awareness about toxic nail polish ingredients. This is why we came up with our own nail formulas that exclude the 10 commonly used toxic ingredients in nail polish, making them “10-FREE”. The great news? These 10-free nail polishes can still deliver long-wearing, high shine, opaque colors to coat your nails to perfection.

nail polish

What Ingredients Are in Most Nail Polishes?

As we mentioned before, most drugstore and readily available nail polishes contain highly toxic ingredients. The quantity of these toxic ingredients varies from color to color and brand to brand. You might think to yourself, “what do I have to worry about? It’s just a little nail polish,” but some of the ingredients (and their side effects) will shock you.

The top 3 most toxic nail polish ingredients include toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate. Dibutyl phthalate or DBP, though considered toxic, is in some ways the least concerning, with reports of mild irritation of the skin and eyes after exposure and a potential impact on developmental growth and the reproductive system. But consider this: how often we paint our nails, or have them painted, and how long the polish is on our fingers and toes. It’s easy to see how ‘mild irritation’ can become an issue over time.

Formaldehyde will be the most familiar ingredient to some of you, as a key component in embalming fluid – the harsh preservative used on corpses. When exposed to this chemical, many of us experience watery, burning and/or itchy eyes, and discomfort of the throat leading to coughing and wheezing. Long term or repetitive exposure can lead to asthma and damage to the inner nose and throat lining. The idea of having formaldehyde anywhere near us actually makes our skin crawl, but it gets worse. Toluene is a chemical solvent found in tar and has a strong odor, similar to paint thinners. In moderate to large doses, the negative side effects impact the nervous system, immune system, lungs and organs.

Some of the lesser evils excluded from 5-free and 7-free nail polish include camphor, parabens, and xylene. Xylene, another of the 10 most toxic nail ingredients, has not been verified as a carcinogen yet, but has an immediate impact on the body. Side effects include headache, dizziness, nausea, and more.

We’re already familiar with parabens, the umbrella term for several types of preservatives used in hair and cosmetics products. While the harmfulness and toxicity of parabens are often debated, side effects are very real. The most dangerous side effects of parabens are their ability to mimic the hormone estrogen in the body. To the ladies out there: we know you’re thinking that we already deal with the less-than-glamorous side effects of estrogen once a month. But while additional estrogen doesn’t initially sound serious, it can disrupt normal bodily functions, create harmful imbalances, and ultimately lead to tumors and cancerous cells.

Camphor is one of the ingredients responsible for the sharp, bitter odor of nail polish, but it can also cause nails to become chronically dry, brittle, and discolored. Ultimately, none of these ingredients are safe for pregnant or nursing mothers, and the rest of us should avoid them if at all possible as well.

Creamy Nail Polish Cherry Pop, Tomato, Pepper Kiss

The Bright Side: 10-Free Nail Polish

Fact or fiction: there is a direct correlation between our happiness levels and a fresh mani. #Facts. We’ll do you one better: skipping the 10 top chemicals will help you enjoy your mani-pedi that much more! Treating yourself to a professional paint job, or even whipping out your nail polish stash and getting to work on your own is truly a luxurious, self-loving experience. A neat set of groomed, even nails is made that much better by a great pop of color.

Creamy Nail Polish Amrosia, Soul Mate, Innocence

We offer a selection of colors from bubble bath pink to blackened plum, all cruelty free and absent of the 10 toxic ingredients found in most nail polishes on the market. 10-Free nail polish is rare in the cosmetics world, and we’ve set the bar high by offering cruelty free and vegan polishes as the perfect mani or pedi glaze. Our nail polishes are free of:

  • 1. Formaldehyde

  • 2. Toluene

  • 3. DBP

  • 4. Camphor

  • 5. Formaldehyde resin

  • 6. Xylene

  • 7. Parabens

  • 8. Fragrances

  • 9. Phthalates

  • 10. Animal ingredients

Creamy Nail Polish Pie, Jam, Velveteen, Tart, Gelato

In addition to offering vegan options that exclude those harmful, toxic ingredients, our polishes go toe to toe with our competitors in terms of performance. With the perfect weight and opacity, expect full coverage vibrant color flooding from cuticle to the tip of your nail. Chip resistant and built with a glossy shine, any of our 15+ shades are sure to look fabulous on your nails and toesies! Check out how to get that flawless 10-FREE mani-pedi in our blog, How to Get the Perfect Manicure and Pedicure At Home!

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.


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