Justine, a 34 year old digital marketing specialist, looks glumly at the state of her nails. Her weekly jaunts to the nail salon has been put on pause, indefinitely. “Right now, I need to take a break from wearing nail polish,” she laments. “My nails are extremely brittle and discolored. They need to take a break.”
The state of Justine’s nails is unsurprising. Many of the current polish brands in the market could actually be wreaking havoc on your health. Over the years, harsher chemicals are being used in nail products to meet the performance demands of consumers. While many nail polish products promise longevity in terms of hardness, color and chip-resistance, their ingredients take a brutal toll on the human body.
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When it comes to what we put inside our bodies, the fewer unpronounceable ingredients, the better. Questionable elements such as formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, resin, and camphor make up the ingredients list of most popular polish brands. Most of these chemicals are known carcinogens and have been linked to a number of scary health conditions such as cancer, hormone disruptions, allergies, contact dermatitis, birth defects and asthma.
Does this mean kissing pretty digits goodbye? Not necessarily. Thanks to the wide range of organic nail polishes currently available in the beauty market, keeping your nails healthy and gorgeous is easier than ever. By eliminating the use of five harsh chemicals, otherwise known as “5-free,” these nail products are creating an environmental revolution—one manicure at a time.
“For a polish formula to truly be considered 5-free, it must be it is crafted without five known toxins, namely formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor,” reveals Monica Hing, owner of Organail Salon, one of the first salons in the country to carry organic nail products and services. “Switching out traditional brands that strip your nails of nutrients for gentle and eco-friendly products is one of the best decisions you can make for healthy nail growth,” says Monica. The glossy, long-lasting hues of their featured organic nail polish brands offer a full range of variety. From the quiet loveliness of pastels to edgy, unconventionality of metallic tints, these nail polish products bring your digits to life, without sacrificing quality or performance, offering up to 3 weeks of chip-free nails.
Monica also believes that going organic in your manicure and pedicure routine shouldn’t be limited to the nail polish alone. “From the start of our service, to the very end, we use organic materials,” shares Monica. “Even our nail-polish remover is labelled and certified vegan and non-toxic nail polish.” She further reveals that the salon also uses LED lamps instead of the UV ones for curing their organic gel nail polish. “It really makes a big difference, in terms of the health of your nails,” she says. “With the use of LED, we also avoid the skin damage frequent UV exposure gives.”
A self-confessed nail aficionado, Monica is no stranger to the damage that traditional nail polish causes. “Everyone should enjoy the benefits of having regular nail treatments without the harmful side effects,” says Monica, adding that beauty should be luxurious without being toxic. “Going organic with your nail health doesn’t mean you have to forgo pampering,” she says, “You just have to make the right decision about the products that are best for your health and the environment.”
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Photographs by the author and Jen Ternate