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Is My Nail Lacquer Toxic?

As an enlightened consumer, you probably already know that nail polish is probably one the top cosmetic product formulas that raises the most questions. Let's check it out.

As it too often happens when it comes to women's products, the subject of a product's hazardous nature is quickly swept under the rug: "Okay, so it's dangerous, but it's only superficial", or "They'll just have to go without"...and so on and so forth. It's convenient, right? Actually, it makes us want to bare our claws!

By the way, you can already order your ALL TIGERS green nail lacquer.

Nail Lacquers : A Controversial Recipe

So, first question: What exactly are we putting on our claws? Intense color, long-lasting gloss, resistant for several days: nail polish is a pretty fascinating cosmetic. It's expected to be as powerful an industrial painting, with which it sadly shares many commonalities (a good part of its formula, in fact!).

What is a lacquer made of?

  • Resins, responsible for the gloss and adhesion of the lacquer
  • Plasticizers, which makes this material both hard and flexible
  • Solvents, for application and drying
  • A forming agent that dries the product as soon as it's applied
  • Pigments and sheen, that are natural and synthetic and determine the color

Some of these ingredients, commonly used in nail lacquers, have been the subject of controversy. Formaldehyde? Classified as carcinogenic. Formaldehyde resin and toluene? Irritants for the skin, the eyes, the respiratory system. BPD? Suspected of endocrine disrupting. Xylene? Nerve. Camphor? Thank you for the nausea and headaches. We're not going to go through them all, but you understand the idea. Some are banned in Europe, others are still used regularly by industrial brands.

In November 2017, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) issued a warning for nail salon employees: "The analysis of the available data allowed us to identify about 700 substances are present in the composition of products used or in the working atmosphere. 60 of these 700 substances were considered to be of high concern by the highest hazard class." This observation applies to semi-permanent polishes used by the pros, okay. BUT they're still products that are very close to those sold in stores. Since then, what has changed in the formulas? Nothing, but nail salon employees now wear masks. Reassuring...

Brands are far from being optimistic. But they know how to give us insignificant advice while aiming to limit the toxic nature of the product behind stage. So we adapt; you've most likely read these tips on the web. Apply polish outside or with a door open to avoid breathing potentially toxic fumes. Avoid getting lacquer directly on the skin to limit the diffusion of the product in the organism. Don't wear the same polish for more than a week in a row, because beyond that the function of the nail barrier weakens and the polish diffuses in the body. And we try natural solvents, gentler on our health. And, above all, no biting lacquered nails!

These suggestions nevertheless seem as if they're saying, "Well, it's better than nothing!" Sigh. How about we got a bit further?

Nail Lacquer Without Toxic Ingredients: 3-free, 4-free, 5-free, 9-free... How do you choose?

In view of our expectations (gloss, wear, color quality), 100% natural is not feasible—and there's no organically labelled alternative (in any case, not one that matches the requirements). Natural brands' approach to remove the most harmful components of nail lacquer was therefore common sense.

This is how a new landmark has been created, known as 3-free, 4-free, 5-free... For example, "3-free" means "without 3," meaning that this particular nail polish is rid of the 3 most controversial substances: toluene, DBT and formaldehyde. An "8-free" nail polish would have no toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBT), formaldehyde, camphor, xylene, formaldehyde resin, paraben, or traces of rosin. 7-free, 8-free and beyond guarantee maximum safety in addition to a decent dose of natural ingredients that are good for the nail.

Driven by innovation, natural lacquers have succeeded in replicating the good side of industrial polishes: cover, dry, texture, hold, color choices...and without the toxic components.

Nail Lacquer: Should I Match it to My Lipstick...Or not?

Careful, this is a trick question! We're going to talk about colors... and values!

In terms of colors: First we tackle a generally more superficial question: should we coordinate our lacquer with our lipstick, or not? There's no absolute rule in this matter, but here's some useful advice:

  • during the day, it is better to play on contrasts with opposite shades: the more discreet the tint chosen for the lips is, the more you can dare with a nail color. On the other hand, a mouth with a very intense hue needs to be paired with a more discreet nail. The exception? Red on red is a great color to match.
  • in the evening, or for an event, anything's permitted: all in beige, all in coral, all in burgundy... in short, do want you want, let your freak flag fly! It's time for you to express your personality according to your tastes! As a bit of advice: you can pick up an item from your outfit, such as the color of your purse or a complement to your dress, to match with your lip and nail.

In terms of value: One place were you absolutely need to match is your philosophy. If you have adopted ALL TIGERS lipstick—green and stylish!—we only suggest going for a green lacquer that's preferably 7-free or 8-free, or even beyond.

Check out the range of our friends Kure Bazaar, Manucurist Green, Colorii or ClevER. You'll find here a choice of completely insane shades, a sublime color result, and a formula thought to be the best compromise between natural and performance. And now, tigers, you can bare your claws!

Whether you're #TeamMatch or #TeamMix, the queen of the jungle is YOU. You want to take the reins of ALL TIGERS? There’s one thing you can do: follow us on Instagram and let your voice be heard.  We consult our community every step of the way. Ready to roar? ROAARRR!

1 comment

Borde eliane

On devrait lire davantage les ingrédients qui rentrent, dans la compositions de nos cosmétiques, ça fait peur..

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