Why is Using Non-Toxic Nail Products Important? A Guide by NuGenesis
Do your resolutions for 2022 include making healthier, more eco-conscious choices? If so, it's crucial to take a closer look at the products you use on your nails. Though many people assume that the chemicals in nail care products can't hurt them – because nail varnishes aren't applied directly to the skin – research tells a different story.
According to a study conducted by Duke University, for example, levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals increased sharply in women's bodies after they applied non-organic nail polish.
Harvard Health confirms that the toxins present in nail varnish are absorbed through the nail bed and ultimately circulate throughout the body, where they can damage the organs, immune system, and reproductive system.
How is it possible that such potentially harmful products are so freely available? The answer lies in the history of nail varnish: Most nail care products were developed in the early-mid 20th century when the long-term health effects of many chemicals were poorly understood.
Instead of evaluating ingredients based on safety, early nail care innovators chose compounds that enhanced qualities like shine, durability, and smoothness without realising the risks involved.
Today, emerging evidence strongly suggests that it's time for an update. Not only can we achieve the same beautiful results with safer (and more eco-friendly) ingredients, failing to switch to natural nail care products could have far-reaching health consequences.
In this guide, we'll provide a detailed breakdown of the most harmful chemicals in traditional nail dips and varnishes and explain how NuGenesis nails are different.
Introducing the "Toxic Trio" – The 3 Most Harmful Ingredients in Nail Polish
Though nail care products can contain a broad range of concerning compounds, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and toluene have a reputation for being especially dangerous. Known as the "toxic trio" or "big three," these chemicals are associated with a range of adverse effects:
Formaldehyde has long been used as a preservative, steriliser, and embalming fluid, along with being a common hardening ingredient in nail varnishes. However, we now know that formaldehyde is a carcinogen; it's been linked to the development of myeloid leukaemia and cancers of the sinus, nasal cavity, and nasopharynx.
DBP increases the elasticity of nail varnish, making it less prone to developing chips and scratches. This chemical, which is banned in Europe, is associated with birth abnormalities and reproductive harm.
In nail varnish, toluene is used as a stabiliser that helps to create a smooth, even finish. Like DBP, toluene is banned in the European Union. It's been shown to cause damage to the nervous system (resulting in symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, nausea, and eye irritation) and the reproductive system.
Unfortunately, despite the risks posed by these three chemicals, none of them are banned in North America. Complicating matters further, companies aren't legally required to disclose all of the ingredients in their nail care products – So you can't determine if a product contains one of these chemicals just by looking at the label.
Instead, you'll need to make sure the product clearly states that it's "3-Free." This classification is used by companies who have committed to excluding the "toxic trio" from their nail varnishes.
What About 5-Free, 7-Free, and 10-Free Nail Products?
Some forward-thinking, health-conscious companies have chosen to go beyond focusing on just the "big three." As new and safer compounds have been discovered, it's become possible to remove other risky chemicals from nail powders and varnishes without compromising their durability, shine, or smoothness.
For this reason, you'll encounter products labelled as being "5-Free," "7-Free," or even "10-Free." While definitions of these terms can vary between companies, here's a general overview of what they mean:
In addition to excluding formaldehyde, DBP, and toluene, 5-free dips and polishes forgo the use of formaldehyde resin and camphor.
Because formaldehyde resin is derived from formaldehyde, it's a probable carcinogen, whereas camphor has been linked to seizures.
Products in this class exceed the standards of 5-Free by also excluding ethyl tosylamide and xylene. Ethyl tosylamide, a popular "quick-drying" agent, found in many nail varnishes and dips, may contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Xylene, on the other hand, is toxic when ingested or inhaled. It's a common allergen, and it's been listed as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency on Research for Cancer.
If you're looking for a nail dip or polish that's as ethical as it is safe, 10-Free products should be your go-to option. Not only do these products avoid the use of all potentially toxic compounds, including lead, parabens, and chemical fragrances, they're also typically cruelty-free and vegan.
This means that they aren't tested on animals, and they don't contain any ingredients derived from animal sources. However, not all 10-Free products are vegan, so we recommend looking for a separate "vegan" label on the bottle (or contacting the manufacturer for confirmation) before you purchase.
Why Should You Choose NuGenesis Non-Toxic Nail Dip Powders?
NuGenesis is one of the only "10-Free" nail dip powder providers in Ontario. Our products don't contain any of the toxic chemicals described above, and they're 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Our gentle, odour-free formulas are safe for use by people who have allergies, chemical sensitivities, and asthma. They're also designed to air dry and harden, so you won't have to worry about exposing your hands to UV light during curing.
At the same time, our nail dips are incredibly durable and long-lasting (one application of dip powder can last three weeks or longer), and they come in an incredible range of vivid colours.
Another benefit of choosing our non-toxic nail products is improved nail health. Many of the same toxic chemicals that can harm your body also damage your nails, leading to dryness, cracking, chipping, and irritation.
NuGenesis powder dips, by contrast, are fortified with nail-nourishing compounds (like Vitamin E and calcium) that heal and protect your natural nails. Our easy soak-off process also prevents nail damage during dip powder removal.
If you're looking for a lightweight, flexible manicure that will outlast any traditional nail varnish – all while protecting your body, the environment, and animal welfare – there's no better fit than NuGenesis.
Learn more about the benefits of organic dip powder nails, or shop our popular collections to find the perfect nail colour to suit your style.