Vegan, Allergy-Free Nail Polish

Patient Expert

I love Essie's colors when I go for a mani or pedi, which is all too infrequently. Essie and Opi seems to have cornered the market on accessible high fashion nail color that is the most readily available at your local nail salon. And to boot, Essie's colors have great names. Here's a recent New York Times story about Essie and her naming technique. My current favorite Essie color is, "A Lot of Shekels." It's a translucent beige neutral that's like my skin tone but shimmery. I also have a perfect red called, "A-list," which when I wear I feel like a 40s pin-up star. I have "Sugar Daddy" on my nails right now which looks very pink in the bottle but almost like clear when it's on, perfect for work.

Fun, right?

Well, as the saying goes: it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. What can hurt you in nail polish? A lot actually.

Until recently, Formaldehyde, a commonly known carcinogenic (cancer causing agent), was a core ingredient in most nail polishes on the market. Yuck. Some other possible carcinogens that are commonly used in nail polish: phthalates, solvents and nitrocellulose. There may also be fish scales to make the nail polish shimmer. Yes, fish scales   Have any of you had allergic reactions to nail polish and didn't know why? It could be any number of the highly toxic ingredients, or the fish! My manicurist told me of one of her clients who hadn't worn nail polish in two years, as she had multiple chemical allergies and the doctor approved the vegan nail polish line for her use.

What's vegan nail polish?

Nail polish has joined the trend towards low-chemical, natural, organic, and even vegan, new products are coming out all the time. In the last two months, I've been in two different spas, one in Bermuda and one in Vermont. Both had the SpaRitual line of nail polish. By offering these vegan lines, these spas subtly communicated that they wanted to treat the entire person, and the environment as well. Great!

What is SpaRitual and how is it different?

According to the SpaRitual website: "Dedicated to the spa tradition, SpaRitual is committed to creating eco-friendly products and packaging perfectly crafted for the enlightened consumer. We use Vegan ingredients from around the world, including many specially sourced and selected plant essences that are wildcrafted OR organic. The formulations are naturally colored and free of synthetic dyes. SpaRitual is constantly monitoring sustainability issues and strives to be on the cutting edge of environmental awareness."

Their products are all vegan and DBP free. "DBP, or dibutyl phthalate, is a plasticizing ingredient that has recently been banned for use in cosmetic products in the European Union. DBP is a potential developmental and reproductive toxin that may cause a broad range of birth defects."

Expect to see more and more of these products in your local beauty salons. And if you don't, start asking for them. Going organic in your diet is one way of ridding you body and the earth of these harmful chemical but by creating more demand in other markets as well, cosmetics, household cleaners, clothing the green movement will have a great impact.