Whether you like them closely trimmed and neutral, or long and painted splashy colors, your nails make a style statement. But the choices you make around the particular products you apply to your nails are far more than just an indicator of personality and style—they influence your overall health and wellness. While the safety of nail polishes has come a long way in recent years, thanks to the 3-Free movement and the changes it ushered in, many nail companies have taken product safety a few steps further.

Check out our tips and info on safer nail care, whatever your preferred shape or shade:

Nail Polish

While the 3-Free trend gave a powerful jumpstart to safer nail color, many brands have now gone 4-Free, 5-Free, and beyond. But do you know what these labels really mean?

While 3-Free nail polishes eliminated toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and formaldehyde, 5-Free nail polishes now skip the toxic formaldehyde resin and camphor as well. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database, these synthetic chemical ingredients been linked to several health problems, such as organ toxicity, endocrine disruption, bioaccumulation, irritant and allergic reactions, ecotoxicity, and even some cancers. The best part? There are so many brands out there that have removed these chemicals that you’ll still have access to the trendiest nail polish shades.

While removing this extensive list of chemicals was an important step toward nail polish safety, certain brands have chosen to go even further, creating water-based polishes that are also free of ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetone, alcohols, and heavy metals. While some consumers worry that water-based polishes don’t have the same shiny finish and durability as the solvent-based ones, many who have tried them opt to keep using them since they prefer fume- (and headache)-free manis and pedis.

Nail Polish Remover

Once you’ve thoughtfully chosen safer nail polish options, your mind might jump to polish removal. Is there such a thing as a safe nail polish remover? One that doesn’t leave your surroundings smelling toxic? Absolutely. Here’s what to consider before you buy:

  • Zero tolerance for acetone. Acetone is a noxious smelling, clear, flammable liquid solvent that is strong enough to disintegrate plastic. Concentrated exposure can cause light-headedness, headaches, a feeling of drunkenness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. It’s also highly drying to our nails, so let’s not apply this to our bodies. We want to strip away nail polish, not brain cells!
  • For the safest nail polish remover option, look for a water-based remover instead of a solvent-based remover. Yes, it may take a few more passes and a little more patience and elbow grease to completely remove your color, but your long term health is worth it.
  • Some natural nail polish remover brands use solvents made with soy or corn, for a safer experience. You may also find ingredients like aloe and vitamin E added to these removers to replenish the nail bed with moisture during the color-stripping process.
  • Once you’ve found the brand with ingredients that make you feel safe, and shade that makes you feel stylish, don’t be afraid to bring your own products to your mani-pedi appointment. You may even inspire the spa to carry safer options for all its customers.

Are you ready for a manicure or pedicure, armed with your new ingredient knowledge? If your nail care products need a makeover, and you’re a member of the NAA, we have a special discount code for you! Get an additional 10% off the already-low prices at LuckyVitamin.com when you purchase any nail polish or nail polish remover. Just log into your NAA member dashboard to reveal the discount code, and enter it at the LuckyVitamin.com checkout. Code expires on April 17th, and can not be combined with any other promotional codes, or other exclusions.

Not an NAA member yet? Click here to join (and enjoy discounts as just one of the many member perks!).

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