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What is Organic Nail Polish?

By Rachel Burkot
Updated May 21, 2024
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Organic nail polish is a water-based nail polish made with natural ingredients. Unlike regular nail polish, it does not contain chemicals. Organic polish has become popular in the last few years because of health concerns associated with regular nail polish. Studies confirm that the chemicals in traditional polish can cause cancer and reproductive issues. Additionally, they are harmful for the environment.

Pregnant women have to be extra careful when it comes to using products with chemicals, and cosmetics are no exception. Chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate are found in fingernail polish and carry risks for both mother and child. The woman is at risk for breast cancer, cancers of the reproductive organs and fertility problems. The same chemicals put the unborn child at risk for birth defects or reproductive and other issues later in life, such as early onset of puberty, genital defects, liver and kidney problems, and asthma.

The major advantage of organic nail polish is that it uses no chemicals, so these risks are removed. Additional benefits include:

  • Natural product: Natural means an original state. The ingredients in organic nail polish have not been changed from their essential forms, and nothing has been added to them. Natural nail polish is non-toxic and safe.
  • Lack of odor: The strong smell of nail polish is distinct and dangerous. With organic cosmetics, these odors are not present because the chemicals are what cause the smell.
  • Better for the environment: Chemicals that pollute the air are what cause environmental problems. Without chemicals and toxins, organic nail polish is harmless to the natural world.

Disadvantages of such products include:

  • Less sturdy: The water-based nature of organic nail polish means the coat is likely to chip more quickly than a chemical-based polish would. Chipping can be delayed by using a nail conditioner under the polish.
  • Expensive: Due to their novelty and the health and environment benefits, natural polish sells for a higher price than regular nail polish. ULew Natural Products, which makes organic cosmetics, sells nail polish for $18 per bottle. Prices will probably come down with time.

    Nail polish has been around for approximately 80 years. It was created from the discovery of automobile enamel. It hasn’t changed much since then, until the recent trend toward organic nail polish. ULew and another company called Juice Beauty also sell other natural cosmetics such as face cream, hairspray, shampoo, perfume and aftershave.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Rundocuri — On Sep 01, 2014

@raynbow- Even if a nail polish claims to be organic, you should always read the ingredient list to be sure. You can also ask the sales representative at a beauty supply store what brands she recommends based on your concerns and preferences.

By Raynbow — On Sep 01, 2014

I have heard that cosmetic companies are allowed to use the term organic in their labeling, though there are few regulations as to what standards they must meet to claim this. How can you be sure that nail polish that is labeled as organic truly isn't made of harmful ingredients?

By Heavanet — On Aug 31, 2014

Most organic nail polish brands also have the benefit of not testing on animals, or using animal by-products in the ingredients. This is a very important feature for animal lovers as well as those who are vegan vegetarians.

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