Review of 8 Chemically Tested Polishes

Dansk 🇩🇰

I’m a little late in making my feet ready for the open shoes this year and decorating the nails in fine colours.

Out of the corner of my eye I have noticed a few articles here and there about all the chemistry in nail polishes, so there may have been an unconscious resistance in me to get started with it.

Nevertheless, I did get out my favourite red-orange Sparitual nail polish from last year, and as you can buy it in many health food stores I was fairly confident that it was free from the worst toxic stuff.

After I’d put a couple of layers on the toenails, I started researching chemistry in nail polishes.

Not an easy task I soon realized, because in spite of reasonably strict legislation on the labelling of cosmetic products, it’s quite difficult to find ingredient lists on most nail lacquers.

But fortunately, The Danish Consumer Council has tested 62 conventional nail polishes, and I was surprised that brands like Sparituals and Organic Glam are on the list of lacquers that they can’t recommend you use because both contain substances suspected of being hormone disruptive. 1.

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The Cocktail Effect

It's not that one single layer of nail polish will make the big damage.

It’s more that today are bodies have to deal with lots of different carcinogenic, allergenic and hormone disrupting substances that are in many of our food products, in packaging, in cosmetics, in skin and hair care products, in contraceptives, in furniture, clothes and much more.

And it's that cocktail of several different substances in many different products that pose a risk. So it's all about minimizing where you can.

You may also find my blog about how to get your hormones back into balance interesting.

Harmful substances in nail polishes

In acceptance of the fact that there’s no 100% organic nail polish out there, I’ll look for lacquers that have the least harmful chemical ingredients and are without endocrine disrupting and allergenic substances.

My Test of 6 nail polish brands

High on that thought, I went down to the local shopping street and bought a nail polish for almost every day of the week. All the lacquers I bought had The Danish Consumer Council’s stamp of approval.

By the way...To my surprise several of the most conventional brands won over some of the so-called "green" brands.


This is My New Collection

Rated with 1-5 stars

1. Rituals – Jelly Pink (1638A) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Flat skinny brush with flexible bristles allows light, consistent strokes for even colour.

  • Steady consistency.

  • Yielded full colour coverage in one coat.

  • First coat dried in 5 minutes - the second coat in about 20 min.

  • Relatively easy to remove.


2. Dior – Diabolo (684)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Widerish brush that makes it easy to apply one coat smoothly and evenly, and it minimizes chances of brush strokes.

  • Yielded full colour coverage in one coat.

  • The consistency nicely balanced.

  • First coat dried in 5 minutes - the second coat in about 20 min.

  • Easy to remove.


3. The Body Shop – Relish the moment (120) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Skinny brush.

  • Very easy to work with.

  • Full colour coverage in one coat.

  • Balanced consistency.

  • About 15 minutes Drying time for two coats.

  • Medium hard to remove.

The Body Shop – Relish the moment (120). Found in Body Shop Store in Copenhagen

The Body Shop – Relish the moment (120). Found in Body Shop Store in Copenhagen

4. Tromborg – Thalia ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Skinny brush.

  • Balanced consistency.

  • Easy to apply.

  • The polish is a bit hard to get even in the first go.

  • Makes stripes.

  • First coat dries in less than 5 minutes.

  • Second coat dries in 10 minutes.

  • Still not quite even after two coats though.


5. Gosh – Top coat (01) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Since it’s a "top coat" I put it over Tromborg's "Thalia".

  • Nice slim Brush.

  • Consistency thin.

  • Runs easily, so a little hard to work with.

  • It took about 25 minutes for one coat to dry on two layers of “Tromborg”.


6. Nilens Jord - Milky Rose (683) ⭐️⭐️

  • Wide and thick brush with stiff bristles is bit hard to control.

  • Very runny consistency.

  • Obviously not my colour.

  • Takes a minimum of two coats for coverage.

  • Quick dry.

  • Easy to remove.


2 more tox-free to the max nail lacquers that I might buy soon too:

7. Zao

  • Broad, slightly flat brush makes the application very easy.

  • Turbo quick drying.

  • The range today includes 15 intense and modern colours.


8. Korres

Quick-drying polishes available in 18 colours, vamped up by regular seasonal additions and limited editions, like the blood red metallic (“55 Ruby Red”).


4 good advises

To minimize absorbing the harmful ingredients in nail polishes you can:

  1. Air out. To minimize inhalation of any solvents in both nail polish removers you can keep a window open while working on your nails.

  2. Avoid getting polish on the skin - which is not that, easy, as nails are curved and fluids run downwards. Nails polish runs easily down to the sides of the nails and to the nail band - especially when removed.

  3. Stop using nail products if you break out.

  4. Keep nail products out of the reach of children. Children shouldn’t use nail polish regularly.

4 things you should check for on the ingredients list

  1. Formaldehyde is a substance that is often used in glue, building materials and for preserving animals. It’s carcinogenic and a potent irritant to eyes and mucous membranes.

  2. Camphor is used to give nail polishes their glossy, shiny appearance. It occurs alone or in various mixtures such as 3-Benzylidene Camphor and 4-Methylbenzylidene. It has been shown to trigger severe skin irritation and allergic reactions when applied topically, and inhaling its fumes can cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches. Observational studies have also linked camphor exposure to organ damage, such as liver dysfunction. Furthermore. Camphor is suspected of being endocrine disrupting and allergenic.

  3. Toluene is a solvent that is used to create a smooth application and finish. It has a sweet, pungent smell and is also found in most conventional nail polish removers. However, its fumes are highly toxic; studies have shown that exposure to toluene can cause neurological damage, decreased brain function, impaired breathing, hearing loss, and nausea. When inhaled too frequently by pregnant women, it may result in impaired fetal development. Animal studies have also shown that toluene is linked to reproductive impairment, immune system toxicity, and blood cancers like malignant lymphoma. 2.

  4. Nano-nanoparticles can cross the skin barriers and enter the tissues and fluids of the body. Still more research are showing that these particles cause damage to DNA, skin and cells. 3. 4. 5.

Toxic Chemical Ingredients to Avoid in Nail Polish

Endocrine disrupters

  • Benzophenone-1

  • Triphenyl phosphate

  • Parabener (butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben)

  • BHT

  • Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate

Reproductive toxicity

  • Toluene


  • Colophonium

  • HEMA

  • Propyl gallate

Allergenic Fragrance substances:

  • Camphor

  • Geraniol

  • Benzyl alcohol

  • Hexyl cinnamal

  • Hydroxycitronellal

  • Methyl 2-octynoate

  • Rosa canina fruit oil

Ingredients in Nano form

  • CI 77266 (Nano) (black colour) (found in quite a few lacquers)

  • Titanium dioxide (Nano)

  • Silica (Nano)

The EU has approved the use of certain Nano materials in cosmetics care products concluding that it’s safe when used on intact skin.