Manic(ure) Monday: Bad Nail Polishes

Today I won't be showing you a manicure but we will have to discuss a more serious matter. We all know that nail polishes are none of the harmless cosmetics, which is also the reason why you won't find nail polishes in shops such as Lush or in natural cosmetics stores.
A few days ago I read a really interesting article in a German magazine which made a nail polish inspection in an approved laboratory. I already knew that not all nail polishes would only contain harmless substances but reading it in black and white really opened my eyes. Mainly there are 3 nail polish ingredients they warned you about:

1. Toluol

This is a thinner which is only allowed in nail polish and not in other cosmetics.

2. Benzophenone-1

It prevents ultraviolet light from damaging scents and colours but its harmlessness hasn't been entirely proved by the EU yet.

3. Nanoparticles

Dangers to health caused by these haven't been excluded by the EU yet.

What can these ingredients cause?

According to the article bad substances in nail polishes can be the reason for eczema and allergies. For example the toluol can cause allergies and is really dangerous for pregnant women. It can cause tiredness and disorientation. Some softeners in nail polishes are even cancer-causing.

How can we protect ourselves?

In fact our body absorbs the bad substances over the nail bed and cuticles but most of the damage comes from inhaling them. Therefore you should not paint your nails up to the cuticles but leave a little space. Also it is important to only paint your nails in large rooms with the windows opened.

Of course the laboratory couldn't test all of the existing nail polishes but here is a list of those nail polishes where they could detect one of the three bad substances explained above.

Alessandro Freaky Neon Polish Pritty Pink
Chanel Pirate
Ciaté Beach Hut
Debby Color Play 231
Divided H&M Purple Reddish
Essie Full Steam Ahead, Naughty Nautical, Sunday Funday
Estée Lauder Le Smoking
L'Oréal Paris 401
Lancôme Miss Coquelicot
MAC Snob
Maybelline Colour Show 749
Maybelline Super Stay Forever Strong 01
Pimki 43
Yves Saint Laurent 39

While most of these "only" contain the Benzophenone-1 of which the damages aren't proved yet, the test revealed that there is one nail polish you should definitely stay away from! It is indeed toxic and is against the law. The product claims to be free of toluol but the laboratory could find traces of it. Furthermore the brand claims not to use cancer-causing colours but therefore the laboratory found forbidden thinner. Now you probably want to know which nail polish we're talking about, right? Well it's indeed one of the more expensive nail polishes namely the Butter London (HRH). While this nail polish is really bad we can't say that all of the Butter London nail polishes are equally dangerous but for me it's definitely a reason not to buy nail polish from this brand.

However we should cross over to more enjoyable news. In fact the test exposed that cheaper nail polishes often had a better quality and that the country of origin mostly isn't a parameter of the quality. For those of you who take this as seriously as I do, I arranged a list of those nail polishes that have been tested but where no overly bad ingredients were detected:

Anny 385
Anny 189
Artdeco Magnetic Nail Laquer 48
Astor Fashion Studio Galoon Lake
Astor Quick'n'Go
Black Bird 17
Catrice Genius in the Bottle
Catrice Purple Reign
Dior 853
Essence Colour & Go
H&M Nail Polish Red Nail
Isadora Wonder Nail Quick Dry 764
LCN Green
Make Up Factory 498
Manhattan Quick Dry 18S
Max Factor Max Effect 35
Misslyn Velvet Diamond 59
O.P.I. Gold
p2 Colour Victim 910
p2 Sand Style 040
p2 Urban Club Vibes electric grey
p2 Urban Club Vibes 020
Paris Memories
Rival de Loop Performance 02 Glööckler
Rival de Loop Express Colour 18
Rival de Loop High Gloss
Sans Soucis 13
Wet n Wild fastdry Sage in the City

(source: Bild der Frau)

Now I know that this was quite a technical post and that not all of you may be worried about health damages caused by nail polishes but I found it important to share it with those who really look after ingredients and try to live as healthy as possible.
Do you have more information about this issue? Have you made any personal experiences for example with allergies caused by nail polish?


  1. Great post! Very informative. The main ingredients I avoid in nail polishes are usually toluene, formaldehyde and phthalates.
    Thankfully my favourite brands of nail polish are quite safe (such as Essence, Catrice and Kiko) xx

    // Inês Paúl //

  2. thanks for explaining all of this, I've always wondered!

  3. Very valuable information. So far I've never had issues with nail polish (luckily!).

  4. I honestly didnt experienced any bad things neither allergies but is good to know more about it since I ignored the matter..

  5. Wow, I like that post Have a nice day.


  6. Sehr interessant!
    Da sollte man sich definitiv informieren!
    Alles Liebe

  7. Ich hab bestimmt genauso viel Nagellack...bin der Sucht verfallen

  8. Thank you for this post! It was definitely an eye opener! :)


  9. So interessant! I love this post!


  10. I've never had any issue but ever since I was a kid my mum always told me to never use cheap nailpolishes. She had heard some horror story where someone's nails went black or yellow or fell off ( I dont remember anymore and am doubtful whether it was true or she was trying to scare me ) but from a personal experience I've always noticed that pricey ones are longer lasting and don't chip so fast so I always buy slightly high priced ones.

  11. Das ist echt sehr interessant! Ich bin erleichtert keinen der schlechteren Lacke zu besitzen.

    Liebste Grüße



  12. wow, that's some impressing collection you have there!


  13. weirdly enough i was into nail polish last summer. yet, this summer i have been resting my nails.
    this is a really informational post. thanks for the heads up and for sharing this! :)

    Animated Confessions

  14. Great eye opening post to me. Thank you for the informative post.


  15. Carmen you're just so professional I adore it & Thx to pass this message & share it!

  16. very nice!:)


  17. Interessanter Post, dass Nagellacke nicht gerade gesund sind, riecht man ja schon, aber so wirklich damit auseinandergesetzt hatte ich mich noch nie!

  18. Wow, I had absolutely no idea about the harmful effects of nail polish, really educative post hun!

  19. What an interesting post, I'm a little scared now but will definitely check before I put stuff on my nails :)

  20. Sehr interessanter Beitrag!

    Liebste Grüße Laura von .everybody is unique.

  21. Wow I didn't think any companies used things like this anymore especially high end ones like Estee Lauder and YSL. I'm shocked!


 photo copyright.jpg
envye template.