In the past, I’ve written a lot about nail polish—even gel polish—as this seems to be the single-most effective way to get a not-so-green girl to wake up and smell the toxic chemicals. After all, it’s one thing to tell you that parabens in most conventional beauty products have been linked to hormonal disruption—yada yada yada—but it’s quite another to tell you that if you start using eco nail polish your nails will stop turning yellow. But if you’re making the switch to better lacquers—but still have old polish in a drawer—can non-toxic polish remover work for both? Yes!
People are all abuzz about the gel manicure, which lasts longer than regular nail polish and doesn’t chip. But do you know what really goes into the gel manicure process? First, gel manicure polish is applied and “cured” under ultraviolet (UV) light. To take the gel manicure polish off, you have to soak the fingernails in acetone for 15 minutes. Newsflash: Acetone can cause serious skin irritation that’s not so pretty. Need more reasons why you might want to stay away from the gel manicure? Take a look at these, from the American Academy of Dermatology.
Let’s get real: No matter how many “natural” labels get slapped on the bottle, most nail polishes do contain chemicals—some of which can be dangerous to our health, and to the environment. Even so called “non-toxic” polishes should be disposed of as hazardous waste, according to Earth911. Remember, unless a beauty product is USDA Certified Organic, its manufacturer is not required to list ingredients on the label. Which is why we get “fragrance,” and it can mean three thousand different chemicals. But I digress. Everyone uses nail polish at least once in a while. Here’s what you need to know.