Guest post by Helen Kelly

While we all love a good manicure, we should be aware of harmful ingredients and avoid them at all cost. Unfortunately, most people don’t pay attention to what’s in their nail polishes and nail care products. Those ingredients are harmful both to manicurists and to their clients. Over time, these ingredients can cause nail and skin damage. What’s not often talked about is the fact that these ingredients are mostly transmitted through the air in nail salons. This is why it’s important that we know about these ingredients and that we do our best to avoid them.

#1: Toluene

This ingredient is used in most nail polish removers and fingernail glue. It’s also present in nail polishes because it ensures that the color is distributed evenly and creates a smooth finish.

You’d be surprised to find out how dangerous this ingredient is. Toluene can cause short-term side effects such as irritation in eyes, throat and lungs, as well as dizziness and light-headedness. The scariest side-effects come from its long-term use. People have experienced decreased brain functions, troubles with breathing and hearing loss, all because they’ve used products with toluene.

#2: Formaldehyde

This harmful ingredient is used in nail polishes, because it makes nail polish harder and stronger. Our bodies produce this chemical, too, but in very small amounts. When you work with this ingredient for a long time, it can cause serious effects on your health. You can get nausea, allergic reactions, and even asthma-like attacks. In the past, this ingredient was used in nail care products. Now we know that there are so many other ways to take care of your nails. So, just make sure you avoid products with formaldehyde.

#3: Camphor

It’s thanks to camphor that our nail polishes have that glossy and shiny look. This ingredient should be avoided both by manicurists and customers. Manicurists who inhale this chemical can experience nausea, headache and dizziness. People who are getting a manicure should know that camphor can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. This is why next time you go to the salon, you should ask them to use nail products that are “5-free”. Those products don’t contain Camphor and other similar harmful ingredients.

#4: Dibutyl Phthalate

This ingredient is used in most manicure sets. Dibutyl phthalate is what helps our nail polish to stay perfect, but at what cost? In the short-term, it can cause nausea and irritation to the eyes. It’s most harmful, and the toxic effect is on hormones: it can even cause early menopause and infertility! Next time you go out to get your manicure, you really should ask whether the salon uses this harmful ingredient in their products.

Long-lasting manicure and perfect nails are awesome, but maintaining our health should be our main focus. Knowing about the harmful effect of products used in manicures is a must. Avoiding these ingredients is essential for our overall health. Besides, these days there so many new nail products formulas which don’t contain these products. Simply switching to these newer and safer products can protect your health.


Helen Kelly is a content strategist. See more of her work on her website and Pinterest