You probably know this one. Think back to grade ten biology class. That poor frog floating in a jar filled with. . . that’s right, formaldehyde. It is often used to keep frogs and other slimy things in jars because it is an excellent preservative. It is also commonly found in nail polish and hair straightening products. Most recently the US federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the use of formaldehyde in these poplar hair products.
Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen; irritant to the skin and eyes, as well as lungs, kidney, stomach, and liver. It is also extremely toxic to the environment. . . I am sure our little amphibian friends can attest to that!
When formaldehyde-containing products are applied onto the skin and nails it can cause damage through absorption, however a more severe concern is the off-gassing that can occur particularly when the product is heated (e.g. hair straightening). According to the David Suzuki Foundation, most of the cancer research focuses on the risk caused by formaldehyde inhalation.
Warning: If you check product ingredient lists and do not see the presence of formaldehyde, you may also want to look for these other formaldehyde-releaseing preservatives:
Methylene glycol, Formalin, Methylene oxide, Paraform, Formic aldehyde, Methanal, Oxomethane, Oxymethylene, Timonacic acid, Thiazolidinecarboxylic acid
And for those of you who still love the look of pretty polished digits, but want to avoid being a science experiment, check out these formaldehyde-free nail polish alternatives
How are you staying toxic free? I want to know! Share your comments below.
The promise of spring brings more sunshine, more fresh air. . .and new nail colour, of course! I’ve been playing around with new trends and classic palettes to find what best compliments my particular style.
Here are my favourites so far:
Pale nails are always a favourite this time of year and are currently everywhere on the runway. Pink, grey, and off-whites easily pair with both day and night-time looks. I’ve been wearing a non-toxic polish called “Whisper” from Scotch Naturals with pretty much whatever tickles my fancy. The water-based formula is lightweight and scent-free, albeit requires a few extra coats to achieve an even colour. I even didn’t mind the hint of glitter that enhances the radiance of the shade, which eventually dries matte anyway. Scotch prides itself on being “3 free” (formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene) as well as free of ethyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetone, amoung other heavy metals and toxins.
“Night on the Town” by Karma Hues is another favourite. According to the website, Karma Hues nail polishes are, also 3-free yet there are traces of Acetyl Tributyl and Stearalkonium Hectorite. Despite this, it is still qualified as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional polish. The biggest difference with Karma Hues from its other competitors is its durability. Just two coats lasted an entire week without chipping, which is far longer than the lasting power of Scotch. I simply buffed my nails and slabbed on the colour – granted that it doesn’t require a base or top coat – cutting the application time in half. I particularly love the full-bodied shine of this colour. It reminds me of strolling through the Bulgarian streets of Sofia a few summers ago with all the passionate flare of Europe *sigh*
During my latest manicure at Elixir Organic Spa, I also tried “Poppy Creme” by SpaRitual; a brilliant orange red lacquer that put a little spring in my step despite the Saturday morning snow. SpaRitual offers a wide array of natural products using vegan ingredients derived from plant essences. Like Karma Hues, their organic nail lacquers are 3-free and durable. The colour distributes evenly and its application is relatively scent-free although it requires a primer, unlike water-based polishes such as Scotch and Acquarella. I’m particularly keen on solid corals like this one because they easily revitalize a classic look without going to the extreme. When it comes to nail polish I like to keep it simple because I’d rather accessorize with jewellery and/or prints… that, and the fact that I’m too lazy to change my nail colour on a regular basis :S
This is how I’ve been springing forward this month. I’d love to hear what you’ve been wearing lately!