Nail Polish splatter on what background
Image: Shutterstock/Jonathan Raho

If you’ve ever painted your nails, you know the strong chemical fumes that come with the process. Many people love getting creative with different nail colors but are concerned about the harmful ingredients in traditional nail polish. So what can you do to avoid harmful chemicals? You can look into going 5-free. What does that mean? Here’s the breakdown.

What is 5-free?

Going 5-free means using nail polish that is free from the five most harmful chemicals that are commonly found in conventional nail polish. These five include the following:

  1. Toluene: This is a liquid that smells like paint thinner and is commonly used as a solvent.
  2. DMP: Dibutyl phthalate is commonly found in nail products and helps the dye blending process.
  3. Formaldehyde: This chemical is commonly used to preserve and embalm dead humans.
  4. Formaldehyde resin: This is a derivative of Formaldehyde.
  5. Camphor: This chemical is commonly used as a plasticizer in nail products.

Why you should go 5-free

Are you surprised at the chemicals that are commonly found in traditional nail polish? You may be wondering why these 5 are so bad. Unfortunately, each chemical has its own side effects within the body. For example, toluene is a toxic ingredient that can cause irritation to the throat, eyes and nose. It can even cause callous, dry skin. Being exposed to this chemical on an excessive level can cause anxiety, sleeping difficulties, birth defects and developmental problems in children.

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) has been linked to the disruption of normal hormone function. If someone is exposed to this chemical for a prolonged period of time, it can affect fertility rates and cause developmental defects in babies.

Formaldehyde has strong vapors that can trigger asthma. It’s also a well-known carcinogen. Formaldehyde Resin is not as toxic as Formaldehyde but can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Camphor is highly toxic and when used in large doses, can be a poison. It also commonly causes irritability, disorientation and flushed skin.

While it may be hard to avoid some of these chemicals all the time, why not avoid them in your nail polish if you can? Luckily, more companies are making 5-free nail polishes that are a great alternative to traditional nail polish.

5-free nail polishes

If you’ve decided to make the switch to 5-free polishes, then you’re in luck. Here are ten amazing 5-free polishes you can try.

  • Printi NYC
  • Chanel
  • Zoya
  • Jenna Hipp
  • Deborah Lippmann
  • Jin Soon
  • RGB Cosmetics
  • Julep
  • Tenoverten
  • Sheswai

While it’s hard to go completely chemical free, every little bit helps. When you buy from a 5-free brand, you are also helping to support a company that cares about your health and wellness instead of others that don’t. Thankfully, more companies are developing safer formulas because of the larger demand. Next time you head to the nail polish aisle, think twice!