Birchbox Breakdown: July 2012: Color Club Nail Polish

Color Club Nail Polish


Butyl acetate—an organic compound solvent that occurs in some fruits.

Ethyl acetate—also an organic compound.  This is the flavor that makes wines fruity.  It is also used by entomologists to kill insects.

Nitrocellulose—this is what makes your nail polish flammable.  Highly explosive!  As long as you don’t drink your nail polish you should be ok.  It is also used to make film.

Adipic Acid—organic compound used to make nylon.  Mildy toxic if ingested.  Used in small quantities as an artificial flavor.  Makes you wonder about artificial flavor.  Again, don’t drink your nail polish.

Neopentyl glycol—organic compound used in paints, plastics, lubricants, etc.

Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer—synthetic compound that forms films.

Acetyl Tributyl Citrate—another film-forming compound, not suspected of toxicity when used in nail polish.

Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer—uh oh.  Styrene is a suspected carcinogen.  However, it is considered unlikely to be absorbed into the skin.  I don’t know.

Stearalkonium hectorite—produced from minerals.  Considered safe even by the very conscientious Environmental Working Group.

Isopropyl Alcohol—we know what this is.  Don’t drink it.

Camphor—comes from trees.  Some nail polish companies leave this out, because it is toxic when ingested in large amounts.  However, in small amounts it should be fine.  Evidence: dried rosemary leaves have about 20% camphor.

Benzophenone-1—is one of the sunscreen ingredients that people get upset about.  It is used in nail polish to block UV light from damaging color.  The controversy is that it may increase free radicals when it absorbs into the skin.

Color Club nail polishes are “Big Three Free.”  Which means they do not contain:

Dibutyl phthalate—suspected of harming the reproductive system

Formaldehyde—ironically this was never actually included in nail polish to begin with, something called formalin was.  You can still find formalin in some nail hardeners.

Tulolene—ew.  This solvent is the ingredient in glue that messes up your brain when you inhale it.  Repeat: messes up your brain when you inhale it.

The moral: nail polish companies have removed the ingredients that are supposed to be toxic.  Look for brands that are Big Three Free.  Most of them are.  I should mention that only some of O.P.I. nail polishes are Big Three Free.  I don’t use this brand, mostly because the names of the polishes offend me.  Bad puns.  However, O.P.I. is an extremely popular brand, so you should know that if you flip the bottle over to look at the obnoxious name of the polish and see green font, it is 3 Free.  Black font means it is not 3 Free.  The very popular quick drying top coat Seche Vite does contain tuolene, by the way.  That is why it smells so horrible.  I think that everyone who uses nail polish knows that they are not doing yoga or anything very healthy.  Fortunately, nail polish is not as scary and toxic as my mom would have me believe.  Do it at your own risk just like drinking alcohol, driving a car, being around sick people.


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