Nail Fail

Photography by: Pornchai Mittongtare
Nail Fail

Lacquered nails can look lovely, but you may want to kick your favorite color to the curb: Ingredients in conventional nail polishes might harm your health. “Steer clear of ‘the big three’: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and toluene,” says Northern California-based dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, M.D. These chemicals have been shown to cause dermatitis, disrupt hormones and affect the nervous system.

“While many companies are phasing out these ingredients, it has been difficult since they help harden the polish and suspend the color,” Bailey says. But the good news is that many companies now use safer ingredients in their formulas and are working to develop polishes with the same staying power as chemical ones.

Six “big three”- free polishes to try:
1. Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer ($16;
2. Dr.’s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish with tea tree oil and wheat protein ($17;
3. Zoya Nail Polish ($8;
4. Priti NYC Non-Toxic Polishes ($13;
5. Suncoat Water-Based Nail Polish ($10;
6. Mineral Fusion Nail Polish ($8;