8-free has become nail industry short-hand for products that have eliminated a number of toxic ingredients. You’ll see 8-free, 5-free, even 13-free (though that’s a little more confusing since it often refers to things like vegan and cruelty free, not ingredients), but the following evil 8 are the real culprits, in our expert opinion.
Here’s a little about why we have taken these toxic ingredients out of our nail polishes to help protect your skin and nails.
FORMALDEHYDE: A skin, eye, and respiratory irritant, and a known carcinogen (formaldehyde exposure has been associated with leukemia specifically), used in nail polish as a hardener and preservative.
CAMPHOR: This is a scented substance derived from the wood of the camphor tree a natural ingredient. But in large doses can cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches when inhaled, making it a concern for nail technicians. Acts as a cover on your nails, depriving them of nutrients and causing yellow staining on your nails
XYLENE: a solvent that keeps your nail polish from getting gloppy; it's also a known allergen and possible carcinogen, according to research from the International Agency on Research For Cancer Scientific Publications Series.
FORMALDEHYDE RESIN: Although formaldehyde resin hasn’t been linked to cancer like regular formaldehyde, it’s a skin allergen known to cause dermatitis. It can also off-gas formaldehyde and may contain residual levels of formaldehyde. It is a soft resin material which, in conjunction with nitrocellulose, forms tough, shiny and durable films on nails & maintains a high gloss of nail enamel throughout the wear period.
TRIPHENYL PHOSPHATE (TPHP): A handful studies have suggested that TPHP could be an endocrine disruptor which could affect your hormones – in particular, it could potentially affect reproductive health and lipid metabolism (that’s where the “nail polish makes you fat” headline comes from). TPHP is utilized as a flame retardant, used in plastics to improve flexibility and found in nail polish to make it more durable.
DIBUTYL PHTHALATE (DBP): DBP is known to cause lifelong reproductive impairments in male rats, and has been shown to damage the testes, prostate gland, epididymis, penis, and seminal vesicles in animals. Toxic for reproductive and developmental growth. In nail polish because it increases flexibility and shine.
ETHYL TOSYLAMIDE: highly viscous, amber liquid used primarily as plasticizer and film former. A mixture of isomers of toluene bound to ethane sulfonamide. Barred from personal care products in Europe due to its antibiotic properties and concern over antibiotic resistance.
TOLUENE: Made from petroleum or coal tar. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus. In nail polish, toluene is used to give the polish a smooth finish.
...psst, we're also cruelty-free, gluten-free, and vegan—in case you were curious!