The sad reality is that nail polish is bad for the environment. It can be harsh to hear, as getting one’s nails done is a part of many people’s self-care. In fact, I am typing this article up with guilty, perfectly polished nails, so you are in a safe and judgement free space!
Nail polish contains harsh chemicals, such as the “Big Three” – toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate. These chemicals saturate into the soil when your nail polish is inevitably left in a landfill. All gel and acrylic nails are non-biodegradable and are considered toxic waste. Glitter in nail polish is micro-plastic and will inevitably end up in the environment. On top of all this, there are negative ethical and health implications associated with nail polish. For example, mica is a natural mineral found in nail polish that is sourced with unethical mining practices, affecting vulnerable women and children.
So, what do we do if we still don’t want to give up this part of our beauty routine? Don’t worry, there are options to get glam in an eco-friendly way.
Some great brands: Philocaly Nail Strips, BKind, Butter London, Orly Breathable, and great for kids – Piggy Paint.
Reuse or craft with your old nail polish bottles – find awesome ideas here.
Do your research – some local salons have recycling programs, reach out to your favourite salon and ask!
If you can’t recycle, drop off your nail polish at a local hazardous waste facility. Learn more about Toronto hazardous waste disposal here.
Use reusable cotton pads – Freon Collective has some great options. Instead of toxic nail polish remover, use organic nail polish remover.
This may be the toughest piece of advice, but remember: nothing is black or white. If you can’t go cold turkey, try reducing the frequency you do your nails. For example, if you do them every 2 weeks, try to only go once a month.
Our advice when reducing your nail polish use – practice good nail hygiene and try using organic essential oils to increase nail strength. Let’s bring beautiful and natural nails into style!
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