Colour your world…safely

By Liisa St-Aubin

Though the environment needs a big hand from us to keep it and humankind thriving, it can seem daunting if you don’t know where to start. While you’re drumming your fingers thinking about it, why not start there. Right there. With your nails!

You can be the biggest environmentalist and unknowingly contribute to the problem by painting your nails. Unfortunately, the majority of nail lacquers contain the “big 5” toxins that are bad for the environment and for you.

  1. Dibutyl Phthalate – used as a plasticizer so polishes don’t become brittle
  2. Toluene – used as a solvent
  3. Formaldehyde – used as a hardener
  4. Camphor – used to soften synthetic polymers
  5. Formaldehyde resin – used to give a high gloss durable shine

Ok, so after all that ho, hum, glum about nail colour, there are brands that don’t use these harsh chemicals! This isn’t an extensive list, just ones that don’t make my eyes swell up (formaldehyde allergy) or because I’ve read good things about them.

CND Vinylux

Vinylux uses a gel-lacquer fusion to give the longevity and feel of a gel shellac polish without the need of UV equipment. 5-Free



Truthfully, I had no idea about Essie being free of certain chemicals. They have a huge range of colours and are easy to find in stores. According to their website Essie is DBP, toluene and formaldehyde free. 3-Free


SpaRitual is vegan, eco-friendly using natural dyes to colour their nail polish. 5-Free


Piggy Paint

I haven’t personally used Piggy Paint but the name is hilarious. A mother designed it specifically for children because their hands are always in their face/mouths/nose/ears. It’s non-toxic and odourless so it’s also pregnancy friendly.


This one is probably my favourite from what I’ve used. Zoya has what feels like a billion colours, offers a line of beautiful matte lacquers and is vegan. 5-Free


So you see, you can live your life environmentally friendly and colourfully, one nail at a time!

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