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Nail polish (also known as nail varnish or nail enamel) is a
lacquer The term lacquer is used for a number of hard and potentially shiny finishes applied to materials such as wood or metal. These fall into a number of very different groups. The term ''lacquer'' originates from the Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attri ...

lacquer
that can be applied to the human fingernail or toenails to decorate and protect the nail plates. The formula has been revised repeatedly to enhance its decorative effects and to suppress cracking or peeling. Nail polish consists of a mix of an organic
polymer A polymer (; Greek ''wikt:poly-, poly-'', "many" + ''wikt:-mer, -mer'', "part") is a Chemical substance, substance or material consisting of very large molecules, or macromolecules, composed of many Repeat unit, repeating subunits. Due to thei ...

polymer
and several other components that give it colors and textures. Nail polishes come in all shades of color and play a significant part in
manicure A manicure is a cosmetic beauty treatment for the fingernails and hands performed at home or in a nail salon. A manicure consists of filing and shaping the ''free edge'' of nails, pushing and clipping (with a cuticle pusher and cuticle nip ...

manicure
s and
pedicure A pedicure is a cosmetic treatment of the Foot, feet and toenails, analogous to a manicure. Pedicures are done for cosmetic, therapeutic purposes. They are popular throughout the world, and especially among women. Pedicures include care not only ...

pedicure
s.


History

Nail polish originated in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
and dates back to 3000 BCE. Around 600 BCE, during the
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscript ...
, the royal house preferred the colors gold and silver. However, red and black eventually replaced these metallic colors as royal favorites. During the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group nativ ...

Ming dynasty
, nail polish was often made from a mixture that included
beeswax foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers Beeswax (''cera alba'') is a natural wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned m ...

beeswax
,
egg white Egg white is the clear liquid (also called the albumen or the glair/glaire) contained within an egg Diagram of a chicken egg in its 9th day. Membranes: allantois, chorion, amnion, and vitellus/ yolk. An egg is the organic vessel containing ...
s,
gelatin Gelatin or gelatine (from la, gelatus meaning "stiff" or "frozen") is a translucent, colorless, flavorless food ingredient, commonly derived from collagen upright=1.5, Tropocollagen molecule: three left-handed procollagens (red, green, blue) j ...
, vegetable dyes, and
gum arabic '', pictured in a medicinal handbook: Franz Eugen Köhler, ''Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen'' (1887) Gum arabic, also known as ''gum sudani'', acacia gum, Arabic gum, gum acacia, acacia, Senegal gum, ''Indian gum'', and by other names, is a natur ...
. In
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
, the lower classes wore pale colors, whereas high society painted their nails reddish brown, with
henna Henna is a dye prepared from the plant ''Lawsonia inermis'', also known as the henna tree, the mignonette tree, and the Egyptian privet, the sole species of the genus ''Lawsonia''. ''Henna'' can also refer to the temporary body art resulting fr ...

henna
.
Mummified A mummy is a dead human or an animal whose soft tissues and Organ (anatomy), organs have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to Chemical substance, chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity, or lack of air, so that the r ...

Mummified
pharaohs Pharaoh (, ; cop, ''Pǝrro'') is the common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, ...

pharaohs
also had their nails painted with henna. In Europe, Frederick S. N. Douglas while travelling in Greece in 1810-12 noticed that the Greek women used to paint their nails "dingy pink", which he understood as an ancient custom. Early nail polish formulas were created using basic ingredients such as
lavender oil Lavender oil is an essential oil obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. There are over 400 types of lavender species worldwide with different scents and qualities. Two forms are distinguished, ''lavender ...

lavender oil
,
carmine Carmine ()also called cochineal (for Cochineal, the insect from which it is extracted), cochineal extract, crimson Lake pigment, lake, or carmine lake is a pigment of a bright-red color obtained from the aluminium coordination complex, complex de ...

carmine
, oxide tin, and bergamot oil. It was more common to polish nails with tinted powders and creams, finishing off by buffing the nail until left shiny. One type of polishing product sold around this time was Graf's Hyglo nail polish paste.


Ingredients

* Modern nail polish consists of a film-forming
polymer A polymer (; Greek ''wikt:poly-, poly-'', "many" + ''wikt:-mer, -mer'', "part") is a Chemical substance, substance or material consisting of very large molecules, or macromolecules, composed of many Repeat unit, repeating subunits. Due to thei ...

polymer
dissolved in a volatile organic solvent. Typical is a solution of
nitrocellulose Nitrocellulose (also known as cellulose nitrate, flash paper, flash cotton, guncotton, pyroxylin and flash string, depending on form) is a highly flammable compound formed by nitrating In organic chemistry, nitration is a general class of chem ...

nitrocellulose
in
butyl acetate ''n''-Butyl acetate, also known as butyl ethanoate, is an ester An ester is a chemical compound derived from an acid (organic or inorganic) in which at least one –OH hydroxyl group is replaced by an –O– alkyl (alkoxy) group, as in the subs ...

butyl acetate
or
ethyl acetate Ethyl acetate ( systematically ethyl ethanoate, commonly abbreviated EtOAc, ETAC or EA) is the organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical elemen ...

ethyl acetate
is common. This basic formulation is expanded to include the following: :*Plasticizers to yield non-brittle films.
Dibutylphthalate Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is an organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, ...
and
camphor Camphor () is a wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds that are lipophilic, malleabil ...

camphor
are typical plasticizers. :*Dyes and pigments. Representative compounds include
chromium oxideChromium oxide may refer to: * Chromium(II) oxide, CrO * Chromium(III) oxide, Cr2O3 * Chromium dioxide (chromium(IV) oxide), CrO2, which includes the hypothetical compound chromium(II) chromate * Chromium trioxide Chromium trioxide (also known as ...

chromium oxide
greens, chromium hydroxide,
ferric ferrocyanide In chemistry, iron(III) refers to the chemical element, element iron in its +3 oxidation number, oxidation state. In salt (chemistry), ionic compounds (salts), such an atom may occur as a separate cation (positive ion) denoted by Fe3+. The adject ...

ferric ferrocyanide
, stannic oxide,
titanium dioxide Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium(IV) oxide or titania , is the inorganic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical ...
,
iron oxide Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen Group (periodic table), group in the periodic table, ...

iron oxide
,
carmine Carmine ()also called cochineal (for Cochineal, the insect from which it is extracted), cochineal extract, crimson Lake pigment, lake, or carmine lake is a pigment of a bright-red color obtained from the aluminium coordination complex, complex de ...

carmine
,
ultramarine Ultramarine is a deep blue color pigment which was originally made by grinding lapis lazuli into a powder. The name comes from the Latin ''ultramarinus'', literally "beyond the sea", because the pigment was imported into Europe from mines in Afghan ...

ultramarine
, and
manganese violet Manganese violet is the common name for ammonium manganese(III) pyrophosphate, an inorganic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of ato ...

manganese violet
. :*Opalescent pigments. The glittery/shimmer look in the color can be conferred by
mica Micas ( ) are a group of mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs natural ...

mica
,
bismuth oxychloride Bismuth oxychloride is an inorganic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, p ...
, natural pearls, and aluminum powder. :*Adhesive polymers ensure that the nitrocellulose adheres to the nail's surface. One modifier used is tosylamide-formaldehyde
resin In polymer chemistry and materials science, resin is a solid or highly Viscosity, viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. Resins are usually mixtures of organic compounds. This article focus ...

resin
. :*Thickening agents are added to maintain the sparkling particles in suspension while in the bottle. A typical thickener is stearalkonium hectorite. Thickening agents exhibit
thixotropy Thixotropy is a time-dependent shear thinning In rheology, shear thinning is the non-Newtonian behavior of fluids whose viscosity The viscosity of a fluid is a measure of its drag (physics), resistance to deformation at a given rate. For liq ...
, their solutions are viscous when still but free-flowing when agitated. This duality is convenient for easily applying the freshly shaken mixture to give a film that quickly rigidifies. :*Ultraviolet stabilizers resist color changes when the dry film is exposed to sunlight. A typical stabilizer is benzophenone-1.


Types


Base coat

This type of nail polish is a clear, milky-colored, or opaque pink polish formula that is used specifically before applying nail polish to the nail. Its purpose is to strengthen nails, restore moisture to the nail, and help polish adhere to the nail. It prevents staining and extends the lifespan of the manicure. Some base coats are marketed as "ridge fillers", and can create a smooth surface, de-emphasizing the ridges that can appear on unbuffed nails. Some base coats, called "peel off base coats", allow the user to peel off their nail polish without using a remover.


Top coat

This type of nail polish is a clear colored polish formula that is used specifically after applying nail polish to the nail. It forms a hardened barrier for the nail that can prevent chipping, scratching and peeling. Many topcoats are marketed as "quick-drying." Topcoats can help the underlying colored polish dry quickly as well. It gives the polish a more finished and desired look and may help to keep the polish on longer.


Gel

Gel polish Artificial nails, also known as fake nails, false nails, fashion nails, acrylic nails, nail extensions or nail enhancements, are extensions placed over fingernails as fashion accessories. Some artificial nail designs attempt to mimic the appearan ...
is a long-lasting variety of nail polish made up of a type of
methacrylateMethacrylates are derivatives of methacrylic acid. These derivatives include the parent acid (CH2C(CH3)CO2H), salts (e.g., Na+), esters (e.g. CH2C(CH3)CO2CH3, or methyl methacrylate) and the polymers of these species. Methacrylates are common mon ...

methacrylate
polymer. It is painted on the nail similar to traditional nail polish, but does not dry. Instead it is
cured A cure is a completely effective treatment for a disease. Cure, or similar, may also refer to: Places * Cure (river), a river in France * Cures, Sabinum, an ancient Italian town * Cures, Sarthe, a commune in western France People * Curate or cu ...
under an
ultraviolet Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that stud ...

ultraviolet
lamp or ultraviolet LED. While regular nail polish formulas typically last two to seven days without chipping, gel polish can last as long as two weeks with proper application and home care. Gel polish can be more difficult to remove than regular nail polish. It is usually removed by soaking the nails in pure
acetone Acetone, or propanone, is an organic compound with the chemical formula, formula (methyl group, CH3)2carbonyl, CO. It is the simplest and smallest ketone. It is a colourless, highly volatile and flammable liquid with a characteristic pungent od ...

acetone
(the solvent used in most nail polish removers) for five to fifteen minutes, depending on the formula.


Matte

Matte polish is like regular polish, but has a purposely dull finish rather than a shine. It can be purchased as a regular base coat in ranges of different colors. Matte nail polish can also be found in a topcoat. Matte topcoat is most useful for painting over any dry base color, giving it a different appearance. The matte topcoat polish will dull the shine from a regular base coat polish. Matte polish has become very popular through the years, particularly since it can be used in applications, where designs can be created on the nail using the contrast of both shiny and matte surfaces.


In fashion

Traditionally, nail polish started in clear, white,
red Red is the color at the long wavelength end of the visible spectrum of light, next to orange and opposite violet. It has a dominant wavelength Image:dominant wavelength.png, frame, Dominant/complementary wavelength example on the CIE color ...

red
,
pink Pink is the color of a namesake flower that is a pale tint of red. It was first used as a color name in the late 17th century. According to surveys in Europe and the United States, pink is the color most often associated with charm, politeness, ...

pink
,
purple Purple is any of a variety of color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the ...

purple
, and black. Nail polish can be found in a diverse variety of colors and shades. Beyond solid colors, nail polish has also developed an array of other designs, such as crackled, glitter, flake, speckled, iridescent, and holographic.
Rhinestone A rhinestone, paste or diamante is a diamond simulant originally made from rock crystal but since the 19th century from Lead glass, crystal glass or polymers such as Polymethyl methacrylate, acrylic. Original Originally, rhinestones were r ...
s or other decorative art are also often applied to nail polish. Some polish is advertised to induce nail growth, make nails stronger, prevent nails from breaking, cracking, or splitting, and even to stop
nail biting Nail biting, also known as onychophagy or onychophagia (or even erroneously onyhophagia), is an human mouth, oral body-focused repetitive behavior, compulsive habit of biting one's Nail (anatomy), fingernails. It is sometimes described as a parafun ...

nail biting
.


French manicure

French manicures are designed to resemble natural nails, and are characterized by natural pink base nails with white tips. French manicures were one of the first popular and well-known color schemes. French manicures may have originated in the eighteenth-century in
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
but were most popular in the 1920s and 1930s. However, the traditional French manicures were much different from what we know today. They were generally red, while leaving a round crescent shape at the area near the cuticle blank to enhance the lunula of the nail, known now as a half-moon manicure. With the modern French manicure, trends involving painting different colors for the tips of the nails instead of the white. French tip nails can be made with stickers and stencils. It is still typically done by hand through painting with polish or gel, or sculptured with acrylic.


Social media

Social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

Social media
has given rise to a culture that allows users to share pictures of their nail art. ''
Women's Wear Daily ''Women's Wear Daily'' (also known as ''WWD'') is a fashion Fashion is a form of self-expression, at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing File:KangaSiyu1.jpg, A kanga (African garment), kanga, worn throughout ...
'' reports nail polish sales hit a record US$768 million in the United States in 2012, a 32% gain over 2011. Several new polishes and related products came on to the market in the second decade of the twenty-first century as part of the explosion of nail art, such as nail stickers (either made of nail polish or plastic), stencils, magnetic nail polish, nail pens, glitter and sequin topcoats, nail caviar (micro beads), nail polish marketed for men, scented nail polish, and color changing nail polish (some which change hue when exposed to sunshine, and ranges which change hue in response to heat).


Western world

Nail polish in the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
was more frequently worn by women, going in and out of acceptability depending upon moral customs of the day. In
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the wikt:period, period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian era, Georgian period and preceded the Edwa ...
culture it was generally considered improper for women to adorn themselves with either makeup or nail coloring, since natural appearances were considered more chaste and pure. In the 1920s, however, women began to wear color in new makeups and nail products, partly in rebellion to such prim customs of their recent past. Since the 1920s, nail colors progressed from French manicures and standard reds to various palettes of color choices, usually coordinated with the fashion industry's clothing colors for the season. By the 1940s the whole nail was painted; before that, it was fashionable to leave the tips and a half-moon on the nail bed bare. It is less common for men to wear nail polish, and the usage can be seen as violating traditional gender norms. Uses include clear polish to protect nails from breakage or impart a well-groomed sheen, and colored polish on fingernails and toenails. Professional baseball players, especially catchers, may wear nail polish on the field.


Finishes

There are 17 principal nail polish finishes: * Shimmer * Micro-shimmer * Micro-glitter * Glitter * Frost * Lustre * Creme *
Iridescent Iridescence (also known as goniochromism) is the phenomenon of certain surfaces that appear to Gradient, gradually change color as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes. Examples of iridescence include soap bubbles, feathers, ...
* Opalescent * Matte * Duochrome * Jelly or translucent * Magnetic * Crackled * Glass-flecked * Holographic * Prismatic micro-glitter or shimmer


Nail polish remover

Nail polish remover is an
organic Organic may refer to: * Organic, of or relating to an organism, a living entity * Organic, of or relating to an anatomical organ (anatomy), organ Chemistry * Organic matter, matter that has come from a once-living organism, is capable of decay or ...
solvent A solvent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

solvent
that may also include oils, scents, and coloring. Nail polish remover packages may include individual felt pads soaked in remover, a bottle of liquid remover used with a cotton ball or
cotton pad Cotton pads are pads made of cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus '' Gossypium'' in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pu ...
, or a container filled with foam into which one inserts a finger and twists it until the polish comes off. Choosing a type of remover is determined by the user's preference, and often the price or quality of the remover. The most common remover is
acetone Acetone, or propanone, is an organic compound with the chemical formula, formula (methyl group, CH3)2carbonyl, CO. It is the simplest and smallest ketone. It is a colourless, highly volatile and flammable liquid with a characteristic pungent od ...

acetone
. Acetone can also remove
artificial nails Artificial nails, also known as fake nails, false nails, fashion nails, acrylic nails, nail extensions or nail enhancements, are extensions placed over fingernails as fashion accessories Burberry-brand handbag A fashion Fashion is a form ...
made of acrylic or cured
gel A gel is a that can have properties ranging from soft and weak to hard and tough. Gels are defined as a substantially dilute ed system, which exhibits no flow when in the steady-state, although the liquid phase may still diffuse through this sy ...
. An alternative nail polish remover is
ethyl acetate Ethyl acetate ( systematically ethyl ethanoate, commonly abbreviated EtOAc, ETAC or EA) is the organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical elemen ...

ethyl acetate
, which often also contains
isopropyl alcohol Isopropyl alcohol (IUPAC The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC ) is an international federation of National Adhering OrganizationsNational Adhering Organizations in chemistry are the organizations that work as the aut ...
. Ethyl acetate is usually the original solvent for nail polish itself.
Acetonitrile Acetonitrile, often abbreviated MeCN (methyl cyanide), is the chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one chem ...

Acetonitrile
has been used as a nail polish remover, but it is more toxic than the aforementioned options. It has been banned in the
European Economic Area The European Economic Area (EEA) was established via the ''Agreement on the European Economic Area'', an international agreement which enables the extension of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic un ...

European Economic Area
for use in cosmetics since 17 March 2000.


Health concerns

The health risks associated with nail polish are disputed. According to the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also known as the Health Department, is a cabinet-level executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, r ...
, "The amount of chemicals used in animal studies is probably a couple of hundred times higher than what you would be exposed to from using nail polish every week or so. So the chances of any individual phthalate producing such harm n humansis very slim." A more serious health risk is faced by professional nail technicians, who perform manicures over a workstation, known as a nail table, on which the client's hands rest – directly below the technician's breathing zone. In 2009, Susan Reutman, an
epidemiologist Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and risk factor, determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is a cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions ...
with the U.S.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, ) is the United States federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury Injury, also known as physical ...
's Division of Applied Research and Technology, announced a federal effort to evaluate the effectiveness of downdraft vented nail tables (VNTs) in removing potential nail polish chemical and dust exposures from the technician's work area. These ventilation systems have potential to reduce worker exposure to chemicals by at least 50%. Many nail technicians will often wear masks to cover their mouth and nose from inhaling any of the harsh dust or chemicals from the nail products. According to Reutman, a growing body of scientific literature suggests that some inhaled and absorbed
organic solvent A solvent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
s found in nail salons such as glycol ethers and carbon disulfide may have adverse effects on reproductive health. These effects may including birth defects, low birth weight, miscarriage, and preterm birth. Nail polish formulations may include ingredients that are toxic or affect other health problems. One controversial family of ingredient are
phthalates Phthalates (, ), or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic acid. They are mainly used as plasticizers, i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. They are used primarily to soften ...

phthalates
,Cunningham, J. (2013) "Color cosmetics" in ''Chemistry and Technology of the Cosmetics and Toiletries Industry''. D. F. Williams and W. H. Schmitt (eds.). Springer. which are implicated as
endocrine disruptor Endocrine disruptors, sometimes also referred to as hormonally active agents, endocrine disrupting chemicals, or endocrine disrupting compounds are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine The endocrine system is a messenger system compri ...
s and linked to problems in the
endocrine system The endocrine system is a messenger system comprising feedback loops of the hormone A hormone (from the Greek participle , "setting in motion") is any member of a class of signaling molecules in multicellular organisms, that are transported ...

endocrine system
and increased risk of
diabetes Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as just diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by a hyperglycemia, high blood sugar level over a prolonged period of time. Symptoms often include frequent urination, Polydipsia, increased th ...

diabetes
. Manufacturers have been pressured by consumer groups to reduce or to eliminate potentially-toxic ingredients, and in September 2006, several companies agreed to phase out dibutyl phthalates. There are no universal consumer safety standards for nail polish, however, and while formaldehyde has been eliminated from some nail polish brands, others still use it.


Regulation and environmental concerns

The U.S. city of
San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (dis ...

San Francisco
enacted a city ordinance, publicly identifying establishments that use nail polishes free of the "toxic trio" of
dibutyl phthalate Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is an organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Ca ...

dibutyl phthalate
,
toluene Toluene (), also known as toluol (), is an aromatic hydrocarbon. It is a colorless, Water (molecule), water-insoluble liquid with the smell associated with paint thinners. It is a mono-substituted benzene derivative, consisting of a methyl group ( ...

toluene
, and
formaldehyde Formaldehyde ( , also ) (systematic nameA systematic name is a name given in a systematic way to one unique group, organism, object or chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemist ...
. Nail polish is considered a
hazardous waste Hazardous waste is waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. A by-product by contrast is a joint product of relative ...
by some regulatory bodies such as the
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...
Department of Public Works. Many countries have strict restrictions on sending nail polish by mail. The "toxic trio" are currently being phased out, but there are still components of nail polish that could cause environmental concern. Leaking out of the bottle into the soil could cause contamination in ground water.
Chromium(III) oxide Chromium(III) oxide (or chromia) is an inorganic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition ...
green and
Prussian blue Prussian blue (also known as Berlin blue or, in painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic composition that, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, ...

Prussian blue
are common in nail polish and have shown evidence of going through chemical degradation, which could have a detrimental effect on health.


References


Further reading

* Charles Panati, ''Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things'',
Harper & Row Harper is an American publishing house, the flagship imprint of global publisher HarperCollins based in New York City. History J. & J. Harper (1817–1833) James Harper (publisher), James Harper and his brother John, printers by training, star ...
, 1987


External links


Nail salons: How to be safe at work – Oregon OSHA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Nail Salons Project

Polygel Nail Kits
{{Cosmetics Chinese inventions Cosmetics History of cosmetics