Free shipping on orders >39€

14 Ingredients in Nail Polish to avoid

In today’s blog post we wanted to give you a closer look and understanding to the ingredients which we do not include in our nail polish and why we don’t want these in our nail polish. All Kia-Charlotta nail polishes are ›14 FREE‹ which means we do not include the following commonly used toxic ingredients or animal derived ingredients:

14 Ingredients in Nail Polish to avoid

1. Phtalates (incl. Dibutylphthalate (DBP), Diethylhexyl Phthalate (DEHP))

Phatalates can be found in a variety of our cosmetics including nail polish in which they are used as plasticizers or solvents to give nail polish their shiny and plastic-like consistency. Plasticizers have been proven to be carcinogenic and have also been associated with damage to the liver, kidneys and even the reproductive system.

2. Toluene (also Methylbenzene)

Toluene is found naturally in crude oil and in the tolu tree. It is used in a variety of cosmetics including hair dye and nail polish in which it functions as a solvent to suspend the colour in order to form a smooth finish.  Toluene has not been classified as a carcinogenic but has been proven to be a powerful neurotoxin when inhaled. 

 3. Xylene

Xylene is a commonly used solvent in nail polish used to thin the nail polish – or to ensure your nail polish doesn’t get ›lumpy‹. Xylene also often gives nail polish its distinguished odor. Xylene has been proven to be a common allergen whose vapors can cause eye & skin irritation, headaches, dizziness and nausea.

4. Camphor

Camphor is found from the wood of the camphor tree but it can also be synthetically produced. This synthetic form is the one most commonly found in nail polishes and it is used as a plasticizer to add more shine and elasticity. Excess exposure to camphor can cause nausea, dizziness and headaches when inhaled. It is said that in small doses camphor does not pose any health risks, but we say why take the risk and rather not use any! 

5. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in nail polish. It is also an ingredient that commonly gives nail polish its strong odor. It is a proven carcinogen and can additionally cause respiratory symptoms, nausea and allergic reactions.

 6. Formaldehyde Resin

Formaldehyde resin adds depth, gloss and hardness to the film of the nail polish. It is also an ingredient which helps the nail polish better adhere to your nails. It is not classified as a carcinogen like formaldehyde but is a known skin allergen and has been proven to cause dermatitis.

7. Ethyltosylamide

Ethyl Tosylamide is most commonly used as a plasticiser in nail polish. It can increase the durability and longevitiy of the nail polish. In Europe it has been banned from many (but not all) personal care products because of its antibiotic properties and antibiotic resistance.

8. Triphenylphosphate (TPHP)

Triphenylphosphate is also used as a plasticizer to improve the flexibility and durability of the nail polish.  The exposure to TPHP has been associated with endocrine impacts and reproductive and developmental toxicity.


This is a sticky substance that comes from pine and spruce trees. Its sticky qualities make it a potentially useful ingredient in many cosmetics however it is considered a strong allergen and has been associated with acute allergic contact dermatitis as well as difficulty in breathing.

 10. Organic Halides (AOX)

Organic halides are used as solvents. They are a chemical compound made of bromine, iodine, fluorine and chlorine. They have been associated with nerve damage and some are considered carcinogens.

 11. Parabens

Parabens are a group of ingredients which act as preservatives. They keep bacteria, mold and fungi from growing in your cosmetic products. Parabens have been associated with the increased risk of breast cancer and skin cancer.


The most common used silicone in nail polish is dimethicone. It used to speed up the drying process. It is known as an allergen but also a non-biodegradable chemical which is bad for the environment.

 13. Fragrances

If your cosmetics or nail polish lists fragrance as an ingredient it is good to watch out for this because it most commonly unknown which ingredients exactly make up this fragrance. Most fragrances have been linked to serious health problems such as cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, allergies and other sensitivities. Nail polish sometimes uses fragrances to hide the odor or to simply give a pleasant smell to the nail polish.

 14. Animal Derived Ingredients

Animal ingredients in nail polish most commonly include guanine and carmine. Read more about these ingredients here. They have not been proven to cause health problems but we, as a vegan company, have chosen to stay away from them because we do not want to include any ingredients in our products where an animal had to harmed or killed.

While it is near impossible to make completely natural or organic nail polish, we have done our very best to stay away from the most toxic ingredients and therefor ensuring a safer formula and we and many others are very happy with the result. Nail polish, like other make-up, is fun to use and can complete your outfit or look. Just make sure you choose a toxin-free nail polish which is, for the very least, labeled ›3 Free‹ because in the end of the day nothing is more important than your health. On top of that make sure to have a small break in between your new manicures to give some fresh air to your nails.

We hope you enjoyed and feel more informed than before!

Lots of LOVE,

Toxic Beauty: The hidden chemicals in cosmetics and how they can harm us, p. p.198

The fields marked with * are required.