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5 Nail Polish Myths Debunked

Being in the “nail polish business” for 2,5 years now, we have seen and heard all sorts of things that nail polishes claim to do or be. Sometimes they are simple misunderstandings and sometimes they are a result of marketing. There are definitely some myths out there about nail polish which we feel need to be cleared up which is what we are doing in today’s video and blog post.

5 Nail Polish Myths Debunked

Like every other product or service in this world, nail polish brands too use “marketing techniques” to gain an “advantage” over their competitors and to sell more (basically). This is completely normal and, yes, we also have to engage in marketing activities but sometimes the marketing techniques used by companies create ideas or truths in the consumer’s mind that are not always exactly true. Let’s get straight to the nail polish myths so we can better explain what we are talking about. 

MYTH #1: A “Free From” Nail Polish = Natural and/or Organic

This is one of the “misunderstandings” we see and hear of most often and we completely understand why. We have in fact made a video about “free from” nail polishes and what exactly that means here, so go have a look at that if you are interested in learning more.  

There are many reasons why people might think that a “free from” nail polish is the same thing as a natural and/or organic nail polish. One of the main reasons is that there simply is actually no such thing as a “natural” or “organic” nail polish (except for one exception) because in order to create a nail polish, even it’s a “free from” or more “natural” nail polish, you simply need some ingredients which by definition could never really be natural or organic. What you can however do with nail polish is create a less toxic version than the conventional nail polishes so that it wouldn’t include any of the most potentially harmful ingredients which many of the conventional nail polishes still do include in them. Because there is not really such a thing as a natural or organic nail polish, a “free from” nail polish is the nail polish you will find in many natural/organic beauty stores or when you google “natural nail polish”. A free from nail polish is simply the best and most safe option for a nail polish if you want to avoid some of the more harsh or even potentially harmful ingredients – this however does not make the product natural or organic and you probably won’t find a natural or organic nail polish anywhere. 

A good rule of thumb is that unless the product packaging says that it is natural or organic, then it most likely is not. We also created a blog post on how nail polish is made, which you should definitely go check out if you are interested in understanding the ingredients a nail polish requires for it to work like a nail polish should work. See the blog post here.

MYTH #2: A Water-based nail polish is 100% natural

This is another myth or misunderstanding which again we completely understand why many people might think this. Water-based sounds like the most beautiful and natural thing. However, what you have to understand is that many beauty products are water-based (i.e. have water as their first ingredient) but does that make it 100% natural? Absolutely not because it’s also about the other ingredients that are also included in the product which in many products, water-based nail polish included, are not natural. 

Technically speaking, yes, you could say that water is the most natural thing in this world and since the water-based nail polish is based on that, it could be considered more natural than a solvent based nail polish (which is what “normal” nail polishes are) but it most certainly doesn’t make it 100% natural and a water-based nail polish is also never a certified natural product i.e. yes even a water-based nail polish needs ingredients in it which by definition are not natural.

Also, it’s good to note, that some solvents e.g. the solvents we use in our nail polish (ethyl acetate and butyl acetate) are naturally derived and can be found in e.g. many of our foods. However, in order to “make” these solvents/ingredients it takes a chemical process which would technically make these solvents not “naturally occurring” like e.g. water is. But, used in a nail polish, does that make these ingredients worse than water? No. 

In conclusion, when a nail polish bottle says it is water-based, it sounds so natural that people can easily think that the whole product is natural which however is not the case. Also, it’s good to note that a water-based nail polish works differently than a “normal” nail polish would/will – whether its better or worse we will of course leave up to you. 

MYTH #3: The Bigger the “Free From” Claim, the Better

Ok, this is half myth and half fact but it’s important for us to mention here because the “free from” nail polish world can be confusing and it is most likely going to get increasingly more confusing in the future. To understand why please refer to the blog post we made talking about “free from” nail polishes here. 

So, in general, when you see an e.g. 5 free nail polish next to a 10 free nail polish, you can rightfully assume that the 10 free nail polish includes less harmful/toxic ingredients than the 5 free nail polish BUT this is definitely not always the case. The reason is because there is no regulation to what a free from list can and cannot include in it and brands and companies are coming up with more and more ingredients which their nail polish does not include in them (and therefore including it in their free from list) making the “free from” lists bigger and bigger – even though the ingredients are actually very similar to the other “less free from” nail polishes. So, basically just because the packaging says 10 free, does not necessarily mean that the 5 free brand is not also 10 free. The only way to know 100% is to compare the ingredients. However, we don’t want to confuse you too much and rest assured, often it is in fact so that the 10 free nail polish will have less toxic/harmful ingredients in it than the 5 free nail polish – but it simply isn’t alwaysthe case.

MYTH #4: Oil Infused Nail Polishes Are Healthier for our Nails

This is an interesting trend/myth happening in the nail polish world and quite often in the “free from” nail polish world where brands and companies are “infusing” their nail polishes with oils e.g. vitamin e, jojoba or avocado oil. Now, when the packaging says it has vitamin e oil in it, it therefore must be healthier than the nail polish without any oil, right? Not quite. 

There is no evidence or research which would show that an oil infused nail polish would have any health benefits to our nails. There are many reasons for this but one thing which is important to understand is that nail polish doesn’t work on an oily base i.e. its highly recommended to not apply nail polish if you have just applied a hand cream or nail oil. Why? Because the then nail polish cannot properly adhere to your nails. This means that if there would actually be a meaningful amount of any oil in the nail polish, it would drastically decrease the adhesion of the nail polish. The nail polishes that do include oils in them include them in very low concentrations which, especially when in a nail polish which hardens up on your nail, can do very little for the health of your/our nails. Our personal opinion is that any oils in nail polish are useless and most likely included into the recipe so that the companies can create a beautiful marketing claim with it which says e.g. “with vitamin e oil”. 

MYTH #5: We Should opt for a Breathable Nail Polish

The breathable and/or water permeable nail polish “trend” came from the demand for halal nail polishes for those in the Muslim religion. This quickly led to many nail polishes to start to include claims such as “breathable” on their packaging which, again, sounds super good and healthy and makes us think that we too should opt for breathable nail polishes. We have a few things to say about this:

1. Our nails get their oxygen from our bloodstream i.e. they do not need the air in the room or outside in order to “breathe”. So, you don’t need to opt for a breathable nail polish so ensure your nails can breathe. Muslims need a breathable and water permeable nail polish because during prayer their nails should have access to air and water.

2. A nail polish which is water permeable will also always be “breathable”. And what actually is a “water permeable” nail polish? The truth is that there are very little (if any) nail polishes which actually allow water molecules to penetrate through them when dried up on your nails (because water molecules are simply too big) which technically would make the nail polish not water permeable, right? Well technically, yes this is true, however water vapor molecules are able to penetrate the nail polish which then again would make the nail polish technically “water permeable”. And often times when talking about water permeable nail polish what is actually meant is “vapor” permeable.  

All in all, it’s simply a myth that your nails need or prefer a breathable nail polish, but to some extent many nail polishes are in fact both breathable and water permeable (ours is, but not all nail polishes are). Make sure to ask the company if this is important for you.

Those were the five nail polish myths we wanted to talk to you about today. We hope you enjoyed and learned something new!  

Lots of LOVE,
Your Kia-Charlotta Team 

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