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Why Nail Polish is Never 100% Natural

Our nail polishes are up to 87% natural (depending on the colours) but they are not 100% natural. In fact, you might have noticed already that there isn’t really such a thing as a natural nail polish and up to 87% natural is pretty much as natural as it gets. But why can’t nail polish be 100% natural and which non-natural ingredients do we include in our nail polishes and why? We answer these questions in our blog post today!



Many people find our nail polishes in the hopes of finding a natural nail polish and see that we are actually “only” up to 87% natural – but not 100% and they often wonder why and what is it in our nail polish that is not natural. We shall get into that shortly but first we think it’s important to clear a few things up:


Natural is not a legally protected term in Germany or the EU and any beauty brand or product who writes or claims to be natural without a certification can pretty much mean almost anything. Sometimes they will be very natural, often times they will not. For us at Kia-Charlotta we define natural as per the natural cosmetics standards COSMOS or NATRUE. To understand what is allowed in natural cosmetics it’s easier to define what is generally not allowed within these certifications:

1. Ingredients based on petroleum, silicones and PEG (polyethylene glycols).
2. Many substances that are problematic for the environment and health are banned in certified natural cosmetics, including mineral oil-based microplastics and many preservatives.
3. Only mineral light protection filters are allowed. However, nanoparticles are not prohibited.
4. Natural raw materials such as vegetable oils can be changed through defined chemical reactions. Very few chemically produced substances such as some pigments and nature-identical preservatives are allowed.
5. Depending on the seal, at least some of the ingredients must come from organic farming. In the list of ingredients, organic ingredients are often specially marked, for example with an asterisk.


The base of all our 15 Free nail polishes is the same and the only thing that differs within the shades are their pigments i.e. what gives them their colour. There are natural pigments e.g. mica and there are synthetic pigments. Both types of pigments are used in our nail polishes, sometimes more and sometimes less which is what ultimately determines whether a is colour is 87% natural or e.g. 82% natural. With our nail polishes the average is 85% natural meaning most of the base is natural.

As an example, the main ingredients of nail polishes are always solvents (up to 60%), most commonly ethyl acetate and butyl acetate. These can be petrochemically derived or plant derived and in most conventional nail polishes these are petrochemically derived which would make them not natural. In our nail polishes they are 100% plant derived which makes them natural. If you want to learn more about the ingredients in our nail polishes make sure to read our glossary here.

We would also like to note that if you ever see a nail polish brand claiming to be 100% natural its best you proceed with caution and make sure you check the ingredients. Remember; natural is not legally protected and almost anyone can technically call their product natural but, unless they can prove otherwise, no brand should be even able to call their nail polish 100% natural (but it happens).



To better visualize what exactly is not “natural” in our nail polish we will insert a screen shot from from one of our 15 free nail polishes. This is one of the nail polishes that is not 87% natural. It is however important to note that Code Check does not evaluate how natural ingredients are but evaluates the ingredients based on their safety to us e.g. just because an ingredient isn’t natural doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad for us.



As you can see in the image above the majority of the ingredients in our nail polish are considered completely safe according to Code Check and in fact most of the ingredients marked green are also considered natural. It is the orange and light green marked ingredients which are considered the “non-natural” ingredients and why our nail polishes are “only” up to 87% natural. It’s important to mention that code check lists the ingredients from (top) significant concern to (bottom) no concern. This is however not our official INCI order and it does not indicate which ingredients are in most high concentration in our nail polish.

The first two ingredients marked as orange or “significant concern” are CI 15880 and nitrocellulose.


CI 15880 is a pigment which is not natural. Within our nail polishes we do have to use some colour pigments which are not naturally and are instead synthetically derived which are sometimes considered as “concerning” according to Code Check. It is however important to realize that the concentration of each individual pigment is only maximum 2% of our entire nail polish. Additionally, many pigments are considered concerning when they are consumed e.g. through a lipstick or are on our skin through e.g. an eyeshadow and the likelihood of a pigment entering our bloodstream or body through nail polish on our nails is much more unlikely (however of course, not impossible).


This is an ingredient which you will simply find in every nail polish. It is the second (or third) most important ingredient within a nail polish and it is basically the ingredient which keeps your nail polish hard on your nails. As described in Code Check, the problem with nitrocellulose is the possibility that it produces nitrosamines and nitrosamines are considered potentially carcinogenic. Now at first glance this may sound quite harsh but it’s important to pay attention to the words used e.g. there is a possibility that it produces nitrosamines (i.e. it does not necessarily do so) and that nitrosamines can be potentially carcinogenic (i.e. are not necessarily so).

However, because of the potential concerns of nitrocellulose we have added maltol into our recipe. Maltol is a naturally occurring organic compound which is often used as a flavoring agent. In our nail polish however, we didn’t include maltol for the flavor, but for something quite different; Maltol has proven to significantly minimize the formation of nitrosamines which can be formed in very small quantities from nitrocellulose.

Next let’s look at the light green ingredients marked as “low concern”:

Adipic Acid/ Neopentyl Glycol/ Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer

In nail polish this is a film forming polymer and makes sure our nail polish doesn’t chip too quick. Any film forming polymers are not considered natural, yet this particular ingredient hasn’t shown to be of any major concern to our health.

Phosphoric Acid

This can be considered a natural ingredient although it won’t be found in natural cosmetics very often. This ingredient is of low concern and the “concerns” which are relevant are only applicable when this ingredient is consumed internally so with nail polish the concerns are almost irrelevant.

All other ingredients are marked green and are natural and safe within our nail polishes. We have done our best to create the most natural nail polish with simultaneously a good quality. As already mentioned, it is pretty much impossible to create a 100% natural nail polish, but we have done our best to get as close as we can and to also keep any “concerning” ingredients at a bare minimum or, for example with nitrocellulose, to minimize their potential risks.

We guarantee we would never create a product which we wouldn’t love to use on a regular basis ourselves and our nail polishes are one of the most natural and safe ones out there. We hope this blog post could be helpful for you and you now understand what up to 87% natural means, what is it in our nail polish which is not natural and why nail polish can pretty much never be 100% natural.

We wish you an amazing day and if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask us anytime.

Lots of LOVE,

Kia and your Kia-Charlotta Team

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