Conventional nail polishes are loaded with toxic chemicals, and they may potentially be harmful to your unborn baby. So put aside what you have for now and use one of these pregnancy-safe, non-toxic nail polishes for your baby’s safety.
The only thing that keeps you going through 24/7 morning sickness throughout pregnancy is the feeling of a fresh manicure and pedicure.
Yes, that was me during my pregnancy!
However, you don’t want to use any nail polish you got your hand on now. Conventional nail polishes available on the market are loaded with toxic chemicals that potentially be harmful to your growing baby. But don’t let that stop you from keeping your nail polished and feeling good about yourself.
This article talks about which chemicals to avoid in nail polish during pregnancy and the 9 best pregnancy-safe, non-toxic nail polishes so you can feel pretty without losing your peace of mind.
- Is it Safe to use Nail Polish during Pregnancy?
- 9 Best Pregnancy-Safe, Non-Toxic Nail Polishes
- 1. Honeybee Gardens Nail Polish
- 2. 10+ Free Chemistry
- 3. Dazzle Dry
- 4. SOPHi Non-Toxic Nail Polish
- 5. Piggy Paint Nail Polish
- 6. BONTIME Non-Toxic Nail Polish
- 7. Karma Organic Natural Nail Polish
- 8. Benecos Nail Polish
- 9. Côte Nail Polish
- Which Chemicals to Avoid in a Nail Polish?
- Can you go to a Nail Salon When Pregnant?
- Is OPI shellac or Gel Nail polish safe during Pregnancy?
- Is it safe to get Acrylic Nails while Pregnant?
- Can acrylic nails cause birth defects?
- Is Soaking Nails in Acetone Safe during Pregnancy?
- Is Ella and Mila Nail Polish safe during Pregnancy?
- Is Orly Nail Polish safe during Pregnancy?
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate and amazon associate, I earn commission on the qualified purchases at no extra cost to you.
Is it Safe to use Nail Polish during Pregnancy?
Many regular nail polishes contain potentially toxic chemicals that pregnant or breastfeeding women should stay away from. However, no evidence rule out the nail polish as unsafe to use during pregnancy. Lately, there has been awareness about avoiding ‘Toxic-3’, – formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in nail polish. These three toxic chemicals are linked to causing a birth defect.
Unfortunately, nail polishes are labeled as toxin-free, and those in salons may contain high levels of toxic chemicals that may end up in your body when you apply them to your nails.
One research study conducted by a researcher at Duke University and EWG found that Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) was a urine sample of 26 women who recently painted their nails. TPHP is an endocrine-disrupting chemical commonly used as a fire retardant on foam-based furniture and used to make plastics. This study clearly indicated that if you wear nail polish with TPHP, it can end up in your body too. Well-known brands like Sally Hansen, Essie, OPI, Butter London, Wet N Wild, and Beauty without Cruelty contain TPHP as one of the ingredients, and it shouldn’t be used when pregnant or even when you are not.
So, it is important to find a nail polish free from toxic chemicals to use during pregnancy. The pregnancy-safe, non-toxic nail polishes are often labeled based on several toxic chemicals they are devoid of, ranging from ‘3-free’, ‘5-free’, ‘7-free’, ‘8-free’, and ’10-free’ and some brands are even ’15-free’ or ’16-free’.
Here is a table showing which chemicals these “x-free” nail polishes are lacking.
|Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde- Resin, Toluene, DBP, Camphor||Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde- Resin, Toluene, DBP, Camphor, Ethyl- Tosylamide, Xylene||Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde-Resin, Toluene, DBP, Camphor, Ethyl- Tosylamide, Xylene, Triphenyl, Phosphate (TPHP)||Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde- Resin, Toluene, DBP, Camphor, Ethyl- Tosylamide, Xylene, Parabens, Animal by-products, Fragrance||Formaldehyde, Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate, Formaldehyde Resin, Formaldehyde Donors, Camphor, Lead, MEHQ, Triphenyl Phosphate, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, Guanine, Carmine, Gluten, Methylisothiazolinone, Mineral Oil|
So, when choosing a pregnancy-safe nail polish or non-toxic nail polish, choose the ones with fewer chemicals and synthetic colorants.
In addition to choosing a non-toxic nail polish, it is equally essential to choose non-toxic nail polish removal. When applying or removing any nail polish during pregnancy, the most important thing to consider when applying or removing any nail polish is to work in a well-ventilated area. It will ensure that you are not exposing yourself to the solvent that evaporates when nail polish dries.
9 Best Pregnancy-Safe, Non-Toxic Nail Polishes
Just because you are pregnant, you don’t have to give up on everything you enjoy. You can still paint your nail, and get manicures and pedicures with one of these pregnancy-safe, non-toxic nail polishes. I just want to clarify one thing before moving on to the list: there is no such thing as truly non-toxic nail polish. I have tried to compile the list with the least toxic nail polishes that are 100% better than traditional nail polish.
1. Honeybee Gardens Nail Polish
While Honeybee Gardens does not subscribe to the x-free list, they are technically 16-free. In addition, Honeybee Gardens nail polish is water-based, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and free from formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), xylene, camphor, triphenyl phosphate, benzophenone-1, and FD&C colors, and animal ingredients.
This made-in-the-USA nail polish is the least toxic nail polish on this list. What I like the most about this nail polish because all the ingredients in this nail polish are naturally derived and do not even use FD&C colorant in their product.
Honeybee Gardens nail polish is fragrance-free and can be rubbed off easily with alcohol. This nail polish is perfect to use during pregnancy as it doesn’t last long on your nails. It chips of easily on your fingernails. If you are looking for something that doesn’t stain your enamel, this nail polish is for you.
2. 10+ Free Chemistry
10+ Free Chemistry is plant-based, vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic, and safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is made in the USA with sustainable ingredients and comes in an eco-package for those who care about reducing carbon footprints.
This nail polish is 16-free from Formaldehyde, Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate, Formaldehyde Resin, Formaldehyde Donors, Camphor, Lead, MEHQ, Triphenyl Phosphate, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, Guanine, Carmine, Gluten, Methylisothiazolinone, and Mineral Oil.
It is available in many sophisticated and fun colors. With 85% naturally derived ingredients, this nail polish is excellent for those who are highly sensitive to chemical exposure. The product also has raving reviews, and it does last long when you apply as directed with the basecoat (Prep with Peptides) and end with the topcoat (Prep in Your Step).
3. Dazzle Dry
Dazzle Dry nail polish is a hypoallergenic formula specifically designed to work without compromising the integrity of your natural nail.
This made in USA brand has eliminated 14 toxic chemicals from their products, including toluene, formaldehyde, TPHP, nitrocellulose, camphor, formaldehyde resin, ethyl tosylamide, phthalates, xylene, and MEK.
Because this nail polish is free from nitrocellulose, you won’t see the yellowing effect on your nail after use. Another great thing about the lack of cellulose in nail polish is that it never expires!
Dazzle Dry nail polishes are cruelty-free, vegan, and available in many sophisticated and fun colors.
4. SOPHi Non-Toxic Nail Polish
SOPHi nail polishes are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This made in the USA, SOPHi by Piggy Paint is a water-based formula available in 21 different colors.
SOPHi nail polish is odorless, non-flammable, and free from formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, BPA, and ethyl acetate. The advantage of using SOPHi nail polish is that it does not turn your nail yellow or brittle after use.
SOPHi also offers an acetone-free Nail Polish Stripper gel that stays in place on the nail for easy removal. Like any other nail polish, SOPHi does chip, but if you follow the directions and use the Primer + Shine system, it will last you longer.
5. Piggy Paint Nail Polish
Piggy paint is SOPHi’s parent company and well known for making child-safe nail polishes.If Piggy Paint nail polish is safe to use for kids, then it is definitely safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This nail polish is 7-free from formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde resin, bisphenol, ethyl acetate, acetone, camphor.
This made in the USA nail polish is vegan and cruelty-free, and because it is a water-based formula, it is odorless.
This nail polish comes with a raving review from the consumers. Unfortunately, like any other water-based formula, this nail polish also chips off. But to make it last longer, apply Piggy Paint topcoat and base coat. Also, blow dry on each layer to prevent it from chipping off easily.
Piggy paint also offers acetone-free nail remover that will work great for removing Piggy Paint nail polish or any other nail polish.
6. BONTIME Non-Toxic Nail Polish
BONTIME is a non-toxic peel-off nail polish, and this set of 6 makes it very convenient to update your existing nail polish collection for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
BONTIME nail polish is a water-based formula and 5-free from formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, plasticizer, and Paraben. This low odor formula is safe to use during pregnancy as well as for children. While this company avoids the use of most toxic chemicals, instead, you will find polyurethane resin in this nail polish. So, this nail polish may not be perfect, but still better than other options available in the market.
This mess-free formula is great to use for kids as well. Another good point of this nail polish is that you don’t need acetone nail polish remover or any other nail polish remover; you can simply peel it off !!
BONTIME odorless nail polish can last up to 5 days if you don’t get soaked in water.
7. Karma Organic Natural Nail Polish
Karma nail polish is 100% organic, cruelty-free, vegan, and available in 100 different colors. In addition, this made-in-the-USA nail polish is free from formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, TPHP and safe to use during pregnancy and for children.
This nail polish is free from most of the toxic chemicals but made with solvents and contains mica. So, be sure to use this nail polish in well-ventilated are to minimize your exposure to fumes of solvent during the drying process. Also, if you are sensitive to the odor of nail polish during pregnancy, this nail polish may not be for you. Solvent-based nail polishes tend to have a stronger scent than water-based nail polishes.
Karma nail polishes are never tested on animals and comes in eco-friendly packaging that is 100% recyclable.
8. Benecos Nail Polish
Benecos is another brand to consider for non-toxic nail polish. This vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free nail polish is 8-free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde-resin, toluene, DBP, camphor, ethyl- tosylamide, Xylene, TPHP. It is also free from paraben, GMOs, synthetics dyes, and fragrance.
Because it is free from most toxic chemicals, the brand has won many awards for natural beauty.
This eco-friendly nail polish is safe to use during pregnancy and for those with sensitive skin.
9. Côte Nail Polish
Cote is another pregnancy-safe, non-toxic nail polish brand to consider. This nail polish is made in the USA and free from formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, camphor, formaldehyde resin, and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP).
While it is free from most of the toxic chemicals, it does contain FD&C colorants. So, it may not be the cleanest nail polish, but still better than traditional nail polishes.
This nail polish is also vegan and cruelty-free. In addition, Cote nail polish is a chip-resistant formula and available in many neutral and fun colors.
Which Chemicals to Avoid in a Nail Polish?
When you are looking for a nail polish to use during pregnancy, you want to avoid the following chemicals.
Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant and nail hardening agent in nail polish. It is also listed as ‘Formalin’ or ‘methylene glycol’ as an ingredient in nail polish. Exposure to a low level of formaldehyde can irritate skin, nose, throat, and eyes. While FDA does not regulate the use of formaldehyde in cosmetics, nail polish is an exception. Because intake of formaldehyde is toxic, FDA imposed a limit on its use in nail polish. However, even with the imposed limit, nail polish carries formaldehyde concentration up to 0.5%, which is still a lot to get exposed to when pregnant.
Toluene is actually a paint thinner and used as a solvent to suspend nail color and smooth finish during application. The strong smell associated with nail polish is primarily due to toluene. Toluene exposure has been linked to numbness, dizziness, dry skin, irritation to the eye, nose, and throat. Some people can be more sensitive to toluene than others. Long-term exposure to toluene has been thought to cause birth defects or developmental issues in a baby.
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
DBP is a commonly used plasticizer to make the product more flexible. It is added to nail polishes to prevent nails from chipping or becoming brittle. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DBP can lead to low acute and chronic toxicity. Short-term exposure to it has been linked to nausea and irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat. It has also been linked to causing damage to the male reproductive system.
Formaldehyde Resin is used in nail polish to make nails shiny and for a longer-lasting effect. While it is not as toxic as formaldehyde, exposure to it may cause skin irritation or allergies.
Camphor is used as a plasticizer to prevent the nail from becoming brittle. Many nail polishes that are free from DBP may contain Camphor as a plasticizer.
While Camphor is not carcinogenic, acute or chronic exposure may cause nausea, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, irritation of skin, nose, eyes, and lungs.
Xylene is used as a solvent in nail polish to thin it out and ensure it doesn’t get lumpy. The strong smell of nail polish is also attributed to its xylene content. Xylene is a known toxicant to the respiratory system and nervous system. Xylene release when nail polish dry after application and exposure can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation. Xylene-free nail polishes are readily available.
Ethyl Tosylamide, also known as benzenesulfonamide, nethyl2methyl, is a plasticizer used in a nail polish to enhance film forming and help the drying process. Exposure to it can lead to skin and eye irritation. Its use in cosmetics has been banned by European Commission (still allowed in the USA) because of its antibiotic resistance properties.
Paraben is used as a preservative in water-based products. It keeps bacteria, fungi, and mold from growing into your nail polish. However, paraben has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer and breast cancer.
Pigments in nail polish are typically derived from plant, animal, and synthetic sources. Many nail polishes have FD&C or D&C dyes as a colorant. These dyes are carcinogenic and tested on animals. They are listed as Red 34, Violet 2, D&C Red 7 on a nail polish label. You want to stay away from nail polish with these dyes as the FDA does not use it in a product for the eye and lips. Instead, you want to look for a nail polish that uses plant-based colorant to be on the safer side. Or use Europe-based brands of nail polish as they have more stringent regulations for using chemicals in a cosmetic product.
Can you go to a Nail Salon When Pregnant?
Getting nail polished and feeling of fresh manicure can be stress revealing, especially when you are pregnant.
As long as you take few precautions, it is okay to go to a nail salon for manicure and pedicure when pregnant.
Ensure your salon is well ventilated, so you are not exposed to fume of solvent releasing during the drying process. You can also wear a mask to be extra careful while getting your nails done.
Also, ask your salon for non-toxic nail polish if they carry any or take your nail polish and let them do your nails. I would bring my own to be on the safer side or call them in advance and ask them if they carry a brand that you prefer.
It is also essential to ensure that nail salon properly sanitizes their equipment. You’re more prone to infections from poorly sanitized manicure and pedicure tools.
Is OPI shellac or Gel Nail polish safe during Pregnancy?
Gel nail polish is applied to the nail first and then cured under a UV lamp to instantly dry and harden the polish. Unfortunately, this exposure to ultraviolet light while curing your gel polish, known to cause aging and cellular damage, as well as increased risk of skin cancer. Also, if you have a planned c-section, you may need to remove your gel nail polish or OPI shellac, as many hospitals do not allow painted nails during major surgery.
Is it safe to get Acrylic Nails while Pregnant?
Acrylic nails are fake nails created by applying epoxy (chemical mixture) over your natural nails. There is no evidence suggesting the adverse effect of these chemicals on your unborn baby’s health if applied occasionally during pregnancy. However, chemicals used in making acrylic nails get absorbed into your bloodstream. Therefore, I would be highly cautious about getting it during the first trimester of pregnancy because it is when the baby’s organs are developing.
Another concern about getting acrylic nails while pregnant is exposure to the fumes during the application process. The fumes from acrylic nails are harmful and irritate your skin, eyes, nose, lungs, and allergic reactions. If you get acrylic nails frequently, you will expose yourself to a lot of fumes. And breathing a lot of fumes may increase the risk of miscarriage.
If you decide to get acrylic nails while pregnant, make sure that you wear a mask and get it done in a well-ventilated salon and avoid the product that contains methyl-methacrylate.
Can acrylic nails cause birth defects?
Occasionally getting acrylic nails during pregnancy may not affect your unborn baby. But if you are getting acrylic nails regularly, you need to be careful. You are breathing in lots of fumes, and it might be harmful to your baby. Just Like prolonged exposure to any toxic chemicals during pregnancy is harmful, frequent breathing in fumes may increase your chance of having a baby with a birth defect.
It is best to talk to your doctor before deciding to get acrylic nails during pregnancy, as they know your specific condition.
Is Soaking Nails in Acetone Safe during Pregnancy?
Acetone is a solvent in a nail polish remover. You get exposed to the fumes of acetone when you remove your nail polish. Although inhalation of small amounts of Acetone occasionally won’t affect your unborn child’s health, you still need to be careful.
The research studies on animals show that long-term exposure to acetone can damage the liver, kidneys, and nerves. In addition, birth defects and reproductive system problems have also been detected in males.
While occasional exposure to acetone won’t affect your baby, there are better alternatives like soy-based remover available in the market that better job at removing your nail polish without exposing you to toxic chemicals.
If you need to soak off the nail in acetone, make sure that you wear a mask and use the wrap to cover your skin, so acetone is just on your nail and not on your skin.
Is Ella and Mila Nail Polish safe during Pregnancy?
Ella and Mila Mommy nail polishes are 17-free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, TPHP, xylene, parabens, phthalates, glycol, nonylphenol ethoxylate, glute, camphor, acetone, ethyl tosylamide. While they are free of the most harmful chemicals, EWG rates Ella and Mila nail polishes as 6. This is mainly because they contain FD&C and D&C colorants. Those colorants are the cause of concern for endocrine disruption, allergies, cancer, developmental toxicity. Like any other nail polishes with these colorants, Ella and Mila’s nail polish use should be limited during pregnancy. Also, this nail polish is solvent-based, so make sure that you use it in a well-ventilated room to minimize the exposure to fumes of the solvents during the drying process.
Is Orly Nail Polish safe during Pregnancy?
The Orly nail polishes are 7-free from formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), camphor, TPHP, and xylene. This nail polish is free from potentially toxic chemicals but still contains FD&C and D&C colorants, which could be of concern for use during pregnancy. Occasional application of Orly nail polish during pregnancy in the well-ventilated room should be okay but frequent use during pregnancy should be avoided.
I hope this list of the 9 best pregnancy-safe, non-toxic nail polishes has helped you find a safer nail polish brand to replace your existing ones. Unfortunately, the non-toxic nail polish is usually water-based, and the foremost problem with water-based nail polish is that they chip off easily. But that compromise is worth making when you are growing life within you.
And regardless of what kind of nail polish you choose from this pregnancy-safe nail polish list, make sure you apply it in a well-ventilated room or wear a mask. And if you want to DIY nails for a salon look with fake nails, check out this post on non-toxic nail glue to apply fake nails during pregnancy.
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