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Nail Paints - The Big 3

Nail paints really figure low on my list of make-up priorities. I rarely pay much attention to them and would pick them depending on the colors I liked. Until I started to read the "Green Beauty Bible". The book says that nails paints are the most toxic things on our dressing tables. A concoction of chemicals that are rarely revealed, nail paints could be damaging your nails, and worse be a potential health risk.

The 3 main culprits in nail paints are the Big 3 - dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, and toluene. They've been linked to problems ranging from skin irritation in people to birth defects in animals. Nail polish that contains these 3 is considered a hazardous waste by some regulatory bodies (e.g. Los Angeles Department of Public Works).
  • DBP is a plasticiser to prevent chips and cracks in nail paints. This helps the paint last longer.
  • A resin, tosylamide/formaldehyde resin, makes the polish tough and resilient.
  • Toluene (methylbenzene, toluol, phenylmethane) is a solvent that makes the polish easy to apply
There are now in the market nail paints that are formulated without these Big 3. The one I know that is available in Mumbai is Jordana.

But there are certain disadvantages to using these Big 3 free paints

1. First of all, they are not as "glassy" as the normal paints. Not to say they are matt, but they aren't glassy enough too.
2. Tend to peel off. The staying power is good, but not as good as regular nail paints. These in a funny way tend to peel off the nail after 3-4 days. That is good in a funny way as I can take these off without nail polish remover :-P
3. They are a little expensive, Jordana costs some 150 bucks for 15 ml bottle.

But there are advantages too, besides being the big 3 free, I have noticed considerably less yellowing & staining of my nails when I use these. I have been using these for around 6 months now, and my nails also seem to have become slightly stronger. I have very weak nails that break very easily, but they seem to getting better now.

Do you know of any Big 3 free nail paint brands?


  1. This post had come at the apt time for me !!! I am loving nail paints these days and intend to buy a couple of new ones....I had absolutely no idea abt this Big3!!! So does this mean all the other brand nail paints like lakme, maybelline, colorbar etc have these 3 ingredients?? I've not seen the ingredients mentioned on nail paints so how do we find out if they contain this Big3 or no?


  2. nice nail paint...but not for me as i don't use any nail paint.

  3. @HD: The tradional formala of nail paint has all 3 products. I can't say if Lakme, Maybelline or Colorbar have these or not. And frankly there is no way to figure this out as the ingridient list is not available even on their sites.

    The Jordana bottle clearly states on its bottle behind that it has been formulated without Toluene, Formaldehye & DBP, which is why I tend to pick these up, unless there is some shade I just, just need from the other brands.

  4. inglot polish is devoid of all such chemicals :)

  5. Oh...I knew something was wrong with some nail colours..I tend to get yellow nails with them. I do not mind it one bit - the disadvantages. And no wonder some of the nail colours are more expensive than others..always used to wonder why some are more pricey!

  6. Thanks Tanveer....I will checkout Jordana henceforth and also let you know if I find any nailpaint free from these Big3


  7. I don't know about what is available there in Mumbai, but Maybelline and most american brands are big 3 free.

  8. sorry a bit too late in replying, the lotus herbals nailpaints are big 3 free


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