In 2012, I was in Vegas for my best friend’s 21st birthday. I was hanging out in the pool with my bff, her mother, and her mother’s friend who was pregnant at the time. The pregnant friend was wearing a sheer, iridescent polish and someone, either my bff or her mom noticed and said, “are you wearing nail polish? I thought you weren’t supposed to if you were pregnant.”

Left to Right: Me, Alyssa (birthday girl), Ashley, and Amanda after birthday dinner.
Me, Alyssa (birthday girl), Ashley, and Amanda after the birthday dinner. Woo, Vegas!

This was the first I had heard of that. But seriously, what was in polish that was so bad for a growing fetus? (And um, holy crap, I won’t be able to wear polish for 9 months if I want a kid?! Nooooo!). My interest in wanting to know the answer waned until last year when I first got into indie polishes. I kept seeing 3-Free and 5-Free all over Instagram, Etsy, and other websites. (I was in Vegas with my closest friends celebrating a 21st birthday, can you blame me it took me a little while to do some research?).

So, without further ado, here’s the deal:
3-Free polishes lack: Dibutyl Phthalate, Touene, and Formaldehyde
5-Free polishes lack: Dibutyl Phthalate, Touene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor

What are these chemicals and what do they do? Let’s break it down:

  1. Dibutyl Phthalate – a chemical banned in the European Union, is a suspected cause of abnormalities in physiological development, as well as a suspected endocrine disruptor
  2. Touene – can cause nausea, sleepiness, unconsciousness and even death if inhaled; is potentially carcinogenic
  3. Formaldehyde – although a natural occurring compound, it is a known carcinogen
  4. Formaldehyde Resin – a synthetic chemical with formaldehyde as the base, can cause allergic reactions
  5. Camphor – can occur naturally or be derived from turpentine; can cause lethargy, vomiting, abdominal cramps, seizures and is lethal in large dosages

For as awesome and protective as our biggest organ is, it is permeable. Thank goodness nail polish has progressed to exclude these chemicals in their formulas and allow us to be free!

(Thanks to Wikipedia for making sure I have all the facts).


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