We have tested 26 nail polishes for chemicals that can be problematic for your health and for the environment.
We tested nail polishes from the brands Benecos, Chanel, CND, Depend, Dior, Ecooking, Essense, Essie, Gosh, Herôme, Idun Minerals, Isadora, Kure Bazaar, Manucurist Paris, Mavala, Max Factor, Maybelline, Nailberry, Nailkind, Opi, Rimmel, Rituals, Sephora, Tromborg, W7 and Zarko Beauty by Oli.
Suspected endocrine disrupters in every third nail polish
10 of 26 tested nail polishes receive our lowest rating, C-rating, because they contain suspected endocrine disrupters.
The substances are triphenyl phosphate, methylparaben and the UV-filters benzophenone-1 and octocrylene.
You cannot necessarily look for a specific brand if you want to avoid unwanted chemicals.
From data collected in our app Kemiluppen, it is clear that the same brand can have nail polishes that receive the best rating, the A-rating, and nail polishes that receive the lowest chemical rating, the C-rating.
This allergenic preservative was found in two nail polishes
In the test, two nail polishes contain the allergenic preservative colophonium.
Colophonium is a solid form of resin, which can cause allergies when in contact with the skin.
Your nail polish is not problematic in itself
You do not need to worry if your nail polish contains unwanted chemicals. It is not one nail polish or one substance in itself, which is damaging for your health.
However, you are exposed to many unwanted chemicals from many sources during everyday life and this can be problematic for your health in the end. This is known as the cocktail effect. Therefore, it is a good idea to limit your everyday exposure to unwanted chemicals.
Does your skin become irritated when you paint your nails? Then you might be having an allergic reaction. Stop using this particular nail polish and contact your doctor to find out what you are allergic to.
Three tips for using nail polish
- Scan your nail polish for unwanted chemicals with our free app Kemiluppen (Products on the Danish market only).
- Air out when painting your nails – even if your nail polish is without unwanted chemicals.
- Avoid getting nail polish on the skin. This way, you limit your exposure to the chemicals.
How we tested
The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals purchased a selection of nail polishes from Danish stores, reviewed the lists of ingredients and sent the lists to the companies behind the products.
This is done to make sure the lists are correct and that the products are still on the market.
We reviewed the lists for unwanted chemicals such as suspected endocrine disrupters, allergenic preservatives etc.
We tested 26 nail polishes for unwanted chemicals.
Out of 26 nail polishes:
- Fourteen are without unwanted chemicals and receive the best rating, A.
- Two nail polishes contain a substance that can be problematic for the environment. They get the medium rating, B.
- Ten nail polishes contain suspected endocrine disrupters. Further, some of the products contain an allergenic preservative. They all receive the lowest rating, the C-rating.
Suspected endocrine disrupters
In the test, we found these suspected endocrine disrupters:
- Benzophenone-1, a UV-filter that we found in eight of the tested nail polishes.
- Octocrylene, a UV-filter that we found in one of the tested nail polishes.
- Triphenyl phosphate, which we found in two of the tested nail polishes.
- Methylparaben, a preservative that we found in two of the tested nail polishes.
In the test, we found colophonium in two nail polishes. Colophonium is a solid form of resin and an allergenic preservative.
Environmentally damaging chemicals
The substance zinc sulfate was found in four of the tested nail polishes. Zinc sulfate can be problematic for the environment.