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How to Choose the Right Tox-Free Nail Polish for You

Eco-friendly choices don’t have to mean compromising on beauty. If you are an eco-warrior looking for a way to reduce your environmental impact while still enjoying a mani-pedi, then you’ve probably heard of 3-, 5-, 7-, and 10-free nail polishes. But what does it all mean? Let’s dive in and find out. 

 Green Coloured Low-Tox Nail Polish painted on nails with hand in view

3 Free Nail Polish

The “3 Free” label refers to three known toxins in regular nail polish—formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and toluene—that have been removed from the formula. These chemicals chemicals are the most harmful (and toxic) ingredients found in most nail polishes as they can cause skin irritation and breathing problems if absorbed into your skin. While 3 Free nail polishes are still not considered completely safe or natural due to other potentially harmful compounds present in the formula, they are still much less toxic than traditional polishes containing all three of these chemicals.

Low-tox nail polish 3 Free5 Free Nail Polishes

This type of nail polish typically contains no formaldehyde resin or camphor in addition to the three chemicals already excluded from 3 Free formulations. Formaldehyde resin is used as a hardener in some formulas and can cause skin irritation. Camphor is another common ingredient found in certain polishes that can also be irritating to sensitive skin types. By removing these two additional components from its formula, 5 Free nail polishes are even safer than their 3 Free counterparts.

Low Tox Nail Polish 5 Free

7 Free Nail Polishes

7 Free formulations take things one step further by including no ethyl tosylamide or xylene in addition to the five components already excluded from 5 Free formulas. Ethyl tosylamide is a plasticizer used as a softening agent while xylene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that can be hazardous when inhaled over long periods of time. By eliminating both of these chemicals from their formula, 7 Free polishes are considered among some of the safest on the market today with only trace amounts of other potentially harmful ingredients found in them.

 Tox-Free Nail Polish 7 Free10 Free Nail Polishes

10 free polishes go beyond those containing seven chemicals by also excluding parabens and benzophenone-1 (BP-1). Parabens has been shown by some studies to be an endocrine disruptor which means it could interfere with hormones in our bodies while BP-1 has been found to also be hazardous when exposed over long periods of time. 10 free polishes are therefore considered among the safest on the market today as they contain only trace amounts of other potentially hazardous ingredients such as solvents and pigments used for colouring purposes. 

Tox-Free Nail Polish 10-Free

When choosing a new nail polish, always consider both safety and performance factors before making your selection. Different labels such as 3Free, 5Free, 7Free, and 10Free refer to specific combinations of chemical components that have been removed from each formulation making them increasingly safer but not necessarily more effective at delivering beautiful results with every application. The right choice for you will depend on your individual needs so make sure you read labels carefully before purchasing any product!

Hanami Low Tox 10 Free Nail polish various colours with citrus

Why did we choose Hanami as our Tox-Free nail polish of choice?

We love Hanami cosmetics as a 10 Free Australian Made and Owned Nail Polish (that's why we stock them!) but there are many different Australian brands who are also opting for more toxin-free formulas of varying levels. So if you haven't yet jumped on the eco nail polish band wagon we recommend you take a closer look at the ingredient list so that you know exactly what you are putting on your body!