It has to be said that every gal likes to do her nails once in a while. I am no exception. With a mother as devoted to her weekly DIY manicure as Prince is to glitter, I was taught the perfect brush stroke long before I could boil a potato, and I in turn pride myself on my nail painting prowess.
But take one look at most nail varnish ingredients and it’s hard not to run for the hills. An extension of our skin, our precious talons are fully porous and readily absorb what’s put on them. And while most of us would likely balk at the thought of smearing formaldehyde over our faces, we slap it onto our nails as if they’re part of something else. When I first cottoned on to this I gave nail varnish up completely. But most toes are a whole lot prettier with some colourful help and again mine are no exception.
Thankfully there are a number of lovely innovative non-toxic nail lacquer brands that provide super fun colours without the most harmful chemicals, so we can paint ourselves pretty with a healthier concoction and save our livers more detoxifying stress. The three main chemicals to look out for are toluene, formaldehyde and DBP (dibutyl phtalate). Toluene is a carcinogenic preservative that makes the polish dry faster and is toxic to the liver and kidneys, while wider-known formaldehyde, which stops it from chipping, is highly carcinogenic and has been associated with immune problems. Not what we want for a pretty manicure… Finally, DBP – which also occurs in plastics, pesticides, paints and other things you probably wouldn’t want all over your body, is a highly toxic binder used to prolong the polish. Phtalates are used in many beauty creams and products and have been shown to cause serious damage to the hormonal system as well as the liver and kidneys. There is plenty of research online if you want to delve a little deeper.
All of this makes my favourite nail polish brand Butter London all the more brilliant. A favourite of Erdem, Preen, Altuzarra and the first to create non-toxic concoctions, it is fully “3Free” – using none of the chemicals named above – but doesn’t scarifice on colour or creativity for all its gentle credentials. And from my hometown, hip hip hooray.
My top shade is Snog – a feisty fuchsia to liven the greyest of winter days. And with names like Queen Vic, Trout Pout and Come to Bed, the sassy Butter world is yours for the taking.
Read more and shop their collection at Butterlondon.com