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What does "Free" mean in nail polishes, and why is it so important?


There are novelties that we yearn for and wait, like devotees, for someone to invent them and put them on the market.



So what does "free" means?

Glad you asked! It simply means that the formula is made without some of the more common (and sometimes controversial) chemicals found in nail polishes in the past. There is a scale of "free" that goes from 3 free to usually 10 free, reaching 12 or more. The first three to be removed from the chemical composition of varnishes due to their toxicity were: DPB - dibutylfetalate, formaldehyde and toluene.


The reason?....

1- Toluene and ethyl tosylamide:

it has a high toxic potential, both environmental and for human health. In contact with the skin, toluene causes irritation and may cause dermatitis.

2- Formaldehyde (formaldehyde) and formaldehyde resin:

they cause irritation into the mucous membranes and the respiratory system, and can cause bronchitis, pneumonia or laryngitis. Produced on a large scale around the world and used by different industries as a preservative and disinfectant, it has been classified as a carcinogen by experts from the World Health Organization.

3- Dibutylphthalate (DBP):

provoca irritação ocular e alterações hormonais.


From here we move on to 4 free, 5 free, 6 free, and so on. They are:

4- Camphor:

it can produce vasodilatation in the tissues and cause redness. It should never be used in pregnant women, as it can cause serious defects in the fetus and lead to miscarriage, depending on the degree of exposure. It is quickly absorbed through the skin and can be extremely toxic if ingested.

5- Parabens:

may cause skin hypersensitivity, in addition to raised dermatitis, it is an endocrine disruptor

6- Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP):

it has a high allergic potential and can cause hormonal changes. It is known to cause developmental and reproductive problems in animals.

7- Xylene:

can cause irritation on eyes, skin and mucous membranes, dyspnoea, dermatitis and headache,

8- Lead

can cause metabolic changes, and is poisonous

9- Ethyl tosylamide,

banned from Europe, for its antibacterial properties and concern about antibiotic resistance.

10- animal-based ingredients





Fortunately, more and more, manufacturers of cosmetic products, nail polishes and similars, are betting on the research and development of chemical formulas free of these chemicals that are proven to be harmful to health in general, with product lines for nails that are more health-oriented, ecologically correct for consumers, and concerned about the planet, as well as seeking the use of clean energy in manufacturing, as well using environmentally friendly packaging.


But there is a huge difference between being be free of a chemical, and the new formulas that emerge with ingredients of organic origin. And that, that, leaves me with a smile from ear to ear. Not because I am against the more conventional products, but because it opens doors for those that suffer form allergies, and seeks an alternative, as well for those who believes and desires in a cleaner planet. There is room for both (as long as they respect the principles of sustainable production, environmentally friendly and not being harmful to animals or humans).


It is with a smile that I follow this journey towards a world where words like free from, vegan and cruelty free are finally starting to have a real meaning, that goes beyond the abuse of some brands that deliberately mislead us to promote their products, by misinformation (or even excess of it - that is all over the web). As for example, a brand being vegan does not mean that it is natural, as it can be have synthetic preservatives in their composition. Read the labels, look for certified brands, as it is up to us as consumers to stop these practices and encourage others to create better and cleaner products, free of harmful ingredients.

Love, SaL.







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