Many nail polish brands are starting to label their product as 5 Free, 7 Free, 9 Free, or even 10 Free, but what does that mean? While those monikers are becoming more commonplace, the reasons behind them are not as clear. Generally being ‘X’ free means being free of ‘X’ of the most harmful toxins commonly found in nail polish.
How much do these chemicals affect you? All of these chemicals help make your manicure last longer but are absorbed through your nail bed. You also inhale the fumes while you’re painting your nails. While the research is still developing regarding these chemicals and your health, there is an equally growing number of brands that are eliminating these chemicals from their product.
Here’s what being 5/7/9/10 Free really means:
The “Toxic Trio”
Most nail polishes are free of the “toxic trio” which are Dibutyl phthalate, Formaldehyde, and Toluene. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) appears to interfere with the human endocrine (hormone) system. Toluene can result in headaches, dizziness and cracked skin, as well as more serious conditions such as reproductive damage, respiratory complications, and nervous system damage. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can also cause allergic reactions, skin rashes, and irritations.
When used together, these three ingredients assist in reducing cracks and improving flexibility of nail polish. It makes sense that manufacturers would use them to improve the quality of their products before they understood their side effects. Research began to show that prolonged exposure to these chemicals could have serious health risks. The “toxic trio” was banned from nail salons in some cities, and most manufacturers have removed the “toxic trio” from their polishes.
Soon nail products became 5 Free, removing the “Toxic Trio” as well as formaldehyde resin and camphor. Formaldehyde resin is derived from formaldehyde and is a suspected environmental and human toxicant. Camphor can build to toxic levels in the body and can potentially cause seizures.
Then came 7 Free, which can mean that a polish is 5 Free and free of both ethyl tosylamide and xylene. Ethyl tosylamide helps transform polish from wet to dry in minutes. The ingredient has already been banned from personal care products in Europe due to concern over antibiotic resistance. Xylene is irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. It can cause systemic toxicity by ingestion or inhalation. Xylene is a known allergen and possible carcinogen, according to research from the International Agency on Research for Cancer Scientific Publications Series.
8 Free? 9 Free? 10 Free?
Since the 5/7/9/10 Free designations are not regulated, some of these claims will vary. 9 Free polishes are free of all the above ingredients and usually free of parabens and/or lead. 10 Free polishes are usually cruelty free or vegan, meaning they do not test on animals and/or have no ingredients derived from animals. Some brands will call themselves 10 Free if they remove fragrances instead of animal products. If a product is designated 7 free, you can be sure they are free of seven of the major toxins or may be cruelty free or vegan, although to know which seven you would need to ask the manufacturer. Not all manufacturers practice transparency around their ‘free’ claims.
Revel Nail’s commitment to non-toxic dip powder:
You will never find ANY of these chemicals in the dip powder you buy from Revel Nail. We are both cruelty free and vegan. Revel Nail believes that our dip powder is the no-compromise solution to a healthy, durable, long lasting manicure. We make our dip powders in-house so that we can control what does – and doesn’t – go into our products. We are committed to leading the safe beauty industry, bringing our customers healthier options that you can feel good about, while maintaining a manicure that lasts weeks longer than traditional polish.