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8 Not So Good Ingredients That Might Be In Your Nail Polish, According To tenoverten

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quick advice

Skip anything with formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, or toluene in it.

Is a natural manicure a thing? What’s good and safe? Our Tribeca neighbors and spring pop-up partners tenoverten gave us the scoop.

By the tenoverten team

While of course we love a shiny new manicure, we really care that what’s underneath is strong and healthy. To that end, we’re committed to making products that are as non-toxic as possible without sacrificing performance and quality. Just as we don’t offer acrylic or gel services at our salons, we want our customers to feel confident that the nail products they use at home are as safe as possible.

As of now, there is no such thing as an all natural when using nail polish. Any such claims are falsely made. Don’t lose hope though: tenoverten is at the forefront of stripping out as many toxins as possible from our nail polish. We hope that this serves as a guide to educate you in making the safest and least toxic choices in the nail polish/care category.

You might be familiar with 3-Free polishes (no formaldehyde, no dibutyl phthalate and no toluene), but tenoverten promises that all our products are 8-free, meaning they are also free of the following five lesser known ingredients linked to toxicity:

FORMALDEHYDE RESIN – Although formaldehyde resin hasn’t been linked to cancer like regular formaldehyde, it’s a skin allergen known to cause dermatitis. Forms a shiny, durable film on nails and helps maintain a high gloss finish throughout the wear period.

CAMPHOR – A scented substance derived from the wood of the camphor tree. While natural, in large doses can cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches when inhaled, making it a concern for nail technicians. Acts as a cover on nails, depriving them of nutrients and causing yellow staining.

ETHYL TOSYLAMIDE – Barred from personal care products in Europe due to its antibiotic properties and concern over antibiotic resistance. A highly viscous, amber liquid used primarily as a plasticizer and film former.

XYLENE - A known allergen and possible carcinogen, according to research from the International Agency on Research For Cancer Scientific Publications Series. A solvent that keeps nail polish from getting gloppy.

TPHP - Research suggests that it causes changes in hormone regulation, metabolism, and reproductive systems. Similar to DBP, TPHP acts as a plasticizer, making polish flexible but durable.

We hope this information helps you in your pursuit of a safer (but no less beautiful) manicure!


Adair, Jaclyn and Nadineco-founders, tenoverten

tenoverten is a nail salon featuring a gorgeous environment, cleaner ingredients, and a better experience for clients and employees. There are four New York locations, an Austin shop, and soon-to-be LA outpost. Visit for more.

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