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water-based nail polishes

Water-based Nail Polishes

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Quite a few people have approached me with concerns about nail polishes and how safe they are to use on children. They seem to think that they may be “too chemical”, and that water-based nail polishes would be a better option.

First, nail polish doesn’t absorb through the nail plate and won’t get into your bloodstream. Those are just “Myths turned into Tricks”, as I’ll explain below. Secondly, water-based nail polish is not safer than other types of nail polishes. All nail polishes can be safe to use. The solvent “water” is used to replace other solvents. Also, the thickeners and other ingredients must be water-soluble. But water-based nail polishes can only claim to be “water-based” if at least 51% of the solvents they contain are water. Nothing is wrong with this unless the marketing of these products wrongfully claims that other nail polish solvents are “harmful” to consumers.

There is little reason to believe that any nail polish solvents are harmful, especially given these nail polish formulas have been in use for about 80 years. If you look at records, nail polish has a very long history of safe use. If one wants, they can make anything sound scary. And any trickster can come up with clever ways to manipulate the truth. I’ll give you an example. If I wanted to scare you away from water-based nail polishes, I could have answered by stating emphatically, “What? Don’t you know that water has killed millions of people, more than all the other solvents in nail polish combined?” Or, “Are you crazy, didn’t you know that water is a powerful chemical solvent that’s been linked to many deaths and unimaginable levels of human suffering?” or, “Don’t you know that water-based nail polishes must contain preservatives?”

Each of these examples is a true statement, so what? This doesn’t mean water isn’t safe when used in nail polish. Of course, water is a powerful solvent; we do not call it the Universal Solvent for nothing! It dissolves more things than any other solvent. Unless specially packaged and sealed in air-tight containers, any water-based cosmetics need some sort of preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. Preservatives help ensure that such products are safe for use. So, it’s not a negative at all that water-based polishes must contain a preservative, but non-water-based nail polishes are self-disinfecting which is an advantage. 

I could say, “Do you want a nail polish that can grow bacteria?” Or “Do you want one that doesn’t contain that potentially deadly chemical water AND it contains no preservatives, unlike those water-based nail polishes?”.  See how easily someone can manipulate the truth? Watch for this clever marketing trick from the dark side and don’t be fooled. All nail polish is safe if you use it properly, according to the manufacturer’s directions, and you heed all warnings. I hope you have many days of happy polishing!

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