Little girls often want to be just like mommy!
For many kids, this means showing an interest in beauty products like makeup and nail polish.
Unfortunately, since most moms are familiar with the headache-inducing experience of breathing in fumes during a day at the nail salon, you may be a bit hesitant to celebrate this rite of passage with your little one, and you may want to look for safer alternatives for your children’s nail polish.
In this post, we’ll explore the ingredients that you should avoid and show you seven brands of children’s nail polish that you can feel safe around.
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Why Should You Choose Non-Toxic Nail Polish for Your Children?
Conventional nail polish contains many nail-biting toxins that should worry most parents. Every single time you put polish on your or your child’s nails, you ingest these chemicals. (And if you’re using nail glue, it’s even worse.) Worst of all, many of these toxins are cumulative, meaning that they can build up in the body over time. Yuck!
Of course, breathing in toxic fumes is not a good idea for you (no matter how old you are), but it can be even more harmful to children. That’s because young children are especially susceptible to the effects of harsh chemicals.
Luckily, picking a non-toxic nail polish is very easy and affordable, even when you’re new to buying clean products.
So if you still want to play around with all of the fun colors and finishes of nail polish with your daughter, non-toxic products are definitely the way to go to protect developing minds and bodies!
Toxins Found in Nail Polish
The list of common chemical ingredients in nail polish is lengthy. Fortunately, the nail industry is learning more about these chemicals, and more and more manufacturers are attempting to avoid them.
In fact, products without the harmful chemicals below are commonly called “7-free” nail polishes and are definitely a safe choice for families with little ones.
But why are these particular 7 ingredients so bad for you? Let’s take a quick look:
Exposure to moderate levels of formaldehyde, like that found in nail polish, can cause many issues. Research links it to asthma and cancer. Effects on the reproductive system are also possible.
DiButyl Phthalate (DBP)
DBP is a plasticizer that many brands use to make your nail polish harden. As useful as it may be when you’re painting your nails, it’s a known carcinogen that disrupts the endocrine system.
DBP is also on the California Proposition 65 list of possible teratogens (agents that could cause birth defects), so it’s unsafe for pregnancy.
Toluene can affect the central nervous system and neurodevelopment. Like formaldehyde and DBP, toluene is also a known carcinogen. Researchers also link toluene to reproductive harm, developmental problems, and even birth defects.
Synthetic camphor, the kind used in most nail polishes, is very toxic and can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, and confusion. Studies have also shown a link between camphor and the disruption of proper kidney function.
Not only is it bad for your health, but it’s actually bad for your nails too. Camphor deprives your nails of the proper nutrition and causes yellowing.
Like formaldehyde, the EWG considers formaldehyde resin toxic. It’s classified as both a skin irritant as well as an immune system inhibitor.
The EU restricted Ethyl Tosylamide in cosmetics, but many American nail polish products still use it. Though eye or skin irritation is your greatest risk when you come in contact with Ethyl Tosylamide, research also links it to endocrine dysfunction, hormone disruption, and allergic reactions.
Xylene is a petroleum-based compound common in paint thinners and nail polish.
Exposure to this ingredient can cause dizziness and headaches, and it can contribute to respiratory, kidney, and gastrointestinal issues.
Additionally, inhaling xylene’s fumes is very irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
The Best Non-Toxic Children’s Nail Polish
So what are the best children’s nail polish brands? Brands that are really committed to their users’ safety…?
Below, we’ll cover our 7 top picks for kids that are “7-free”!
Piggy Paint was founded by a mom of two little girls who always loved to paint their nails. After realizing what was in her children’s nail polish, she decided to create something new and safer.
Now Piggy Paint is one of the most popular children’s nail polishes. Kids love the bright colors, silly names, and bonus accessories like nail stickers. Scented options are also available, and Piggy Paint uses a water-based formula that is cruelty-free.
Pros: Great selection of colors, good value, some sets come with bonus nail accessories.
Cons: Some reviewers say that this polish doesn’t last very long, chips easily, and requires a top coat for longer wear.
This adorable brand comes in the most delicious shades sure to please both mom and daughter!
Ella + Mila also offers families an adorable Mommy and Me collection, as well as a full line of nail care products and cosmetics. The quick-drying formula is long-lasting and chip-resistant, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free.
Pros: Dries quickly, lasts a long time, doesn’t chip easily, and offers over 100 colors to choose from.
Cons: Some of their polishes are a little pricey.
While not designed especially for kids, moms and girls will both enjoy this non-toxic nail polish brand for all of its beautiful colors.
Karma Organic’s nail polishes are 100% organic and made in the USA. Their nail-strengthening plant-based formula includes calcium and coffee extract to nourish your nails and prevent peeling.
Pros: Comes in 100% recyclable packaging, cruelty-free, vegan and organic. Dries quickly.
Cons: Not odorless. Chips easily.
Prim and Pure formulates their children’s nail polish from fruits and vegetables, which makes them gentle enough for kids of all ages.
The polish is intended to peel off easily, making it great for the kid who constantly changes her mind! Parents love this brand for younger children who aren’t quite ready for traditional nail polish.
Pros: Washable, odorless and fast-drying. Free of 15 common toxins, vegan and cruelty-free.
Cons: Not as long-lasting as other brands; washes off with water.
Suncoat Girl’s fun colors are odorless, non-toxic, and durable… and they conveniently peel-off!
This polish is water-based and comes in a large selection of colors with cute names that kids will love.
Suncoat Girl’s sets come with glittery and solid colors as well as accessories like nail files and stickers. The brand also offers hair care and makeup.
Pros: Peels off easily, great value, award-winning, toxicologist-tested, superior quality, comes in many colors.
Cons: Streaky, chips easily, doesn’t last long.
Kid Licks is another family-owned company that was developed by parents who were seeking a safer alternative for their kids.
Fruits and vegetables are key ingredients in these polishes. That means they’re perfect for kids who bite their nails or suck their thumbs.
They come in a variety of bold colors that kids will love too!
Kid Licks polishes are meant to wash off with soap and water, meaning no nail polish remover is needed.
Pros: 100% edible and biodegradable, organic, easy to remove.
Cons: Lasts just a few days, washes off with soap and water.
The owners of Keeki developed this children’s nail polish in a farm kitchen! The brand also has a line of accessories such as topcoat and nail polish remover.
Keeki polishes come in a variety of colors and are gluten-free, soy-free, organic, natural, and water-based.
Pros: Long-lasting, dries quickly, and has a slight shine. 100% biodegradable and cruelty-free.
Cons: Can be difficult to remove.
I was excited when my own daughters started getting interested in nail polish, and you can be excited too! Just be sure you stay safe and stick to a product that is at least “7-free.”
In order to ensure you are getting the best possible product, be sure to check the EWG’s Skin Deep database before any cosmetic product purchase. Or for a safe bet, go ahead and click “add to cart” on any of the brands above so you can get right to creating those special mother/daughter moments!