Kester Black is a proudly Australian made and owned brand and is committed to supporting local business. They use sustainable production methods including recyclable materials and small batch manufacturing to minimise wastage. Kester Black products contain only the highest quality ingredients and all have CCF (Choose Cruelty Free), and Vegan Society accreditation.
Choosing 5 Free nail polishes like those of Kester Black’s range is a step in the right direction and helps to avoid a plethora of problems that can result from selecting products containing dangerous chemicals. Kester Black's products are all Five Free, meaning they are free from Toluene, DBP, Camphor, Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Resin. All products are Australian made, cruelty free and vegan.
A comprehensive article by Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar outlines some of the important things to take into account when you are purchasing nail polish.
Firstly, Sarah emphasises the importance of “knowing your nasties”
“Maria Hannaford at Econest works for an environmental organisation researching the impact our food system has on the environment and our health. She says most brands promoting themselves as “safe” these days will list themselves as “3-free”. This means they’re free of the top three nasty ingredients listed below. She explains:
Formaldehyde. It’s the stuff they use to preserve dead things. I should know, I worked in a lab for many years and let me tell you, there is a strict protocol around avoiding getting it on your skin or breathing in its fumes! It’s a known human carcinogen and can cause ear, nose, throat and skin irritations.
Dibutyl Phthalate. It’s the most controversial of these ingredients; it’s a known reproductive and developmental toxin, and is linked to hormonal and long-term fertility problems in newborn males. It’s banned in the EU. [But is apparently safe enough for Australians? – Sarah]
Toluene. A possible reproductive and developmental toxin that causes headaches, dizziness and fatigue. It can cause liver, kidney and brain damage, as well as damage to a developing foetus.
Sarah warns us to “beware of polish removers"
Of course, these liquids are not typically full of safe, nourishing ingredients.
“Narelle Chenery is a scientist and creative director of Miessence. She says nail polish removers are just as bad as the polishes. They’re usually full of acetone, fragrances, methyl ethyl ketone, phthalates and toluene. Most of these cause significant damage to the human body, she says.
Maria adds: As far as nail polish removers go, all conventional types should be avoided due to the harsh ingredients, but also the potent fumes.”
Thankfully, the solution to this can be as simple as using hot water to soak your fingers and carefully peel or scrape the nail polish off. Water based nail polish is a lot easier to remove than regular nail polish.
Sarah Wilson stresses the importance of avoiding nail bars
“The experts all agree: Don’t enter a nail salon. Just don’t. If you do go, at the very least make sure you sit next to an open window.
Sabrina Jacquier Parr says: Linda McSweeny, Journalist for the Medical Observer, describes visiting a nail salon as ‘chemical warfare’ and it does not take a science degree to know she is right. Nail salons reek of toxic chemicals because they are just that, toxic!” You can read more here. Chemicals (like those listed above) and other volatile organic compounds are used at such high levels that they can often cause headaches, irritations and breathing problems. Plus there are links to far longer reaching health issues such as cancer and reproductive issues.”
If you must use nail bars, try to locate places that use 3 or 5-free nail products.
Additionally, Sarah warns that if you’re pregnant, naked nails are safest
“Sabrina Jacquier Parr says: Pregnant woman should think twice before getting their nails done in a nail salon; at least one study has also shown that pregnant women who work or regularly visit nail salons may be putting their fetus’ brain development at risk due to the chemical solvents used.
Nicole Bijlsma is an accomplished naturopath, acupuncturist and building biologist. She adds: Pregnant women, asthmatics and children should all avoid nail polish and removers. Pregnant women – or more importantly the developing foetus – is uniquely susceptible to the hormone disrupting chemicals typically found in nail salons as they go through critical windows of development. This enhances their susceptibility to learning and behaviour disorders, reproductive problems later in life, and breast and testicular cancers. Remember with hormone disrupting chemicals the lower the level of exposure the better. For this reason, nail polish should be avoided in babies and children.”
Ultimately, nail polish is in a world of products wrought with issues of ingredient toxicity. Those beautiful fingers of yours are often near your face and therefore your mouth, as well as potentially holding your children. Stick to 5-free for maximum safety!