I am of two opinions when it comes to painting my nails–While I desperately love to witness an interesting color on my toes, peeking out from under the sheets in the morning, I hate seeing any color whatsoever on my hands….I’m sure this is mostly due to the fact that I work with my hands, and cannot abide the haggard appearance of chipped nail polish. The last thing I have time for is touching up my nails all day. I’d sooner wear gloves to cover up the offending fingers.
That said, I’ve had a devil of a time finding good eco-nail polish in the last few years, so my toe polish collection has been somewhat limited to a vampy red Chanel polish, and some cheap silver polish I found at the drugstore to match my uber groovy Barbarellaesque silver summer sandals.
A couple years ago I was excited about a nail polish line called Honeybee, a water based pigment brand without all the nasty chemicals. One night I smugly painted my toes in a beautiful watermelon red and headed to a party, where I awaited compliments. The first thing I heard was, “Oh my God! What happened to your feet?”
Oops. It was a warm evening, I suppose, and perhaps the temperature of my feet was particularly high (though my feet rarely sweat); when I looked down, I saw that my toes appeared to be bleeding profusely. The water-based nail polish was not intended for swarthy atmospheres, apparently, and had melted and spread across my feet like an ice-cream cone on a hot cement sidewalk. Gross. So, rather than move to Alaska, where my new fangled eco-polish might fare better, I simply stopped wearing it. Gradually, my feet grew bored, and I sought solace in toxic polish. I mean, what’s a little chemical waste between toes, right? Who says formaldahyde is just for dead people?
My toxic toe days are over, now. Peacekeepers has a beautiful collection of non toxic nail polishes, now available at Whole Foods, and the bonus? The color stays put! I’ve written about this company before; they donate ALL their profits (post tax) to women’s organizations around the world. I’m a huge fan of their “lip paints” (lipsticks), which are completely green, moisture rich and gorgeous, with names like “Paint Me Compassionate”, “Paint Me Wise”, “Paint Me Empowered” (one of my favorites–a 1920’s dark wine red). Peacekeepers nail polishes are toulene-free, formaldahyde-free, and phthalates-free.
This is HUGE… believe it or not, your body absorbs every toxin you put on it–the CDC (Center for Disease Control) did a study in 2000, testing women for toxins commonly found in cosmetics. What they found should alarm you: Every toxin used in mainstream makeup was found in some level in all the women. Highest, though, and particularly in women of childbearing age, were the toxins used specifically in mainstream nail polish. The chemicals are known agents of birth defects, and women who are pregnant or nursing or considering becoming pregnant were urged not to use any products containing these ingredients.
I’m surprised that 8 years has passed since that study, and yet there are only 4 or 5 non toxic nail polish products on the open market (and two of them are only available online). It’s shameful and upsetting, and we must do better.
Enough of my rant- let’s talk toes! I have an eco-makeup kit full of some beautiful new sparkly and matte mineral pigment powders by Larenim. I bought the Bottom/Top Clear Coat by Peacekeepers, and have found painterly passion in mixing my OWN shades!! Want your toes to sparkle? Sprinkle a little mineral sparkle onto a sheet of paper, dip your brush, swipe it on!! Want to paint your nails black for the evening, but can’t find an eco-black nail polish? Make your own!! And rather than dump black pigment into the little bottle and shaking (although, if you always wear black, that’s not a bad idea), sprinkle the pigment onto paper, and dip your brush in, or drizzle a bit of the clear coat onto the paper and mix (this is great if you paint quickly). The reason I love this technique is that I am not bound by the bottle. I have ONE bottle of nailpolish instead of an army of them, and I can make whatever color I like by mixing my mineral pigments. A note: wipe your brush off before re-inserting it into the bottle if you want it to stay utterly clear.
Now that you know, you can set your nails free. Free from poison, free from delusion. Seek out a better solution or just go naked!