Ingredients To Avoid – Nail Polish

Guest Blog: Palate Polish

Hello! My name is Ainsley Fox and I am the owner of Palate Polish, health-conscious nail polish and limited beauty line inspired by food.

We just celebrated our 6th birthday! Six years ago when I was lacking to find a healthier version of nail polish, I decided why not make it?! At the time I ran a food blog and knew that I wanted culinary names for all of my products. Since then, I’m happy to see more and more beauty brands becoming aware of the ingredients they add (or omit) to their products.

Ainsley from Palate polish - a safer nail polish brand, free from toxic ingredients.
Ainsley from Palate polish – a safer nail polish brand, free from toxic ingredients.

We exclude the 10 toxic chemicals that are typically found in nail polishes: Toluene, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP), Xylene, Ethyl Tosylamide, Methylisothiazolinone (MIT), and Parabens.

…and what do toxic ingredients in nail polish do?

Toluene affects the central nervous system and can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Chronic exposure is linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver, or kidney damage. This is the solvent in nail polish that smells like a paint thinner. 

Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen that has been associated with leukemia and asthma. It can also irritate the eyes, nose, and throat and leads to skin irritation or cause an allergic rash called dermatitis. It is routinely used to embalm and preserve dead animals and humans. 

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) is a developmental and reproductive toxin. Our product omits all Phthalates, a group of chemicals that have been linked to obesity, allergy and asthma symptoms, reduced fertility, preterm birth, and low birthweight. Exposure can affect thyroid function and may cause malformations of an embryo. They are used as a plasticizer. 

Formaldehyde Resin is a derivative of Formaldehyde, it is not as toxic as Formaldehyde but can be an allergen. This ingredient is used in the manufacturing of adhesives.  

Camphor is a poison that can cause seizures and disorientation. This chemical acts as a cover on your nails, depriving them of nutrients and causing the yellow staining on your nails.

Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) disrupts hormone regulation, metabolism, and reproductive systems. It is a chemical compound used as a fire retardant in furniture and hardener in plastics. 

Xylene irritates the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. It most commonly enters your body through the inhalation of vapors and is rapidly absorbed by your lungs. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, ataxia, drowsiness, tremors, ventricular arrhythmias, acute pulmonary edema, respiratory depression, nausea, and vomiting. This solvent is used in synthetic enamels, paints, lacquers, and varnishes. 

Ethyl Tosylamide is antibiotic resistance. It is used in low concentrations but is a highly viscous liquid used primarily as a drippy-to-dry film former.

Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is associated with allergic reactions and irritation to the eyes, skin, and lungs. It is a preservative added to cosmetics in order to extend their shelf life and not cause bacteria to form. 

Parabens are preservatives that have gotten a bad rep for their estrogen-mimicking effects, which may trigger major health concerns like hormonal problems.

Hop on over to our website to try our products for yourself and follow us on Instagram: @palatepolish

xo Ainsley Fox

Thank you Ainsley! Here are a few of our team’s favorite products from Palate Polish, check out the full line at