triciakj wrote ... would LOVE to hear about non-toxic or natural nail polish! Any suggestions are welcomed.
A few weeks ago I indulged.
I went with one of my closest friends for mani/pedis, a belated birthday present for her. This sounds like a normal girl activity for girlfriends. And -- outwardly -- it did appear that way. We were roommates in college, live near each other to this day, took our pregnancy tests on the same day, took birth classes together, and have been raising our babies -- she had her son two weeks before I had my daughter -- a little like cousins. Their dads are at this point as close as we are, and were taking care of the babies together for the afternoon. Typical right? Well, except that neither of us had had a manicure or a pedicure in well over two years. Grim. We apologized to the aestheticians!
Related: All About Natural Makeup
Why the polish hiatus? Well, as the coverline of The Complete Organic Pregnancy suggests (What you need to know from the nail polish you wear to the bed you sleep in to the water you drink), nail polish isnt the sort of thing you want to be slathering on your digits when youre pregnant. It likely contains phthalates to make it flexible and chip resistant. Certain phthalates are banned in Europe, and some big American companies are starting to pull them out of their nail polishes as well, because research has shown they can cause cancer and/or reproductive abnormalities in lab animals. A small study suggested baby boys exposed to high levels of the chemical in utero were more likely to exhibit penile anomalies. The FDA still deems the chemical safe, and critics say these studies are too small. Other chemicals of concern in nail polish are formaldehyde, which can be absorbed through nails and skin, and is thought to be a carcinogen by the EPA and the National Toxicology Program, as well as toluene, which is a skin and respiratory tract irritant. In extreme amounts, it can cause liver damage.
Knowing this, I quickly took my polish off when I was trying to get pregnant and was relieved when I could no longer see my ugly, bare toes beyond my belly. Still, I decided to leave it off while I was breastfeeding for the same chemical-avoidance issue. Besides, I got used to the natural look after about a year. Now I dont mind it at all.
Now technically I was (am) still breastfeeding when I went for this much-needed mani/pedi date but Im not Ailis main source of food anymore and the polish that was going to be used on me at Priti, an organic spa in New Yorks East Village, was billed as less chemical. Here is what their website (www.pritiorganicspa.com) says about their polish: "Our nail varnishes are formaldehyde, toluene and dbp [dibutyl phthalate] free and our varnish remover is made from soy making them safe for our all priti princesses and expecting goddesses." True to this statement, the first thing you smell when you enter it is essential oils, mainly geranium oil. This is vastly different than the stinky punch most nail salons deliver. It also might have something to do with the fact that Priti didn't appear to have air conditioning (at least it didn't on the extremely hot day we were there) and so all of their windows were wide open, and fans were whirring. Ventilation is always a good thing.
Priti sells its own line of nail polish at its spa. (Priti natural nail polishes retail for $10.50-$12.25 at amazon.com or $16 at gaiam.com.) Other brands of polish that claim to be less chemical include Honeybee Gardens' water-based nail enamel ( $7.25-$10.25 at amazon.com or $10 at honeybeegardens.com), Sante Kosmetics, Zoya, and No-Miss ($7 at amazon.com or $8 at nomiss.com). These can be found online, at natural food markets, and some are available at Whole Body.
My Priti polish (in a deep, dark blood red that looks exactly like Chanels Vamp) has lasted and lasted and lasted. This is, to be honest, making me paranoid. I thought it would last for a wedding I had to attend a few days after I got it done, and then maybe a few days more. Wouldn't stuff without bad chemicals fall apart faster than the stuff with it?
My birthday was this past weekend and my mother (who always has lovely nails) gave me a gift certificate for another mani/pedi at Priti. Im looking forward to my next visit but, frankly, Im not going to make a habit of it. Theres something about looking at a colored cluster of chemicals stuck to your nails day after day after day. Obviously whatever is in it is getting into my system. And it kills me I dont have a clue what that might be as Ive never seen a polish with the ingredients listed on the bottle. Which is a horrible disservice to the consumer. I gather these ingredients are guarded as trade secrets just as they are with cleaning products. How horrible. And wrong. So Id prefer to remain bare for the most part, but am happy to have colorful options for special occasions. Meanwhile, Im still on the prowl for a good natural nail polish remover. The "Almost Natural" Nail Polish Remover by No Miss I bought was really smelly, didnt work very well, and was crazy harsh on my hands. I need to look into a better product. Any suggestions?
Of course, now that Im writing this down Im second guessing my choice to get polished while still nursing Aili even if we've dropped down to just a few feedings a day (she's 17 months). Which brings me to the most important thing: I still wouldn't use any of these products when pregnant or during those really intense months of breastfeeding (we started solids at six months but Aili wasn't really up to three meals a day for several months beyond that). For me, gambling with the unknown is just not worth the (arguably cute) red toes.
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