The Toxins Found in Nail Polish

Each season new shades of nail polish are released following the latest trends. Some of us have too many bottles of nail polish to go through in a lifetime while others choose to have their selections made in a salon. Whether you're someone who gets a weekly manicure or someone who only treats themselves once in a while, you have the right to know... what's really in our nail polish?

Ingredients to Avoid

Formaldehyde: a known carcinogen that has been banned in Europe and Japan. This neurotoxin is used in treatment products for nail hardening purposes. It's an eye and skin irritant and a poison if swallowed.

Toluene: a solvent used in nail polish to allow the color to glide on smoothly. It is often associated with causing dizziness, headaches or fatigue and has the potential to affect the central nervous system, as well as possible reproductive and developmental toxins.

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP): makes nail polish less brittle and prone to chipping, but many concerns surrounds this ingredient that has been banned in Europe. DBP is a known reproductive and developmental toxin.  

Most brands have reformulated their polishes to remove the ingredients mentioned above because it has become a new standard for many consumers. Often times, the terms "3 free" or "toxic trio" will be associated with nail polish that does not include these ingredients. Some "5-free" brands have gone a step further and removed an extra two ingredients in addition to the toxic trio.

Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin: a nail strengthener that can sometimes be a allergen for some people. 

Camphor: can be toxic and cause irritation, nausea and headaches when exposed to large doses, especially through inhalation. 

Do Your Homework

While most brands will claim to be 3-free or 5-free, it's best to double check the ingredients on each bottle yourself to confirm this. Most nail polish brands will list the ingredients underneath the bottle in teeny print or on the brand's website. Our nails are porous and absorb much of the products we put on them so it's best to choose a formula we trust. However, some brands claimed to be 3-free, but this study by California's Department of Toxic Substances Control proved otherwise. There were a number of salon brands that were misinforming consumers about not using the toxic trio when in fact they were. These brands include: Sation, Dare to Wear, Chelsea, Baby's Breath, New York Summer, Paris, Sunshine, Cacie, Golden Girl, Nail Art and High Gloss.

After looking at the ingredients on all the polishes I own, I've disposed of my Seche Vite topcoat, which contained Toluene and replaced it with a Toluene-free topcoat by the brand, Zoya. What nail polishes have you replaced for cleaner formulas?


Why You Should Start Doing It: Dry Brushing

That big ole thing you see there in the picture above is called a dry brush and it is the greatest recent addition to my weekly routine. Dry brushing is not a new discovery by any means, but it is one of the most natural forms of exfoliation. To all the people out there who are asking "what is dry brushing, and why would I want to do it," this post is for you.

There are a ton of claims floating around the Internet about what frequent dry brushing can do from exfoliation to a reduction of cellulite to releasing toxins. While I can't say that I have noticed cellulite reduction, I can say that my skin is much smoother and softer after I dry brush. Plus, after hearing the gorgeous Miranda Kerr mention that she dry brushes in an interview, I knew I had to incorporate it into my routine. I want the Miranda glow, please.

The whole process is super simple to do and there's only one rule:

1. Brush towards your heart.

The reason for this is because you want to brush in the direction that your lymph flows. Doing so is said to increase circulation, which helps to get your blood flowing and release toxins found in your body. I would recommend skipping out on brushing sensitive areas of your skin, such as broken skin, rashes or varicose veins.

To get started, begin at your feet and use short, upward motions with light pressure towards the top of your leg. Once both legs are completed, brush one arm at a time towards your heart. Be sure to brush your chest, stomach and back as well. Remember to take a shower and moisturize afterwards to replenish your skin. It also may be a good idea for you to do dry brushing while in the shower so that the dead skin that sloughs off can be easily rinsed down the drain during your shower.

This above version of dry brushing was pioneered by Bernard Jensen and is known as the American model. However, there is a European version spearheaded by Dr. Bruce Berkowsky, which requires more time, as well as specific instructions. Robyn from Green Smoothie Girl does an amazing job explaining the European version on her website. Click here for the video and diagram. 

When choosing a dry brush, opt for one that has natural bristles rather than synthetic bristles. You can find dry brushes at most health food stores, such as Whole Foods, but they are readily available online as well. Check out some dry brushes online here, here and here.

What are your thoughts on dry brushing? Will you plan to incorporate it into your routine?


Tata Harper Skincare Review

It's only fitting to start this blog by featuring the brand that started it all— my obsession with natural skincare.

Mainstream beauty products inevitably contains harmful ingredients; however, I did not realize just how harmful some ingredients could be until I actively began researching their effects. Shocked by the scientific claims that have linked common beauty ingredients to birth defects, learning disabilities and even cancer, I began to purge my entire skincare routine.

Everything I thought I knew about the skincare products I was using was erased from my memory. I meticulously researched the ingredients that our bodies actually liked along with the brands that truly cared to include those ingredients. I obsessed with separating the so-called "natural" brands from the true bunch by making sense of ingredient lists and double-checking products on my beauty bible, www.ewg.org/skindeep


Have you checked your products on EWG's Skin Deep website yet? If not, do so right now. I'll be here waiting.

Back? Ok, good.

Over the course of several months, I've tested out a luxury brand in the natural skincare world, Tata Harper. I adore the brand's mission, the ingredients and the face behind the brand, Tata herself (not to mention, the farm where the skincare is made). Speaking of the products, they really are as good as everyone says they are. Have a look!

Regenerating Cleanser - The Regenerating Cleanser is a great cleanser for anyone who enjoys having so much in one product. Apricot seed kernels exfoliate your skin to reveal a brightened complexion. I use this from time to time when I want an added oomph from my current everyday cleanser. I find that it is too harsh for everyday use for my sensitive skin, but it would be the perfect addition for someone whose skin can handle everyday exfoliation.

Refreshing Cleanser  - This cleanser is my choice when compared to the Regenerating Cleanser. It is far more gentler on my sensitive skin, plus it smells amazingly! The cleanser is a light and creamy consistency and leaves skin feeling smooth after washing it off.

Hydrating Floral Essence  - One of my favorite products from Tata Harper is the Hydrating Floral Essence. I spray a couple squirts of this on my face and neck and I find that my skin is softer and more radiant. Although it is marketed as a hydrating product, which my oily skin doesn't need, I use it primarily for providing my skin with extra benefits of Witch Hazel, Pink Clay, Gotu Kola and Jasmine extracts to reduce the redness and enlarged pores on my face.

Rebuilding Moisturizer - Being someone who has oily skin, this moisturizer is just what I need. It has the perfect amount of moisture while leaving a matte finish to the skin. The moisturizer is light and never leaves my skin feeling or looking oily.

Replenishing Nutrient Complex - This product packs a punch in just a 10 oz. bottle. A thin layer of this concentrated oil full of antioxidants, fatty acids, nutrients, omegas, vitamins, amino acids and lipids fights the signs of aging while leaving skin glowing and healthy. After cleansing and toning, massage this product onto the skin.

Resurfacing Mask - Another favorite of mine is the Resurfacing mask. I apply the jelly-like mask on my face once a week for 20 minutes. Afterwards, my skin looks more even toned and not to mention, much softer!

Be Fierce Lip Treatment - In. Love. With. This. Balm. It provides a sheer layer of antioxidant-rich goodness, all the while leaving your lips super soft. Upon applying this, my lips stay hydrated for hours and continue to stay hydrated well after the product has rubbed off.

Here's to you, Tata Harper for starting it all.

What products have you tried from Tata Harper (or are on your wish list)?