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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « Environmental In-Box: Paper Notepads, Folders, Calendars & Binders | Main | Can Guys Get a "Green" Shave as Well as a Close One? »

    Think you can't afford 'green' nail polish? Wrong!

    Nail polish Put another nail in the coffin of the ‘green costs too much money’ myth. At least when it comes to nail polish (the kind on your fingers and toes, not in your tool box), buying the most eco-friendly brands costs you far less than the conventional  -- and more polluting -- options.

    Plus: Not only does buying eco-friendly nail polish save you money, it reduces your exposure to harmful chemicals.  A recent study by The National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance  reports 74% of popular nail care companies no longer use the “toxic trio” of toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate, dangerous compounds linked to health problems such as asthma, cancer, and reproductive problems. 

    The good news is that you will likely find your favorite drug store brand among the 18 options that are “three free.”  L’Oreal, Orly, Revlon, and Sally Hansen all have eliminated these harmful chemicals from their ingredients.  Where does the cost savings come into play?  The safer, widely available brands retail for an average of about $5 per bottle.  The five brands that were not yet “three free” or did not respond to the survey, including Essie and Yves Saint Laurent, average closer to $9 per bottle. 

    While exposure to toxins in nail polish may vary, it is both safer and more environmentally friendly to avoid products containing these harmful chemicals.  In fact, many companies are already producing organic and phthalate free cosmetics.  If safer options exist AND are more wallet-friendly, why buy the harmful brands?  

    For those of you who have already joined our One in a Million campaign, add nail polish to your list of products to look for.  Interested in becoming involved?  Sign up today

    Don’t stop there - contact Essie  and Creative Nail Design and ask them why in the world they’re still producing toxic nail polishes when they are aware of the harm they're potentially causing their consumers.

    (Thanks to Katie Kelleher for researching and writing this post!)


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    Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama

    And, don't forget, even if you only put "toxic" nail polish on once per week, those nail salon workers breathe the fumes all day long. Help them too by buying and asking for more friendly nail polish, nail polish remover, etc.

    Jennifer Taggart

    Alternative Energy

    Besides breathing the fumes, one would worry about absorbing the solvents through nails and skin. Even the polish remover was a big concern.


    Does anybody know if Sally Hansen's nail pens or Nic Sticks by OPI (also nail pens) are of the "better" variety?


    This is really good to know. I am going to look through my nail polish and get rid of all the ones with those ingredients. Yikes!

    Diane MacEachern

    Jen, Thanks for making the point about protecting nail salon workers. Another tip: if your salon doesn't use safe polish, take your own!


    this is fantastic info! but can anyone tell me how to safely dispose of my "old" nail polish?

    Noel Wallace

    Although three-free is better than the alternative, it creates a false sense of security to say that three-free is safe. Many of the so-called safe polishes remove formaldehyde but use formaldehyde resin instead. Also, check the ingredients list. There is still a toxic cocktail of chemicals that make up most of the safe and even some "natural" brands. I love Hopscotch Kids ( because they take out ALL of the bad stuff and are totally water based (no toxic chemicals and no FD&C or lake colors). Check out their line up of great kid colors--my 4 year old loves the pinks and the greens!

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