January 20, 2015

5 Nail Polish Brands That You Probably Didn't think were 3 Free But They Really Are!

During my first pregnancy I only ever wore Essie nail polishes. Why? Because I had read that you should avoid certain chemicals that are contained in nail polish during pregnancy, and Essie was one of those brands that did not contain said chemicals. Firstly, about the chemicals.

The Toxic 3
Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) - used in polish to make it flexible to minimise chips. Can also cause harm to a foetus during pregnancy.
Formaldehyde - hardens the nail. Has also been linked to cancer.
Toluene - used to dilute nail polish formula. Can affect skin, liver and kidneys as well as human reproduction.
If a brand claims to be 3 Free, this means they don't contain the above 3 toxins. 

The Toxic 5
These include the 3 above, plus:
Formaldehyde Resin - can cause skin irritation
Camphor - it's a naturally occurring tree product however exposure to too much can cause vomiting and seizures.
If a brand claims to be 5 free, this means they don't contain all 5 of the above toxins.

The amounts of these chemicals contained in nail polish are so tiny, that normal use is probably not harmful if you don't have any health concerns, but for pregnant women it's definitely best avoided.

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Now that I'm pregnant again I thought I'd shop around and see if there are any cheaper brands that are 3 or 5 free, as Essie isn't exactly the cheapest out there. And what do you know, some brands that I would absolutely not have guessed to be free from nasties actually are! Here are the 5 brands that really surprised me, and made me happy as they're the brands I normally wear anyway and they're all less than $10AUD each.

1. Essence - who would have thought this cheapie brand would not contain these toxic chemicals, but yep, they're 5 free!

2. Australis - I was so happy to find out Australis was on this list as I'm sure you know I love the brand, so yay, I don't have to throw out my Australis polishes! The info I found online said it's 4 free, but when I looked at the ingredients on their website I couldn't find any of the 5 toxins above. I'll have to confirm, and when I do I'll update this post. Either way, it's at least 4 free.

3. L'Oreal - I thought for sure L'Oreal would contain chemicals, I don't even know why. I think I thought only smaller, indie brands would be going the 3 or 5 free way, and L'Oreal ain't indie! But hooray, they're 5 free!

4. Rimmel - Similar to L'Oreal, I thought Rimmel would be more concerned with making money than getting rid of toxins, but ooops, my bad. They're 3 free.

5. Face of Australia - Ha! Another Aussie brand which is also 3 free. I mistakenly threw out all my FOA polishes when I found out I was pregnant, so time to replenish!

You can find a much more thorough list of 3/4/5 free brands HERE.

What do you think of these brands? Are you surprised they're free from all the major toxins?


  1. Hi Lilit, thanks for finding this information.
    This will be useful to so many who don't want to spend on Essie or Butter London and Yes I am surprised !!
    I love these Loreal polishes.

  2. It's surprisingly hard to find any of the Big 3 in nail polish these days (not including nail treatments and top coats) - I actually went on an expedition to find a polish with the Big 3 in them, and the only one I could find was W7 which has toluene. ulta3, BYS and Mode are also 3 free and super cheap :)

  3. I'm always so happy when the affordable Australian brands, like Australis and FOA, don't rely heavily on harmful chemicals - plus, they make damn good polishes!


  4. I'm as surprised as you are about Rimmel and L'Oreal. Great to know! x



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