Nail polish is a colorful substance that can be applied to the fingernails and toenails to decorate them. Typically, it is a clear or pigmented liquid that is painted onto the nails with a small brush and allowed to dry into a shiny coating that is both water- and chip-resistant. Most nail polishes contain chemicals that protect the nails from infections and other problems. The long list of ingredients on the back of a bottle of nail polish may be daunting, but understanding them can help consumers make informed decisions about the products they use.
Nails are thin, brittle and delicate, so it is important to take good care of them. The first step is to file the nails with a gentle nail file rather than an abrasive one, which can damage them and lead to nail peeling or discoloration. After filing, the nails should be sprayed with a sanitizing solution to kill bacteria that could cause infection.
Then, to give the nail a protective coating, a base coat is applied. This is often made of a resin to add strength and shine to the nail polish, while other polymers provide color. Resins like toluene sulfonamide-formaldehyde resin (TSFR) add luster and hardness to the nail polish, while other polymers, such as the film former nitrocellulose, provide color and gloss. Other ingredients in nail polish include plasticizers, such as camphor, which keep the lacquer flexible and reduce the chance that it will crack or chip.
For many consumers, the biggest draw of nail polish is its colors. Usually, the color comes from one or more dyes and pigments. These are dissolved in the solvents that are used to make the nail polish liquid and spread onto the nails. Some nail polishes also contain other additives, such as thickening agents, such as stearalkonium hectorite, and UV stabilizers, which protect the polish from fading in sunlight.
Some consumers want to reduce the amount of chemicals in their beauty products, so they seek out natural or “green” nail polishes. These usually have fewer chemical additives, such as phthalates and parabens, than traditional nail polishes. In addition, they are formulated with ingredients such as corn starch and bamboo powder, which absorb excess oil from the nails and can act as a mild exfoliant.
Another option is to go for a water-based nail polish, which uses a different polymer than nitrocellulose and relies on the evaporation of the solvent to dry the lacquer. It is worth noting, however, that even water-based polishes still contain a number of other chemicals, such as acetone, methyl acetate and butyl acetate.
Some of the most popular shades in nail polish right now are holographic. These are light-reflective and iridescent, and they look absolutely gorgeous on the nails. Nail painters, such as the ones who have been seen on the fingers of celebrities like Styles, Elgort and Davidson, love the luminous finish that holographic polishes offer. They can also be worn for other reasons, such as to express a sense of style or to symbolize social status. Vernis à Ongles