December 13, 2021

3 Quick Tips: Is my non toxic nail polish safe?

3 Quick Tips: Is my non toxic nail polish safe?

Did you know that traditional nail polishes are considered “environmental hazardous waste” by the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)? 

This means they are known to present hazards to the environment and to human health and require special care when being disposed of.

When we first learned this, we were floored. As medical professionals, we have spent nearly three decades of our lives educating and empowering women to make healthy choices.

But we had no idea there was an entire segment of the beauty world that lacked healthy options. So, we worked with a highly accomplished polymer chemist friend to develop a full collection of high-performance non-toxic nail products.

Our products are safe for everyone including pregnant women, cancer patients, kids, babies, dogs, the environment, you name it. Today, we wanted to share how to tell if your non-toxic nail polish is actually safe - with 3 quick tips!

women underwater with hands above her face

  1. Look for water-based, not nitrocellulose-based polishes.💧

If a polish is nitrocellulose-based, it likely contains chemicals that come from the same family as proven toxic chemicals (yes, even if it claims to be "non-toxic"). Why? Nitrocellulose is a hard material. Therefore, polishes must incorporate chemicals that make the nitrocellulose liquid and flexible. So a quick and easy way to determine if your polish is safe: does the ingredient list contain “nitrocellulose”? If no, you’re golden! If yes, you’ll want to trade out that bad bottle for a water-based option.

ukulele with painted hands

  1. Don’t take “3-free,” “5-free,” “10-free”, or even “15-free,” labels at face-value.

Unfortunately, many polishes labeled this way are still nitrocellulose-based - and thus still contain toxic chemicals. This is why they also still smell! 🤯 You’re probably asking, “How is this possible? I thought toxic chemicals were banned!” Without boring you with too many scientific details, the bottom line is this: The industry is not highly regulated. There are a ton of ingredient-substitutions happening without companies understanding if these replacements are actually less toxic. You’ll thank yourself for taking ten seconds to scan the ingredient list for that sneaky nitrocellulose.

hands with flowers in them 

  1. Smell it! 👃🏼

Thankfully, you don’t need to have 20/20 vision (we know some of those tiny ingredient lists are hard to read) - nor do you need to be an accomplished polymer chemist - to have a sense of smell! Simply give the polish a good whiff. If you smell that nauseating odor - the one that clears the room; that your husband hates; and that you’ve put up with because you love to paint your nails - chances are it still contains toxic chemicals.


 women with kapa nui nails painted hands


Body Safe + Planet Safe = Clean Beauty

Once we learned that the industry lacked a truly non-toxic nail polish option that was safe (and odorless!), we set out to develop that option. We are proud of our revolutionary system that so many of our wonderful customers are calling the best non-toxic nail polish they’ve ever tried.

It’s water-based, considered “ALL-free” and contains only 2 or 3 ingredients (depending on the color)! We invite you to join our community and want you to know - you do not have to sacrifice health for beauty. Body Safe + Planet Safe = Clean Beauty with Kapa Nui.

-Dr. Lyn Lam and Terry Lam (Co-Founders) 


That sounds great - but does your polish work? Does it stay on? Does it last last long?

Yes, yes and yes. The “magic” is in our unique patented Base & Top Coat. Customers report long-lasting coverage of 10-12 days, chip-free, when using our Base & Top Coat in combination with our water-based non-toxic nail polish. But don’t take it from us - take it from our customers! We are honored to have helped so many women live healthier, safer, beautiful lives. Read reviews here


Can’t wait to try this! Where do I start?

We recommend all new customers begin their Kapa Nui journey with our starter set, as it contains all products needed to experience our 3-step, 2-formula system: Our patented Base & Top Coat Sealer, our Remover, and a starter polish bottle of your choice!


I didn’t realize there were so many toxic chemicals out there...can I learn more?

Check out our Learn More Page to read up about "non-toxic" vs. "toxin free," our ingredients, and all chemical families known to have toxic properties that are still commonly found in nail polish.