What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs?)

And what do they have to do with nail polish?

“Volatile Organic Compounds” (VOCs) are chemicals that are released easily into the air at room temperature.

As there are no federal or state standards for VOC levels in non-industrial settings, the best way to reduce the potential impact on your health from VOC exposure is to limit the use of products that will emit high levels of VOCs. 

1. Switch out your high-VOC products for low VOC and VOC-free alternatives!
Kapa Nui nail products are low VOC and VOC-free alternatives to high-VOC traditional polishes and acetone removers. Paints and sealants now have low-VOC and VOC-free alternatives (keep an eye out for the labels.)

2. Buy only enough VOC-emitting household items for immediate use so you don’t have to store them in your home.

3. Pay close attention to instructions and warnings on all product labels. Keep lids on tightly.

4. For products without VOC-free alternatives, consider storing them in an outdoor shed, away from your living spaces. No outdoor shed? Air them outside your home before placing them inside.

5. When you must store high-VOC products indoors, make sure to maximize ventilation to prevent accumulation of VOCs.

We hope you found this helpful, and we invite you to join our community of 12,000+ women who are enjoying fun, gorgeous nails without compromise. Come be a part of the change; take care of the earth while taking care of your health. Body Safe + Planet Safe = Clean Beauty with Kapa Nui.

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


Where can I find a full list of Indoor VOCs and their sources?

There are technically dozens of VOCs that are found indoors, but there are 14 that are most commonly found in your home. Check out the list here.

How do I know if my products release VOCs into the air?

A good general rule is to smell it. If it emits a strong odor, chances are it is high-VOC. But the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also keeps a helpful household products database where you can learn more about the chemicals in common household items and precautions that should be taken when using them.