Does Painting Your Nails Damage Them?

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If you love having a manicure that you’re happy to rock around the town, then you’ve probably spent more money at your local nail salon than you care to even think about.

Whether you rock acrylics or gels, shellacs or dip powders, PolyGels or Press-Ons, there are so many options available for you to create a manicure that looks great and lasts for weeks.

But what about plain old nail polish? You know, that old-school lacquer that your mother used to use?

Does painting your nails damage them? Yes, if you use nail polishes and treatments with nasty chemicals, but no, if you choose the right polishes! We’ll explain below.


Does Painting Your Nails Damage Them?

When painting your fingernails with normal nail polish, if you suffer from weak, thin, yellowing, peeling, brittle, or damaged nails, then it is possible that they can take on further damage. This is because the chemicals in these products can be harsh on the nail surface.

This is why over the past decade or so, the rise in free-from nail polish formulas has gained more popularity among nail polish enthusiasts. Most free-from formulas steer clear of harsh chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, and Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), which have all been proven to make your nails dryer, weaker, and more prone to breaking.

The rise in free-from nail polish formulas has gained more popularity among nail polish enthusiasts. Most free-from formulas steer clear of harsh chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, and Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), which have all been proven to make your nails dryer, weaker, and more prone to breaking.

In addition, because old-school nail polish was generally taken off with acetone-based remover, this also caused damage. Acetone strips the nail of the top layers of its natural oils, making them more brittle from this peeling.


Can Painting Nails Help Them?

Luckily these days, there are several nail polishes available that can actually help your nails to become more healthy while making them look good.

These aren’t your normal drugstore nail polishes, though.

The new breed of free-from nail polish formulas is what you need to look out for because they work to strengthen your nails while you’re rocking your manicure.

The new breed of free-from nail polish formulas is what you need to look out for because they work to strengthen your nails while you’re rocking your manicure.

1. Nailtopia’s Bio-Sourced Chip Free Nail Lacquer 

Sale
Nailtopia Bio-Sourced, Chip Free Nail Lacquer - All Natural, Strengthening Biotin and Superfood-Infused Polish - Chip Resistant Formula - Quick-Dry, Long Lasting Wear - Lilita From Nolita - 0.41 Oz
  • FOR LONGER, STRONGER NAILS: Bless your...
  • A SUPERFOOD BLEND IN EVERY COAT:...
  • THE PERFECT, CHIP FREE MANI: Paint on a...
  • HONESTLY CLEAN AND GREEN: Treat your...
  • THE NAILTOPIAN EFFECT: Finally, a...

One such nail polish is Nailtopia’s Bio-Sourced Chip Free Nail Lacquer is infused with real vegetables, fruits, and superfoods to provide calcium, vitamins, and biotin to your nails, helping them to strengthen problem nails while making them look great.

Its 100% non-toxic and plant-based formula is all-free! This means that it doesn’t contain any of the harsh chemicals or ingredients like camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and toluene, which can be found in normal nail polish and can hurt your nails. It’s also gluten-free.


2. Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish 

Sale
Sally Hansen - Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish, Lava Rocks, 0.33 Fl Oz, Packaging May Vary
  • GOOD.KIND.PURE.: Sally Hansen...
  • NATURE IN A BOTTLE: Natural,...
  • 16-free: No formaldehyde, formaldehyde...
  • DOWN TO THE BRUSH: Comes with 100%...
  • RADIANCE THAT LASTS: Four days of rich...

The OG of drugstore nail polish brands, Sally Hansen has a Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish range is free from harsh chemicals, and its Lava Rocks is a sparkly black sand color that will suit most skin tones.

Also available in 29 other colors, this 100% plant-based formula is 16-free. This means it contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, xylene, acetone, phthalates, camphor, parabens, ethyl tosylamide, or triphenyl phosphate!


3. Del Sol’s Color-Changing Nail Polish 

Del Sol Color-Changing Nail Polish - Into the Blue - Changes Color from Metallic Blueberry to Plum in the Sun - Quick dry, 5-Free Nail Lacquer - .34 fl oz/ 10mL
  • Del Sol's "Into The Blue" is a Metallic...
  • Colors adjust back and forth in seconds,...
  • Del Sol Nail Polishes are 5-Free which...
  • Spectrachrome Crystals reveal hidden...
  • Our mission is to create fun, joy,...

For something a bit more fun than your average free-from formula, Del Sol’s Color-Changing Nail Polish contains Spectrachrome crystal, which has been chemically engineered from all-organic materials to change color under UV sunlight.

Cool!

The Spectrachrome crystals don’t actually change color, but they allow invisible colors to become visible to the eye when in the sun’s UV light, even on cloudy days, so you’ll get two manicures for the price of one within seconds.

The more the color changes, the higher the UV index.

These color-changing Del Sol polishes, which is a science developed by NASA for its space program, also have a 5-Free formula and don’t contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, DBP, or toluene. They’re also not tested on animals.

Color spectrums in the range include Into the Blue (Metallic Blueberry that changes to Plum in the Sun), Reckless (Pearl to Light Pink), VIP (Silver to Cranberry Red), Thistle The Day Away (Sky Blue to Pink), and Down To Earth (Cyan to Viridian).


Taking It Off

And of course, to take your healthy manicure off, you’ll need to use an acetone-free nail polish remover to do so. Karma Organic Natural Nail Polish Remover is an unscented remover enriched with essential oils and vitamin E to leave your nails moisturized and cuticles smooth.

Also containing natural soybean oil, its non-toxic ingredients don’t contain any chemicals that will strip your nails of moisture and works well to remove a variety of nail polish formulas like glitter and matte polishes. Karma Organic’s remover also comes in lavender and tea tree scents.

Karma Organic Natural Nail Polish Remover Unscented with Vitamin E Oil - Non Toxic, Vegan, Cruelty Free, Acetone free – Nails Strengthener for Fingernails – 4 fl. Oz.
  • ❤ NOURISHING FORMULA: Aren't we all...
  • ❤ NATURAL INGREDIENTS: Every...
  • ❤ ACETONE-FREE NAIL POLISH REMOVER:...
  • ❤ UNSCENTED NAIL POLISH REMOVER: Karma...
  • ❤ VEGAN and CRUELTY-FREE: Karma...

There is a tradeoff when using acetone-free nail polish removers, though. Yes, you are soaking your fingers in less-harmful chemicals. But you have to soak them for longer, sometimes a lot longer. So the total harmful-chemical exposure may be pretty similar.


Paint It Or Break It

Of course, keeping your natural nails in tip-top condition means that you will be able to rock a nail polish manicure without worrying about causing any damage to them, especially if you use one of the suggested free-from polishes that we’ve mentioned above.

Keeping your natural nails in tip-top condition means that you will be able to rock a nail polish manicure without worrying about causing any damage to them, especially if you use one of the suggested free-from polishes that we’ve mentioned above.

And to help you improve both the health and appearance of your natural nails even more between manicures, then using a cuticle oil will help a lot! Jason’s Tea Tree Nail Saver will help to hydrate dry cuticles, as well as strengthen your nails in order to prevent breakage and splitting.

Containing natural nourishing ingredients like tea tree oil, known for its antiseptic properties, sesame seed, and safflower seed oils, as well as aloe leaf juice, this plant-based serum is also free from parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, and is not tested on animals.

Jason Nail Saver, Tea Tree, 0.5 Oz
  • One 0.5 oz. bottle of Jason Purifying...
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Conclusion

Using traditional lacquer nail polish is easy and quick to apply. Plus, all you need is air drying, so you don’t need to buy any other equipment like UV lamps to have a manicure that suits your style.

But does painting your nails damage them? No, not if you use the recommended free-from formulas that we’ve suggested. It’s a good idea to use an acetone-free remover and a moisturizing nail oil in between your manicures so that you keep your nails as healthy as possible.

Written by Kayla Young

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