22 August 2007

NP - Water-based Suncoat

Water-based Nail Polishes

I've flirted with the environmentalist approved polishes from time to time.

I tried the old peel off polishes from Honeybee Gardens that ended up being a gloopy mess shortly after ownership began. Additionally, dry time was cry inducing and longevity was cuss inducing (one day manis anyone?).

My latest foray into water based polishes trialled the mostly everything free Suncoat. These have some great advantages over their predecessors, but they also have a major disadvantage. They dry quickly, even three coats plus a topcoat. And they last about as long as any other manicure of mine lasts (3 days).

I guess I should point out that I wash my hands at least 20 times a day. I have pets, and my nails are tools. In essence, I'm lucky when I can get 3 days out of a polish. I've usually got some tip wear within a couple of hours. Needless to say, I never go out for a "professional" manicure. Who wants to waste that kind of money?


The ingredients list of Suncoat polishes, direct from their website (they aren't hiding their chemistry):
Acrylate copolymer
styrene-acrylate copolymer
Glycol ether
Benzoate ester
+ Color additives

I've got 5 colors:
11 - Sienna
16 - Plum
27 - Innocent Nude
31 - Beige
32 - Apricot

These polishes tend to be a bit sheer-er than I am used to. So 3 coats is not unusual, but as I said, they dry fast so an additional coat isn't such a problem. They don't have the smoothest application, but I've never found a great polish that does (I am the queen of brush marks). They also have a slightly musty odor, unlike any other polish I've tried. It is a nice change from, "Please do your nails somewhere else, that stuff stinks!"

So, why don't I have a drawer full of Suncoat polishes. They do have their downside. They are a MASSIVE pain to remove, and the longer you let your manicure/pedicure go, the harder they are supposed to be to remove.

I left my polish for no longer than 4 days, and it took 20 minutes to remove the polish. I'm used to 5 minutes at the most.

All the time I made up for by having a quick drying polish, I lost when having to remove said polish.

You can use their corn-based remover, regular remover, or even basic water. However, you will probably be scraping away polish from your nail, and that is guaranteed to remove your topmost nail layer (or at least a portion thereof).

I've got fairly thin nails, disregarding the weapons hanging off my pointer fingers, and I need all the nail bed I can salvage. So I can't wear this stuff week after week. Maybe once a month at most.

If you have: thick nails, zen moments while buffing, and still despise the scent of the new OPI, China Glaze, and Zoya polishes, I recommend looking over Suncoat's offerings. I love their number 11 Sienna shade, it is reminiscent of OPI's new Don't Melbourne the Toast.

27 - Innocent Nude is a great shimmery nude, blends in well
31 - Beige is ever so slightly deeper than 27 - Innocent Nude
32 - Apricot is really a peach, fairly sheer
16 - Plum is ... a shimmery plum, I haven't actually worn it, so I can't describe it any better than the sample

20 August 2007

NP - Ingredients

Nail Polish Ingredients and Currently Available Alternatives

Here are the three (so far) ingredients I try to stay away from in polishes: Formaldehyde, Phthalates, and Toluene.

According to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) at Physical & Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, Formaldehyde (at 37%) is Toxic and Corrosive. "Probably human carcinogen. Mutagen. May cause damage to kidneys ... Very destructive of mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract, eyes and skin."

Formaldehyde in nail treatment lacquers is usually in a resin form that while not as dangerous as Formaldehyde, is still considered "Harmful if swallowed or inhaled. May be harmful in contact with skin."

Phthalate (specifically Dibutyl Phthalate)
The MSDS states that Dibutyl Phthalate is harmful and dangerous for the environment. "May cause reproductive harm ... Very toxic to aquatic organisms."

Other phthalates are safe though, right? Not necessarily.

The MSDS states that
Toluene is Toxic and Flammable. "Toxic by inhalation, ingestion or by absorption through skin ... Experimental teratogen (birth defects)."

Here's one of the biggest problems with chemicals in our world, we know how this ONE chemical acts and reacts with the environment and in our body. We don't know how these chemicals act and interact with each other.

Solution? Currently the solution is to avoid as many chemicals as possible, especially fat soluble chemicals, because the science to study all these interactions is economically infeasible at the moment.

Fat soluble chemicals are not flushed out of your system. They are either stored for the rest of your life, or metabolized into substances that can be flushed from your system (which is why you can OD on fat soluble vitamins, but not water soluble). And by your system, I mean your internal body and cells.

Results on Kira's Manicure/Pedicure routine:
I've tossed all my old OPI polishes (I really miss some of them) and have ONLY the following in my cupboard - new OPI Australia and Russian formulas (Toluene and Phthalate free) and Revlon lacquers (all 3 free).

An Affair in Red Square
Rubble for your Thoughts
St. Petersburgundy
Suzi Says Da!

A True Ab-original
Brisbane Bronze
Canberra't Without You
Don't Melbourne the Toast
Red Hot Ayers Rock
Suzi Loves Sydney

Revlon - Who woulda thought ol' Revlon would have an up to date polish formula?

It rates a 4 out of 10 on Skin Deep's toxicity scale.

Revlon Nail Enamel Ingredients List (from bottle):
Ethyl Acetate
Butyl Acetate
Isopropyl Alcohol
Propyl Acetate
Acetyl Tributyl Citrate
Stearalkonium Bentonite
Serica (Silk Powder)
PPG-2 Dimethicone
Citric Acid
Malic Acid
Tetrabutyl Phenyl Hydroxybenzoate
Stearalkonium Hectorite
Calcium Sodium Borosilicate
and the May contain mess that generally gives lacquer its color

How does one read the extra tiny ingredients list on the back of the bottle? One sticks said bottle under her trusty Leica Microscope and hopes she interpreted the smears correctly. :)

Sheer Nude - nice, basic, no shimmer nude; so very hard to find
Iced Spice
Rosezing - sort of a bronzed copper
Totally Toffee

Other companies I may try: Butter London, China Glaze, and Zoya.

Butter London

Free of all 3 chemicals, and even better, so is their top and bottom coat treatments (practically unheard of). At least, according to their website. They would not send me either ingredients lists or MSDSs. Their rep. did tell me that they list the ingredients on the box. Oh really, that is so incredibly freakin' helpful. Purchase our item to figure out what we have in it. Thanks.

Problem, could that top be any more difficult to manipulate? Honestly, I much prefer a symmetrical applicator that I can maneuver easily.

China Glaze

Beginning with the Audry Hepburn homage "Something Blue" - their newest formulations are Toluene and Phthalate free, but according to their rep., they do have Formaldehyde resin (just like new OPIs).


Zoya strongly stresses how safe their Polish is ... quoted, word for [missing] word, from their website:

"FREE of POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS CHEMICALS. Chemicals that may cancer and birth defects. Unlike other nail lacquers, ZOYA does NOT contain formaldehyde, toluene or dibutyl phthalate (DBP). So Don’t Risk your or your babies wellbeing, Make the SAFE choice, the SMART choice, the STYLISH choice…CHOOSE ZOYA"

Their base and top coat were re-formulated from the original formulas (which were NOT safe and smart).

Zoya Anchor ingredients:
Butyl Acetate
Ethyl Acetate
SD40B Alcohol
Propyl Acetate
Isopropyl Alcohol
Tosylamide/Epoxy Resin
Polyvinyl Butyral
D&C Violet #2

Zoya Topcoat ingredients:
Butyl Acetate
Ethyl Acetate
Isopropyl Alcohol
Acrylates Copolymer
Cellulose Acetate Butyrate
Polyester Resin
Benzophenone 1
Polyurethane Resin
D&C Violet #2

Amazing how similar those two formulations are to each other.

OH, and their quick dry topcoat in the Zoya line, Hurry Up, that they sell for $16.00 per .5 oz bottle ($32.00 per oz.) has the same list of ingredients that the Quick dry from their Qtica line, 1/2 Time Drying Accelerator, has for 7.50 for .25 oz., 22.00 for 1 oz. The ingredients: silicone. Specifically Cyclomethicone and Dimethicone (with Camellia oil tossed into the Zoya Hurry up for a little ... extra oil, I guess).

Well, you are saying, what about my favorite polish/treatment, insert here, it says it is x, y, or z free. Why isn't it in your list?

Poshe - Poshe says they are Formaldehyde and Toluene free ... "Safe Nail Care for a new generation" - Poshe also includes their MSDSs directly on their website, mega plus points.

However, their Fast Basecoat and Topcoat have Butyl Benzyl Phthalate, though their treatment basecoat is free of the 3 big chemicals.

Seche Vite Quick Fast Dry - has Phthalate and Toluene. Besides that it thickens up quickly, and doesn't work well on non-3 free polishes. My old OPI manicures lasted 1 day before chipping and tip wear required complete re-do.

And all the others? Well, all the others hide their ingredients lists. If I can't figure out what's in the formula via basic 'net surfing, I'm not spending my money trying to figure it out.

So here's my list of currently (and new) in rotation products:
OPI Nail Envy Sensitive and Peeling, Formaldehyde-Free Formula (basecoat)
Lacquer - new OPI (has Formaldehyde Resin), Revlon (3 free)
CNDs Dry & Shine or Air Dry (topcoat), both 3 free

Nails - Tools for a Mani


You may sport the most up to date designer duds on that beautiful body of yours, but I promise if your nails look unkempt, so will you. Period.

This goes for both men and women. Nail care requires a few minutes plus a week, EVERY week. Your minimum routine should include a file, scissors or Clippers, and Nippers for hang nails or raggedy ended "cuticles" only.

What most people consider the "cuticle" is actually Eponychium, the true cuticle (Ptygerium) is the bits of skin underneath the eponychium that seems to be attached to the nail and grow out with nail (especially noticeable on the toe nail bed).

Image borrowed from: http://www.nail-solutions.co.uk

The Eponychium is a protective layer of living skin and should not be removed. If your salon cuts off your "cuticle" either stop them, or stop going to them.

The Ptygerium consists of dead skin cells and can be gently scraped away when pushing the Eponychium back.

The Eponychium will gradually thin over time after being pushed back regularly during your manicure. Mine are no more than 1/2 mm thick now.

Moisturizer - Moisturizer is good for your nails, your "cuticle" (Eponychium), and your skin. When you apply your moisturizer, rub it into the nail bed and surrounding areas, even if you are wearing lacquer. The Eponychium is living skin, and gets dried out and ragged like any other skin tissue. You don't necessarily need a special cuticle oil/cream, but you do need to attend the Eponychium regularly.

You can shape your nail to mimic the moon (Lunula), the tip of your finger, or a shape of your choosing (I knew a gal that loved to shape her long nails into points, not something I'd recommend for the office). I prefer a squared off shape that mimics the tips of my fingers. In my opinion, a rounded shape is very difficult to keep symmetrical and I don't bother to try. However, I certainly admire those who attempt and succeed at the rounded nail (like my 79 YO Grandmother).

See Linda Rose's Manicure Page - for a good, step-by-step, basic manicure

Kira's final comments:

Lacquer - For a natural plus manicure, finish with OPI's Matte Nail Envy or try one of the other matte lacquers:
Orly Nails For Males (discontinued?) and Orly Matte Top
Nail Tek Hydration Therapy Moisture Balancing Matte Topcoat
Salonsystem Matte Basecoat
Cuccio Naturale Forte di Matte Top/Base Coat
or Lippman Collection Ridge Filler Base Coat Matte Finish.

I don't like shiny polish finishes, but the only product I've personally used was OPI's Matte Nail Envy. Additionally, I seriously doubt I would recommend ANY of the above products because of their ingredients list. I will cover this item, more indepth, next time.

Country of Origin for appliances - I have 3 pairs of nail nippers in my medicine cabinet. They were all made in different countries: Brazil, Pakistan, and USA. My scissors are Italian made, and my clippers are Korean.

The best tools, based on quality alone, are the USA made nippers and Italian made scissors. Why? They are made from high quality base metals, their edges meet smoothly and they are properly sharpened. These tools will last a long time.

The Brazilian and Pakistani made nippers have edges that don't meet, and uneven tips. They don't cut properly, and they can't be properly sharpened. These two tools are pieces of crap and should have been tossed ages ago.

The Korean Clippers have edges that meet properly, but because they are not made of the best metal, I will have to replace them eventually.

The practical carry home message: quality control is more important in European and North American made goods. In essence, the tools that make it to the shelf are of higher quality all around that other options. Pick your tools carefully, and they will last you a long time.