11 Vegan Nail Polish Brands to Put on Your Radar

And what do those terms—5-free, 7-free, 8-free, etc.—mean? Compton says that free-of claims are determined by brands and that they’re not officially regulated or held to any standard. But in general, Shields says, “X-free means formulated without a certain number of toxic ingredients that are known to be harmful. One of the biggest risks to these harmful ingredients is the inhalation of their fumes.”

Here’s a general baseline for the ingredients, according to Shields.

5-Free: The formula is without the following ingredients: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, camphor.

7-Free: The formula is without the following ingredients: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene.

17-Free: The formula is without the following ingredients: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, acetone, phthalates (including DBP), parabens, triphenyl phosphate, animal-derived ingredients, styrene, bisphenol A, glycol ether of series E (glycol ethers derived from ethylene oxide), nonylphenol ethoxylate, sulfates, triclosan.


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