“There is pretty much a zero waste alternative for everything you would normally use in everyday life, including nail polish and even nail polish remover”
One of my favourite things to do is paint my nails. In fact, it has become a kind of therapeutic ritual while I travel. A constant. Something that I can always do the same in an otherwise unstructured lifestyle. I didn’t even realise I was doing it at first until other travellers brought it to my attention and then it became kind of comforting.
When I started my zero waste journey, I thought that many things in my life would have to change and I would have to give up a lot of things. But I was wrong. There is pretty much a zero waste alternative for everything you would normally use in everyday life, including nail polish and even nail polish remover.
Most zero waste references I have read will not mention nail polish alternatives and will mostly advise to go natural with the clip, file and buff method. While this is nice and I totally agree with using stainless steel clippers and nail files purchased free of packaging; if you’re like me and like a little party on your nails then read on!
USE UP WHAT YOU HAVE!
I’m still currently using up my old stocks of nail polish and I just finished my old nail polish remover that I had well before I started my zero waste journey. I think if I was to throw them out before they were finished just so I could buy a zero waste alternative, that would be even more wasteful.
Always remember that this lifestyle change doesn’t happen overnight and that’s ok!
MY FAVOURITE ZERO WASTE NAIL POLISH AND REMOVER ALTERNATIVES
Definitely my personal fave nail polish brand to use would be Kester Black. Kester Black has created the 10-Free™ brand nail polish. This polish does not contain formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, parabens, fragrances, phthalates and animal derived or tested ingredients. Kester Black has also never used the ingredients ethyl tosylamide, triphenyl phosphate or xylene.
Since their nail polish is 10-Free™, this means that it is no longer deemed hazardous waste and the bottle can be washed out and recycled. The bristles and handle can also be recycled. Their products are vegan, cruelty free and non-toxic.
On top of being safe for our bodies and the environment, Kester Black provides a great range of colours that dry fast and stay on for a long time. Everything you need in a nail polish!!
The nail polish remover I’m now using is also by Kester Black and is a water based remover which is both acetone and acetate free and non-flammable. The remover is made with oils and water so is safe for our waterways as well as our bodies.
The bottle, lid and even the label (all made from HDPE) is recyclable and all the packaging they sell their products in is completely recyclable.
Aside from their products having great zero waste qualities, another thing that has impressed me about Kester Black is the sustainable and ethical practices they have put in place. From using 100% renewable and certified carbon neutral energy to using recyclable and biodegradable materials in production where possible to sourcing locally and looking after their employees by supporting them and creating a stress free work environment. They strive to minimise their carbon footprint and overall environmental impact and I find that inspiring. You can read all about it here.
OTHER ZERO WASTE NAIL POLISH ALTERNATIVES
1. Keeki Pure & Simple – This company boasts a 100% biodegradable formula that is completely non-toxic, gluten-free & free from pthalates, formaldehyde, and toluene. They are gluten free, soy free and non GMO. You will need some type of nail polish remover to remove the polish when you want to refresh. If the formula is 100% biodegradable then I would assume the bottle is safe to be washed and recycled. They also provide a fantastic range of colours.
2. Priti NYC – This company makes polishes that are vegan, cruelty free and gluten free. Free of toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor, xylene, parabens, and TPHP. They also pride themselves on being eco friendly and community minded. But, the best thing about their polishes is that they offer a program to recycle their used nail polish bottles through Chemwise. It’s a great example of a company taking responsibility for their product from start to finish.
OTHER ZERO WASTE NAIL POLISH REMOVER ALTERNATIVES
1. Priti NYC – Priti NYC have created a soy based nail polish remover infused with lemongrass essential oil that is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic, vegan, cruelty free and gluten free. Their remover is also non-flammable and their bottles are completely recyclable.
2. Karma Organic – This company also produces a soy based, organic and non-toxic polish remover that is free of any petroleum products. They are community and environmentally concious, sourcing their soy from local farmers and packaging their remover in a fully recyclable glass bottle.
ZERO WASTE COTTON BALL ALTERNATIVE
As I’ve talked about in a previous post, I have stopped using cotton balls entirely. I used to use them to apply toner, remove makeup and remove nail polish. However, I have now learned it is entirely not necessary to use cotton balls.
It’s so easy to DIY make a cotton ball alternative with old fabric you have lying around the house. You can turn old toweling, old flannel pillow cases, fleeces, cotton, really any fabric into reusable squares or rounds. All you have to do is cut them up and finish the edges if the fabric frays using a hand stitch or sewing machine; use and then launder as needed.
You can also buy reusable cotton rounds online, however it’s so easy to DIY and repurposing old fabric is a great way to avoid creating more waste.
THE DANGERS OF REGULAR NAIL POLISH
These days there are quite a few non-toxic nail polish brands available but did you know that if you are still using regular commercial brands, they are considered hazardous waste?
This is because they contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP that can dangerously pollute our waterways and soil. Not only are these nail polishes toxic to us, they’re also toxic to our environment and must be disposed of correctly. Be sure to contact your city’s hazardous-waste collection service to find out how.
Going zero waste doesn’t mean you need to be a matyr to the cause. Yes, purchasing nail polish still means you are creating waste that will go to the recycling facility but it is ok to still have a few little indulgences in life. We are human and it is important to do what makes us happy. Everything in moderation!! In this instance, I believe it’s important to choose your supplier carefully. Research what your chosen brand does to reduce their impact on the environment from start to finish. Don’t be afraid to get in touch and ask for further information and always support brands with high morals and integrity.
Oh, and remember to always compost your nail clippings 😀
Love Kat xx