There is nothing that perks up a preggo's summer more than walking around the beach in a pair of cute flip-flops and flaunting your deliciously-painted toenails. But before you grab that bottle of nail polish to have some colour fun, here is what you need to know.

It is safe for a pregnant woman to use nail polish and nail polish remover. The danger comes from certain potentially harmful chemicals that these nail polishes may contain. They pose a health risk if one is exposed to a lot of it in unventilated spaces over a long period.


The three (3) potentially harmful chemicals you should steer clear of are toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde. They are called the 'Toxic 3'.


Inhaling toluene irritates the eyes, throat and lungs. Besides, being exposed to high levels can damage the nervous system leading to birth defects in an unborn baby. These effects are caused by breathing in the fumes over a long period. Toluene is also known to cause headaches.


Dibutyl phthalate is an endocrine-disrupting chemical, which can affect the endocrine system. The endocrine system works through glands and hormones to enable cells to communicate. Any disruption of this process can cause a miscarriage and even birth defects like hormone-production problems in a fetus.


This is another irritant known to cause cancer and breathing problems when a person is exposed to high volumes for a long time.

nail polish


Apart from the three widely known harmful chemicals, triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) is another chemical to watch out for. Exposure to concentrated forms of it may cause reproductive and developmental abnormalities.


Opt for pregnancy-safe nail polish as an alternative to nail polish that contains all or any of these three. This group of non-toxic nail polish has the 3-free note indicated on the bottle. This means it does not contain any of the three toxic chemicals or ingredients (toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DnBP)and formaldehyde). Other non-toxic nail polish brands are also eliminating more chemicals from their formula. TPHP, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde resin and ethyl tosylamide are chemicals that are a no-no. You will find some brands labelled 5-free up to 13-free (depending on the number of harmful chemicals they do not contain).

Here are 13 nail polish brands that are pregnancy-safe (and do not chip quickly!).

If you love to go to the salon to get your nails done or to do it yourself, these tips will help you stay as safe as is possible:

  1. Use non-toxic nail polish. Water-based, odour-free and vegan nail polishes are good choices.
  2. Choose salons that are clean and well-ventilated. Most chemicals are absorbed into the body by breathing. So, open doors and windows or make sure the room you paint your nails in has a lot of fresh air to air out fumes. 
  3. Avoid getting nail polish on your cuticles as chemicals are absorbed by the body through the skin.
  4. Do not blow on your nails to dry them. You will breathe in the fumes. Stretch your arms away from your body to dry them instead.
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly with some soap and water after removing nail polish.

I admit having nail polish on is chic and fun. However, if you are not big on it, you can just keep your nails trimmed and clean. That too is beautiful!



By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team

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