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What Does 10-Free Mean?

What Does 10-Free Mean?

10-free simply means the formula is made without 10 of the most common (and sometimes controversial) chemicals commonly found in polishes. Some nail brands have begun excluding these harmful ingredients to create a more health-conscious and green-friendly nail care line for consumers. Keep reading for a full breakdown of each chemical why they have been considered harmful.


  • Dibutyl phthalate is a respiratory irritant, which poses the most hazard to nail technicians who may become exposed to large amounts.
  • TPHP (Triphenyl phosphate) is a plasticizer, as well as a fire retardant, and studies have linked it to changes in normal hormone function.
  • Toluene is a solvent used in polish to help it dry quickly; the health concerns associated with excessive exposure to this ingredient may include nervous system impairment and immune, kidney, liver, and reproductive effects.
  • Xylene, when exposed to high concentrations in the air, can cause central nervous system depression and headaches.
  • Ethyl tosylamide is banned from use in cosmetics by the European Commission but is still used in the United States. This ingredient is suspected of causing developmental and reproductive toxicity.
  • Camphor is a fragrant resin still included in many nail products, but it can cause headaches, nausea and dizziness in high amounts.
  • Formaldehyde resin can release formaldehyde; the short-term effects of formaldehyde exposure include respiratory and skin irritation. Long-term exposure is suspected to cause cancer.
  • Parabens are a common preservative but are a suspected endocrine disruptor.
  • Tert-butyl hydroperoxide may be toxic to blood, lungs, liver, the respiratory system and the central nervous system.

Eliminating harmful chemicals from your nail care routine doesn't have to compromise the quality of your favorite beauty essentials (or the environment). We may not be able to control what the major cosmetic brands do, but we can choose to buy from smaller, personal brands who are willing to put in the time and hard work of creating safe products that won't chip, peel or flake. Want to try 10-Free polish? Shop Vegan and cruelty-free products!


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