It is"7-free," which means it does not contain 7 of the harshest chemicals commonly used in nail polishes.
When it comes to beauty practices, I am fairly low maintenance, but there is one thing that I do like to indulge in occasionally – and that is doing my nails. I know, I can already hear the chorus of commenters calling it shallow, vain, and "a form of self-mutilation" (yes, that's an actual TreeHugger comment). But come on, don't we all have our little vanity-driven quirks?
As my colleague Ilana discovered on her nightmarish trip to a nail salon, I too have learned never to allow an aesthetician to trim my cuticles, as it is painful and has led to infections in the past. But when it comes to painting them myself, a bit of color perks up my day and makes me feel more put-together for special occasions.My biggest concern, however, is not the perceived vanity of the practice, but rather the chemical composition of the polish. Most conventional nail polishes are a blend of horrifically toxic ingredients that put not only the wearer at risk for having the polish on for a prolonged period of time, but also anyone who applies it in a salon setting.
So, I was happy to learn about an American company called ella+mila, which makes polishes that are "7-free." In the nail polish world, this means that the polishes do not contain 7 of the worst chemicals that are commonly added. For the record, this is the highest number I've seen to date. A few years ago, companies were boasting about being 3-free, and 5-free was seen as cutting-edge. ella+mila has clearly figured out a few things since then.
The ingredients that ella+mila nail polishes do not contain are: toluene (a solvent that may cause birth defects), dibutyl phthalate (carcinogenic plasticizer), formaldehyde (carcinogenic with irritating, asthma-inducing vapor), formaldehyde resin (allergen), camphor (causes seizures and suffocates nail), triphenyl phosphate (flame retardant and endocrine disruptor), and xylene (poisonous if ingested or inhaled). You can find ingredient list on each color selected.
Despite not having these ingredients, the polish works identically to the regular stuff. I've been trying it over the past several months and have no complaints. It applies normally, removes normally, and lasts the same amount of time that a regular polish would, which is about a week for me before serious chipping kicks in. The soy-based, acetone-free, and essential oil-infused remover works a bit differently; you apply it to each nail, let it sit for 30 seconds, then wipe clean. It comes off easily and has none of the chemical stench of regular remover. The polishes are vegan and cruelty-free, certified by PETA, chip-resistant, fast-drying, and made in the USA.
So, if you're one of those people who loves a dash of color on their fingertips once in a while, you might as well do it as safely as you can. Check out ella+mila, available for ordering online or at select Target stores across the U.S.