American Apparel's New Nail Polish is Eco-Chic (and Cheap!)

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Guest blogger Cara Smusiak is a journalist and regular contributor to's Naturally Green section.
American Apparel is known for sex-charged ads and made-in-America product, but aside from their locally-made goods, their green side is a little lack-luster. Organic cotton might seem like the obvious way to improve sustainability, but only a few of their products are made with the eco-friendly fabric. Instead, American Apparel is working on going green in their typical quirky way. This month, the company expanded into cosmetics, launching American Apparel Nail Lacquer, a line of 18 high-quality nail colors that are greener than the average polish.The nail polish is not the L.A.-based clothing company's first eco move this year--it also started selling bags of scrap fabric, finding a new use for manufacturing waste.

Greener and Healthier Nail Polish
Like many other green nail polishes, American Apparel Nail Lacquer is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde -- three toxic chemicals that aren't good for people or the environment.

DBP , or Di-n-butyl phthalate, is one of the three phthalates the EU has deemed toxic to reproduction. Researchsuggests exposure to the chemical results in smaller penis sizes and undescended or incompletely descended testicles.

Toluene and formaldehyde are typically used in paints and adhesives. Toluene effects breathing and the nervous system, and it is responsible for much of that smell that nail polish has. Formaldehyde can also interfere with breathing, triggering asthma attacks, and it can also cause eye, nose, and throat irritation.

Made in the USA Lacquer
In keeping with American Apparel's made-in-the-USA branding, the Nail Lacquer line is made by a family-owned and operated nail polish manufacturer in New York City. So not only are the polishes healthier, the carbon footprint is minimal.

The line comes in 18 colors that fit right in with American Apparel's aesthetic, and of course, each has a quirky name: Mouse is a pretty warm grey-brown, Rose Bowl is a lush color, Office is a pale mint, and Palm Springs is a milky peach shade.

And at $6 a pop, it's one of the more affordable eco-chic nail lacquer lines on the market.

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