Cosmetics Ingredients, Product Review

Intro to non-toxic Nail Care and my Ella+Mila Review

Nail care was next on my Clean Beauty swapping list!

Nail polishes were at the center of one of the first personal care ingredient controversies. Back in 2000, the Environmental Working Group published a study called ‘Beauty Secrets – Does a common chemical in nail polish pose risks to human health?’. The answer was yes.

The chemical in question, the dibutyl phthalate (DBP), had been linked to birth defects in lab animals and was a suspected endocrine disruptor. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that every single one of the 289 persons tested for DBP had the compound in their bodies. Exposure prove to be especially high for women of childbearing age. The highest exposure estimates for these women were higher than the federal safety standards. The researchers speculated that these high levels came from cosmetics and beauty products. They did some tests and found out that DBP was listed as an ingredient in 37 popular nail polishes…

Along with DBP, two other toxic chemicals are commonly found in nail polish formulations: toluene and formaldehyde. Toluene is a toxin that may cause birth defects and developmental problems in children of pregnant women who have had extended exposure. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (see my post about the top 7 ingredients to avoid in personal care products). As of today, this “toxic trio” can still be found in many nail polishes (even when they’re labeled as ‘toxin-free’).

To make sure you’re avoiding toxic components, choose nail polish brands that are at least 3-free (free of the toxic trio), or better 5-free (without the toxic trio + formaldehyde resin and camphor), or even 7-free (the 5 above + TPHP and Xylene).

7 Free Ella+Mila

I discovered Ella+Mila on Instagram when I started my clean beauty journey. Ella+Mila is 7-free and also vegan and cruelty-free (bingo). I decided to take advantage of a sale to place my first order.

Ella+Mila Order

I got:

  • Barely Pink nail polish
  • Naughty Not Nice nail polish
  • All About the Base base coat
  • Soy Polish Remover

Here is my two cents.

All About the Base: looks great on its own! Smoothes the surface of my nails, beautifies them and lasts for days (+ people don’t notice when it starts chipping). It’s also a great base: improves the lacquers wear, making them last longer and better.

All About the Base

Naughty not Nice: well… this one was kind of disappointing 😦 I instantly fell in love with the color: a deep, sexy red with a hint of berry. But it started chipping the second day! Even though I applied 2 layers. Kind of annoying when you spend an hour doing your own manicure… Maybe I was particularly harsh with my hands that day? I’ll try again and report.
Naughty not Nice

Barely Pink: Perfect color (a simple nude-y pink, very chic!) and it lasted for daaaays. I applied the base and then 2 layers of the lacquer. Not sure if the formulation is a bit different than the red one? In any case, here is a picture at Day 1:

Barely Pink

And here is a picture at Day 4:

Barely Pink Day 5

Crazy, right? Most conventional nail polishes don’t even last that long!

Soy Polish Remover: ok guys, this is the real star. And I had no expectations for this one. I bought it on a whim because Ella+Mila sent me an email saying I could add it to my order after I had placed it, and at a discount (yes, I’m clearly a marketing victim). I had tried soy polish removers before that were simply useless and kind of messy. I would spend so much time trying to remove the reds, using 10 cotton pads and leaving pink smears everywhere. This one works like a charm, smells good, is smooth on my nails and leave them nourished and beautiful. SOLD. 

I only used one cotton pad for an entire hand and all the polish was removed in a couple minutes.

A video is worth 100 words so here you go:

I will definitely order again Ella+Mila products and look forward to trying fun colors this Summer!


What’s your favorite clean nail care brand?


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