Benzophenone -1. Why we don’t use it. Among other things…

benzophenone -1 free metallic nail polish and tulips

Long gone are the days of bottled car paint for ladies to match their nails to the duco… (and long gone are the days of Benzophenone -1)


There is a lot of fuss made over ‘5 free’ and ‘7 free’ nail polishes, and for good reason, its healthy and its safe. We do find it can be difficult to filter through all the information out there. So we’ve done it for you. Including Benzophenone -1 (what is it?)

It is difficult to be 100% chemical free and 100% organic when developing nail polish, in fact, no matter how hard we try, it doesn’t exist! We do believe in being as healthy and safe as possible, and cutting out any unnecessary harmful toxins where possible.

Our nail polish is free from Formaldehyde, DBP, Toluene, Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin, Synthetic Camphor, Xylene and Benzophenone -1. This may look like a long list of indistinguishable chemicals, but there are many reasons why forgoing these ingredients in our polishes is of huge benefit.
Sienna byron bay Melody Pink Nail Polish

Brief overview


If it’s a brief overview you’re wanting, here it is: all the previously mentioned chemicals are poisonous. Some are carcinogenic and linked to causing cancer, others have been attributed to causing birth defects, and others can cause various other symptoms including dizziness and respiratory problems. While using nail polishes containing these chemicals in small doses and in well ventilated areas may not pose a major health risk, it can be a big concern for those working in nail salons, or those that expose themselves to it continuously over the years. We believe, the safest option is to cut them out completely. The absence of these harmful chemicals doesn’t impact on the quality of the polish, reinforcing the reasons why they’re unnecessary.

To allow you a more in depth understanding of why we place so much importance on being ‘nasty free’, it is important to look into the ingredients that are used in our products and what ingredients are not used.


The chemicals we never use, never have used and why we don’t use them


Benzophenone -1: This one is the source of much controversy. Many 7-free, 10-free and ‘non-toxic’ nail polishes still use Benzophenone-1 in their formulas, as there are many studies that show it is harmless to humans. It is a UV blocker, used in sunscreens as well as cosmetics to stop discolouration of products.  Benzophenone-1 has been linked to breast cancer9, ovarian cancer10, prostate cancer11, and has been found in human placental tissue12. We have never used Benzophenone-1 and never will, even though it may be deemed harmless, we believe the research speaks for itself, and is far better to avoid than to take the risk.

Formaldehyde: a known human carcinogenic. The long-term effects of formaldehyde exposure have been evaluated in epidemiological studies, and have been found to link with leukemia, brain and other cancers.1 The Australian Government in the 2012 Poison Standard2, listed formaldehyde as a Schedule 6 poison, meaning a substance with a moderate potential for causing harm, the extent of which can be reduced with distinctive packaging with strong warnings for safety. However, Appendix C of the Poison Standard notes formaldehyde concentrations of 5% or more in nail hardener and of 0.05% or more in any other cosmetic preparations should be prohibited because of their known dangerous properties. We think it’s best just to avoid any dangers entirely and stick to a formaldehyde free preparation.

Dibutyl Phthlate: otherwise known as DBP. Typically used as a plasticiser in nail polishes, DBP poses major health risks, particularly for pregnant women and unborn children. In a 2012 report by the FDA, Guidance to the Industry Limiting the Use of Certain Phalates, it is stated “the Agency has determined that there is evidence that exposure to DBP and DEHP from pharmaceuticals presents a potential risk of developmental and reproductive toxicity”3. The European Commission has identified DBP as a reproductive toxicant and the European Union prohibits the use of DBP in all cosmetics. Therefore it’s rather clear why we stay away from DBP.

Toluene: commonly used solvent that creates a smooth finish across the nail and keeps the pigment from separating in the bottle. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)4 states Toluene can cause headaches, dizziness, cracked skin, irritated eyes, nose and throat. It also states over time, exposure to high concentrations, day after day, may lead to female reproductive system damage and pregnancy loss. If swallowed, toluene can cause liver and kidney damage.

Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin: a polymer used in nail enamels to form a tough, shiny and durable film on the nails. Although considered much safer than formaldehyde, there is strong evidence of tosylamide/formaldehyde resin being a human toxicant or allergen5. There are cases of nail polish dermatitis of allergen origin, attributed to tosylamide/formaldehyde resin6.

Synthetic Camphor: functions as a fragrance, denaturant and plasticizer in nail products. Synthetic Camphor poisoning in humans can occur from swallowing, breathing or dermal contact with preparations containing camphor. It can result in nervous system and kidney effects, or other symptoms including colic, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, delirium, convulsions and seizures7.

Xylene: a solvent used to keep nail polishes smooth and liquid consistency. Xylene has carcinogenic properties, with exposure leading to cancer potential. It is an endocrine disrupter, can have reproductive effects, birth and developmental effects and is toxic to specific organs such as the liver, lungs, heart and gut8.

We’ve forgone all these nasty chemicals in the aim of the providing a nail polish that is as healthy and non-toxic as possible. Although in small doses, some of the chemicals may be seemingly harmless, when there are equally as suitable, non-toxic ingredients available to use, we wouldn’t go any other way.


The ingredients we do use


butyl acetate, ethyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetyl tributyl citrate, phthalic anhydride/trimellitic anhydride/glycols copolymer, isopropyl alcohol adipic acid/fumaric acid/phthalic acid/tricyclodecane dimethanol copolymer, stearalkonium hectorite, silica and citric acid. All non-toxic, none of which are linked to having long-term health effects. A safe option for you, your family, and your health.




1 National Cancer Institute- Formaldehyde and cancer risk

2 Australian Government Department of Health and Aging Therapeutic Goods Administration- Poison Standard 2012

3 Food and Drug Administration- Guidance for Industry, Limiting Use of Certain Phthalates as Excipients in CDER-Regulated Products

4 Occupational Safety and Health Administration- Toluene Safety in the Workplace

5 EWG Cosmetic Database, Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin

6 Cosmetics Info- Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin

7 Toxnet- Camphor

8 ToxNO- Toxin Profiles, Xylene

9 NCBI- Benzophenone -1 and nonylphenol stimulated MCF-7 breast cancer growth by regulating cell cycle and metastasis-related genes via an estrogen receptor α-dependent pathway.

10 NCBI- Benzophenone -1 stimulated the growth of BG-1 ovarian cancer cells by cell cycle regulation via an estrogen receptor alpha-mediated signaling pathway in cellular and xenograft mouse models.

11 NCBI- Growth and migration of LNCaP prostate cancer cells are promoted by triclosan and benzophenone -1 via an androgen receptor signaling pathway

12 NCBI- Determination of parabens and benzophenone -type UV filters in human placenta. First description of the existence of benzyl paraben and benzophenone-4

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