Naked Nails: A Manicure Free Month


grin and bare it.

Ordinarily, I’m what Arrested Development might call a “never nude.” but with nail polish: even if it was the manicure equivilant of jorts, I was always wearing something. But unforeseen circumstances have kept me extraordinarily busy this past month and digging my polish collection out to paint my nails became kind of a low priority– make that last priority.  I could have perhaps stepped into a nail salon, but it didn’t occur to me. What I did realize, though, is that wearing my tips bare seems to have made them healthier. Abstaining has left my nails feeling stronger, less flaky, and they don’t look as if they desperately need a mani. Dare I say, they look polished?

“There’s a reason nail technicians wear masks at work.”

Given the chemical compound that makes most nail lacquerslook luxe and stay long-lasting, sporting a stripped down look is a bit of a no brainer.  The Learning Channel’s Planet Green blog explains that there are both environmental and personal health hazards that are easy to forget. “I’ve heard that manicures and pedicures are as addictive as cigarettes. A glossy red is very attractive now and then, but constantly having your nails painted, de-polished and then re-painted wreaks havoc on the environment. The varnishes and removers are loaded with highly toxic chemicals: Acetone, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, or ethyl acetate. All of these can evaporate into the air that we breathe. They contaminate our water and kill off marine life.”

“Then there are the health concerns, which include cancer and birth defects. There’s a reason nail technicians wear masks at work. Inhaling these chemicals is not the only problem, either. Our skin can absorb the toxins, allowing them to enter our bloodstreams. Indeed, there are a lot of the potentially hazardous products sitting in your make-up drawer.”

None of this is to say that I’ll kick fixing up my digits, but this unscheduled break paired with a little bit of research definitely showed me how damaging the cycle was getting to be. Do you take a break from nail polish to let your fingernails breathe or are you dilligent about keeping up a perfect mani/pedi? — Casandra Armour

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