Sandal Season is Here

Freshly painted toes à la Treat Nail Lounge

I love wearing flip-flops. My feet can breathe. I can spread my toes. It’s also a great excuse to treat my feet to a pedicure — one of my favorite guilt-free pleasures. Unfortunately, most pedicures involve harsh chemicals including formaldehyde — also used to embalm dead people. Do we really want to put that on our toes? No, according to the U.S. government, which recently added formaldehyde to a list of known carcinogens as reported in The New York Times. Most nail polishes contain formaldehyde as well as other unhealthy chemicals. Back in 2008, I blogged about vegan nail polish which isn’t tested on animals but also does not contain harsh chemicals.

Avoid These Harmful Ingredients

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is a plasticizing ingredient banned for use in cosmetic products in the European Union. DBP is a potentially developmental and reproductive toxin that may cause a broad range of birth defects. (definition from SpaRitual’s web site)

Formaldehyde is a colorless, toxic, potentially carcinogenic, water-soluble gas, CH2O, having a suffocating odor, usually derived from methyl alcohol by oxidation: used chiefly in aqueous solution, as a disinfectant and preservative, and in the manufacture of various resins and plastics. (from

Toluene is a colorless, water-insoluble, flammable liquid, C7H8, having a benzenelike odor, obtained chiefly from coal-tar and petroleum. It’s used as a solvent in the manufacture of benzoic acid, benzaldehyde, TNT, and other organic compounds. (from

The list of vegan nail polishes has grown since I blogged about this in 2008. (Yay!) What is even  more exciting is that more nail salons are carrying these healthier* and cruelty-free options including my new favorite, Treat Nail Lounge in Evanston.

Vegan Nail Polish

No Miss Nail Polish
Earthly Delights
Essie (found in most nail salons)
Honeybee Gardens
Peacekeeper Cause-Metics (some colors are vegan)

If your favorite salon doesn’t carry a vegan option, bring your own. Most salons will be happy to use your polish, and you can easily do touch-ups at home prolonging the life of your well-deserved treat.

*Extreme good health would most certainly avoid pedicures all together. The chemicals in the polish (even the less harmful brands mentioned above) seep into the skin (our bodies’ largest organ) when applied to the nails, and other chemicals used in the process, such as nail polish remover, seep into our lungs when we breathe them. An alternative would be to have a pedicure sans polish. Treat yourself to the nail trim, buffing, and foot/calf massage and then show off your shiny, naked toes. Men can also take advantage a pedicure sans polish and enjoy well-groomed feet.