Is Sally Hansen Nail Polish Toxic? (We Ask The Experts)




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One of the good things that are happening in the world is that people are becoming more health-conscious. More of us are asking more of the important questions when it comes to products that we use every day like our nail polishes. That is why I will help you to find out if Sally Hansen Nail Polish is toxic. 

Sally Hansen nail polishes contain toxins such as parabens, triphenyl phosphates, and benzophenones which pose serious health risks to humans. Some of these toxins are listed as carcinogens and can affect respiratory, reproductive, and digestive functions in the body. 

I will discuss whether Sally Hansen contains Formaldehyde and describe the toxins that are present in the nail polish. I will also discuss its plant-based lines that offer nail polishes that are free of toxins. Lastly, I will discuss the effectiveness of nail polishes that tout the claim of excluding more than eight toxins from their lines.  

Does Sally Hansen Have Formaldehyde?

Fortunately, Sally Hansen does not have Formaldehyde in its ingredients. Formaldehyde is a flammable chemical that is often used in nail polish to enable the formula to harden. While this chemical is produced in our bodies it isn’t enough to be harmful to us.

Exposure to Formaldehyde from the environment is however very harmful. Short-term health effects include burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat, respiratory reactions such as wheezing, skin irritation, and nausea.

Possible long-term effects include cancer risk. In 2011, this chemical was identified as a known human carcinogen. That is why it’s best to use nail polishes that do not include Formaldehyde. 

Toxins Present In Sally Hansen Nail Polish

Although Formaldehyde is not present in Sally Hansen Nail Polish, there are many other toxins present that are harmful if you inhale it frequently or allow it to come in contact with your skin. I’ve listed three of them below:

Sally Hansen - Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish, Coconut Milk (Sheer)


Parabens are a group of ingredients that include methylparaben and propylparaben. They are often used in nail polishes and other cosmetic products in order to prevent bacteria and fungi from growing inside them. While this is a useful function, the risk of breast cancer far exceeds its benefit. However, companies like Sally Hansen still use them in their cosmetic products. Frequent exposure to parabens can also disrupt hormones in our bodies that manage fertility and the functioning of our reproductive organs. 

It has been so widely used that studies have even detected traces of parabens in nearly all samples of bodily fluids that were taken from adults in the USA. 

Triphenyl Phosphate

Triphenyl Phosphate is used as a plasticizer for nitrocellulose which is a substance used in nail polish to form the film on the nail plate once the solvent in the polish is dried. 

Aside from causing irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, Triphenyl Phosphate can cause skin allergies resulting in rashes. Repeated exposure to the chemical may lead to damaged nerves as well as a damaged liver and kidneys. You may also experience poor coordination in the arms and legs. Despite this, it is still often used in nail polishes. 


Benzophenone is listed as a possible human carcinogenic. This means that it is one of the chemicals that may have cancer-causing properties. It is used in cosmetic products like Sally Hansen’s to protect the product from damage due to exposure to UV light. 

It is also linked to endocrine disruption and toxicity in the organ systems. Women and infants are the most vulnerable to the health hazards of this chemical. Which is worse news when you consider the fact that a majority of women are exposed to the substance.

Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure. Nail Polish Line

All hope is not lost in Sally Hansen. If you have enjoyed their products up until hearing of all these health hazards, then you’ll be ecstatic to know that Sally Hansen has developed a new line that is free from toxic substances. This is their Good. Kind. Pure. Line. A nail polish that is perfect for vegans as it’s free from animal testing and has complete plant-based ingredients. They come in the form of nail colors and topcoats. If you’re looking for a nail polish that doesn’t have substances like Formaldehyde, this is the nail polish for you. 

Sally Hansen - Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish, Pomegranate Punch, 0.33 Fl Oz

In fact, it is a Sixteen Free nail polish which means it does not include sixteen toxic ingredients that are usually found in nail polish. Some of these toxins that Sally Hansen advises that this brand of polish is free of are: 


Toluene is a colorless liquid that turns to vapor when it is exposed to air. The substance is what gives nail polish its silkiness. The very familiar nail polish scent you pick up when you walk into a nail salon comes from Toluene. If nail polish containing Toluene is not used in a space that is properly ventilated, you are putting yourself at risks of experiencing relatively mild reactions such as irritated eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, and confusion to major long-term issues such as pregnancy loss, damage to female reproductive system and numbness in the hands and feet. 


Camphor is often responsible for the shine that you see in nail polishes. While Camphor doesn’t pack quite a punch like other toxins, it still causes a lot of health risks. It sometimes causes severe allergic reactions when it comes in contact with skin. Even if you only inhale the substance you may experience headaches and nausea. 


Xylene, like Camphor being exposed to even a small amount of the substance, can cause headaches and dizziness. If used repeatedly, it can affect the proper functioning of your respiratory system as well as your kidneys. 

Ethyl Tosylamide

This is a plasticizer that is used to help nail polish solutions to form a film on your nail plates. It also helps with the formula sticking to the nail. Although it has been banned from being used in cosmetic products in the EU, it is still widely used in American cosmetics. Coming into contact with this substance exposes you to a high risk of eye and skin irritation. 


While I think it’s great news that major toxins like formaldehyde and toluene are being excluded from nail polish brands, I think brands like Sally Hansen stretch to include other low-risk toxins so that they can appear to be a more health-conscious brand, all while still having major toxic products like Parabens in their regular line. For this reason, I would have to say that until Sally Hansen removes high-risk products like Benzophenones from their major lines, the entire brand may still be seen as toxic. 


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