"Free / Free of" nail polish



10 / 14 FREE

• What does "Free" mean?

• Which ingredients are claimed as "Free"?

• What can you claim?



Today, many products claim that the nail polish base used to make the finished colour is free from certain ingredients. Therefore, by not including these ingredients in the paint, the product or brand is considered "free" from these ingredients. Making claims about something in the consumer markets should be carefully considered, as marketing accuracy is important to ensure that brands don't make misleading claims of interest to consumer regulators.



The 3 Free and 5 Free definitions commonly offered are an accurate reflection of the current market understanding of these claims. These ingredients are DBP, Toluene and Formaldehyde (3 Free) and then Tosylamide Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor (5 Free). With regard to 7 Free, the additional ingredients that have been removed can be listed as ethyltosylamide and xylene. For reference, we have not had formulas containing these ingredients for the past 12 years and these ingredients are not commonly used in basic nail polish formulas sold by the world's leading manufacturers. If someone claims that these ingredients have been removed, a reasonable person can assume that these ingredients have been there in the past. If the marketer has supplied all of these ingredients before, this is a reasonable claim.


Regarding claims of 10 Free or higher, parabens, triphenylphosphate, fragrances and animal derived ingredients have also recently been reported as ingredients which are "removed" or "free of" in the nail polish. To make these claims, the producer and / or brand would have to demonstrate again that its formula contained these ingredients in the past or that the brand is manufactured without these ingredients.


  1. As far as we know, parabens have never been used in nail polish. Therefore, a reasonable person can contest a claim based on this that nail polish is paraben free.

  2. Triphenyl phosphate was falsely claimed to be "dangerous" or "toxic" after a study specifically published to inform alert users of the use of this ingredient in nail polishes. The "findings" of this study were subsequently rejected by highly regarded experts in the nail industry, because the levels of TPHP measured in nail polish carriers were comparable to those in the general public. This ingredient is not a safety concern with extremely low levels of nail polish.

  3. Fragrances have been used in nail polish (after all, Camphor could be considered an odor to reduce the odor of solvents) but they can be added for effect and are usually listed in the “May Contain” area rather than being a core ingredient. Fragrances are not considered "dirty", especially as currently the vast majority of fragrances are made using internationally compliant EU ingredients for direct application to the skin. Fragrance in nail polish is only used where explicitly requested. PJR Care Nail Polish can provide a statement from suppliers certifying that all international ingredients regulations are met.

  4. Animal ingredients are also a popular topic. Historically, ingredients such as triphenyl phosphate, the dye Guanine, honey based products and even silk proteins have been marked as "animal derived". The claim 'derived from animals' is open to interpretation and once again it is important that all claims can be substantiated. All PJR Care Nail Polish raw materials are based on the principles of Choose Cruelty Free, which excludes the use of raw materials from or produced by animals.

Recent developments in "off-the-market" nail polish have focused on Benzophenone-1 (US) and styrene acrylates (EU). These ingredients have been used routinely in nail polish production for at least 10 years. (Note that only Benzophenone 1 is considered a risk and even then a very low risk. Many other Benzophenone UV protection ingredients are not considered a risk, for example Benzophenone-3). Recently marketed breathable nail polish bases are 5 Free and are also "free" from ethyltosylamide, Xylene, parabens, fragrances, animal ingredients and benzophenone-1 and styrene acrylates. Exactly which of these producers choose to claim is, of course, at our sole discretion.


Aluminum powder is a color effect that has been used in nail polish for decades. It is not considered a risk or requires any regulation in the major cosmetic markets. In addition, the Polyethylene Terephthalate fabric is part of many ingredient lists for polish colours. In fact, this material is PET, the plastic commonly used for many other applications. In nail polish, this substance is used to make glitter. Very fine, coloured PET particles are actually the glitter particles used in the nail polish. This substance has also been used for decades and has no restrictions in the major cosmetic markets.




Cosmetic claims are regulated in Australia and overseas markets by the relevant cosmetic authorities in markets. As with all product marketing, it is important for brand marketers to ensure that the claims are correct and that they can be substantiated in accordance with regulations set by the cosmetic and consumer authorities.


All PJR Care Nail Polish formulations do not contain the following ingredients:

1. Formaldehyde

2. Tosylamide formaldehyde resin

3. Toluene

4. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

5. Camphor

6. Ethyl Tosylamide

7. Xylene

8. Parabens

9. Fragrances (unless requested in perfumed polish)

10. Animal ingredients

Some PJR Care Nail Polish formulations contain the following:

1. Triphenyl phosphate

2. Benzophenone-1

3. Styrene acrylate copolymer

The information in this fact sheet is not legal advice or advice on a professional basis. Contact your technical advisor or lawyer if you need professional advice or legal advice on the matters discussed in this fact sheet.