Deciphering Nail Polish Formulas

May 1, 2013 | Contact Author | By: Eric. S. Abrutyn, TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc.
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Title: Deciphering Nail Polish Formulas
nail polishx plasticizersx solventsx resinsx pigmentsx base coatx
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Keywords: nail polish | plasticizers | solvents | resins | pigments | base coat

Abstract: The fingernail or nail plate is a complex matrix comprising closely packed keratinized epithelial cells or onychocytes—cross-linked cysteine bond matrix proteins containing inorganic elements such as sulfur as well as calcium, sodium, iron, aluminum, copper, etc.

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E Abrutyn, Deciphering Nail Polish Formulas, Cosm & Toil 126(5) 314 (2011)

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The fingernail or nail plate is a complex matrix comprising closely packed keratinized epithelial cells or onychocytes—cross-linked cysteine bond matrix proteins containing inorganic elements such as sulfur as well as calcium, sodium, iron, aluminum, copper, etc. In addition, the water content of a normal nail plate is typically between 10–30%, which acts as a plasticizer to the nail plate, providing increased flexibility. The thin layer of skin or cuticle at the base of fingernails protects the nail root and bed from environmental irritants and microorganisms from entering the nail fold surrounding the nail.

Various formulas have been developed to treat and decorate the cuticle and nail area. Moisturizers, exfoliants and serums, among others, target the cuticle to improve the condition of this thin layer of skin. Meanwhile, products such as strengtheners, ridge fillers and polishes are applied to protect, strengthen, smooth and impart color to the nail plate. The present discussion will focus on the components of typical nail polish formulations.

Key Nail Color Components

The key components for nail color cosmetics1 include polish consisting of a base coat, color, topcoat and nail- drying products, which can be applied separately or in specialized one-step products. As noted, nail polish is used primarily to protect and/or beautify nails, and consumers typically judge its performance by wearability, ease of use, gloss and application—e.g., drying time.

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Table 1. Elysambre nail polish

Table 1. Elysambre nail polish

Elysambre nail polish: Elysambre nail polish (see Figure 1 and Table 1) is touted as containing no parabens, toluene, formol or colophane and has reportedly not been tested on animals.

Table 2. Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish

Table 2. Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish (see Figure 2 and Table 2) is said to offer the five steps of a manicure in one product by acting as a base coat, strengthener, growth treatment, color and topcoat.

Table 3. Erre Due acetone-free nail polish remover

Figure 3. Erre Due acetone-free nail polish remover

The Erre Due acetone-free nail polish remover (see Figure 3 and Table 3) has been formulated with emollients to protect, hydrate and care for nails while reportedly removing even the most persistent polish.

Figure 1. Elysambre nail polish

Figure 1. Elysambre nail polish

Elysambre nail polish: Elysambre nail polish (see Figure 1 and Table 1) is touted as containing no parabens, toluene, formol or colophane and has reportedly not been tested on animals.

Figure 2. Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish

Figure 2. Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish (see Figure 2 and Table 2) is said to offer the five steps of a manicure in one product by acting as a base coat, strengthener, growth treatment, color and topcoat.

Figure 3. Erre Due acetone-free nail polish remover

Figure 3. Erre Due acetone-free nail polish remover

The Erre Due acetone-free nail polish remover (see Figure 3 and Table 3) has been formulated with emollients to protect, hydrate and care for nails while reportedly removing even the most persistent polish.

Biography: Eric S. Abrutyn, TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc.

Eric S. Abrutyn, TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc.

Eric S. Abrutyn is an active member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, a Cosmetics & Toiletries scientific advisory board member, and chairman of the Personal Care Products Council’s International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) Committee. Recently retired from Kao Brands, Abrutyn founded TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc., a personal care consultancy. He has more than 35 years of experience in the raw material supplier and skin and hair care manufacturer aspects of personal care.

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