Nail painting can be traced back more than 5,000 years to India, where henna was used to polish nails. And nail polish itself has been around since the Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D.), made from gelatin, beeswax, Arabic gum, and dyes obtained from henna, berries, and fruits. Today, conventional nail products are loaded with toxic chemicals-a far cry from those used centuries ago. Fortunately, several manufacturers have developed glossy, long-wearing polishes made without harmful ingredients. Here's a roundup of our favorite natural products for beautiful, nourished nails.
Repair brittle, broken, or weak nails with Nature's Plus Nutrient-Activated Ultra Nails Nail Strengthener. Each application to the nail and cuticle fortifies and conditions with calendula, lavender, tea tree, cucumber, aloe vera, protein, and vitamins. It's formaldehyde-free and nonirritating.
Pacifica 7 Free Nail Color is formulated without dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, xylene, parabens, camphor, resin, or animal byproducts-all toxic to your health. Choose from fun and flattering shades such as Pool Party and Pink Moon.
Get UV protection plus glossy color with No-Miss Nail Care Nail Polish. This quick-drying polish is moisturizing, nonyellowing, and chip-resistant. Choose from more than 150 colors, all free of chemicals including toluene and formaldehyde. Try their new shades, from left: Letter M, No. 493, Letter J, and Letter L.
Soft & Sandal-Ready
Give dry and cracked skin the boot with ShiKai Borage Therapy Foot Cream. The new thicker formula contains therapeutic levels of borage oil, an omega-6 fatty acid that helps relieve dry and itchy skin. It's ideal for soothing and healing severely dry skin caused by diabetes.
Smooth cuticles and strengthen nails with Bee Naturals Cuticle and Nail Oil. Brush on this quickly absorbed blend of pure olive oil, jojoba oil, castor bean oil, grape seed oil, and vitamin E. The scent is heavenly and comes from lavender, lemon, and tea tree essential oils. Available in bottle or dial-up brush dispenser for purse or travel.
Healthy nails, healthy body
Do you have soft, brittle nails? This can stem from using toxic nail products and/or indicate low keratin. Eating a protein-rich diet and supplementing with biotin can help. Ridges in nails are associated with iron deficiency. And nails that split and crack have been linked to thyroid issues and psoriasis.