Is nail polish zero waste?

I love nail polish. I love to paint my nails a dark red, and everything I touch and do with my hands is significantly more interesting. I am the kind of person who can actually finish a bottle of nail polish start to finish because I’ll keep my nails painted the same color for months. 

It’s with a heavy heart that I break you the news: nail polish is not zero waste.

Nail polish is essentially a polymer

What’s a polymer, you ask? A polymer is a PLASTIC. Nail polish is made of plastic! The polymer (and a whole bunch of other stuff) is put into a solvent with pigment (color), which keeps the nail polish liquid. The polymer evaporates and that’s how your nail polish dries hard once you paint your nails.

For one thing, there is enough plastic in this world without us adding anymore, especially unnecessary plastic.

When your nail polish chips, these little pieces can enter the environment.

What about 7-free or 10-free nail polish?

Sorry, folks, this is still essentially a plastic lacquer coating for your nails. If you wear nail polish, these might be a good option for you. The 7 and 10 that these polishes are free from are dangerous or toxic chemicals. 7-free and 10-free polishes don’t have these at all. Shelbizzle made a great video about this.

Are you going to wear nail polish anyway?

I did for a while. I learned somewhere (cough, simplynaillogical) that they make peel-off base coats for nail polish. I would use a peel-off base coat, intentionally peel off my nails, and put them in my trash jar. Pretty weird, I know. Do I suggest this? Well, if the option is to mindfully collect the plastic so it doesn’t enter the waterways and nature or not to do so, then yes.

What do you think? Do you know of any zero waste ways to color your nails?