Beauty magazines regularly print lists detailing how long consumers should keep cosmetics before tossing them. Nail polish is usually included because of its tendency to separate or thicken with age. Readers are also warned against sharing mascara or similar products to avoid transferring infections such as pinkeye. While these cautions are good advice, they lead many clients to question whether using the same polish and polish brush on numerous clients is safe. Some clients have even filed lawsuits against salons, claiming that polish caused nail fungus or other health problems. What’s the definitive answer to the question, “Can nail polish spread bacteria and disease?”
As head of research and development for Creative Nail Design, Doug Schoon has given testimony that has lead to the dismissal of such lawsuits. Schoon confirms, “Microbes need food to survive, and no component of nail polish is edible.” In addition, he says, “Reuse of polish brushes isn’t a health issue. These brushes aren’t designed to be cleaned in water-based cleansers, nor are they suitable for immersion in EPA-registered disinfectants.”
When state board regulations call for disinfection of brushes, they’re referencing hair and/or facial brushes—not brushes used in nail polish bottles.
Paul Bryson, head of research and development for OPI Products, is also clear on the safety of nail polish. “Polish brushes can’t transmit infection because microbes need water to survive, and polish is waterless. Plus, the solvents in nail polish aren’t exactly friendly to microbial life!”
So if clients bring up the question of polish safety, reassure them that not only will that beautiful shade of lacquer look great, it’s also 100% safe!
Image: Patricia Oliveira