Is the water-based and non-toxic Acquarella the ultimate halal nail polish? Did you know that nail polish can be one of the most toxic cosmetics products you can buy? The chemical smell is a good indication that these products are not healthy, but various studies confirm it. A lot of your favorite brands contain what is called “the toxic trio” – formaldehyde, toluene and Dibutyl phthalate (DBP). These poisons have been linked to asthma attacks, birth defects, developmental and reproductive effects, cancer, dizziness, headaches, rashes and other allergic reactions. Some brands are claiming to be toxic free, but unfortunately just because the label says a polish is toxin free doesn’t mean it’s safe (click here for more info). Nails are porous, so whatever yo place on them goes directly into the bloodstream. I love polishing my toes, but I hate the chemical smell of nail polish and I don’t want to expose myself to toxins. There are some scary ingredients in these products so I decided to search for a brand that was completely chemical free. Muslim women have been raving about “breathable” and “wudhu-friendly” nail polish, getting as excited about these as the health-conscious do about non-toxic ones. We got in touch with Acquarella, a water-based nail polish label based in Arizona, to get the lowdown on their product range that has been approved by Mufti Omar Dawood of Islamic Lifestyle Solutions, a non-profit organisation based in South Africa. We wondered how an American company came to the decision to produce “halal” nail polish. It began with Saaima Moola, their exclusive distributor in South Africa. She explained, “Acquarella has always been breathable, permeable, non-toxic [and] free of chemicals of animal origin. Being a cosmetologist, knowing, learning and studying the ingredients that we use so freely in all our cosmetics was a concern to me.” On a mission to find products that “Muslim women could use with a clear mind”, Saaima’s research brought up a few products, one of which was Acquarella. After a year of laboratory tests, she found that “water definitely passes through the product to touch the nails to validate wudhu”. On their end, Acquarella’s internal testing concluded that it takes four minutes for water to seep through to the nail.[i] “Acquarella proved to be the best of the lot, in all aspects. Permeability was my main concern, [but it also] passed all the other tests: durability and gorgeous colour palette.” The company’s international liaison personnel Mark Deason explains that the difference between Acquarella and traditional nail polish lies in the ingredients. To form a film on nails, Acquarella uses acrylic copolymers instead of nitrocellulose, which “suffocates the nail plate”, and it uses water as a solvent instead of hazardous chemicals like toluene. Because it is water-based, Acquarella is best removed with its own water- and plant-derived polish remover, which does not dry or crack the nails and cuticles. “There’s no denying that water-based nail polishes are better than conventional ones since water is the most preferable solvent – your body is primarily made of it. Frequent exposure to toxicants is significantly reduced without [the presence of] questionable solvents, whether plant- or petrochemical-derived.” Acquarella’s seasonal colour inspirations come from their director of public relations Polly Deason, who spent many years in the retail cosmetics segment. For example, La Luna was actually a colour inspired for Eid. Luckily for Muslimahs around the world, Acquarella accepts international online orders – you only need to worry about which colours to choose.
Choosing a water-based nail polish is doing your nails a favour in the long run. Why not make it a gorgeous and “wudhu-friendly” one? Visit Acquarella’s website for more information and customer reviews.