How damaging are your nail polishes?

June 16, 2011

I have learnt this little trick from an Asian Beauty TV show and I was absolutely astounded so I would like to share it with you all. It’s a really simple and fun test to find out how much acetone your nail polishes contain! We all know too much acetone will make your nails thinner, weaker and more yellow right?!


All you need is a piece of polystyrene foam (also known as packaging foam), get your nail polishes in different brands ready, then place one drop of each on the polystyrene foam… Don’t sneeze, don’t blink your eyes..because you don’t want to miss out what is going to happen. The foam will start to dissolve – the depth of the hole will be a good indication of the level of acetone the polish contains.

So here is my little test, I tested it out with a mix of high-end and drugstore brands, as well as the nail polishes that are formulated with 3 FREE (Formaldehyde, Toluene, Parabens free)that are non toxic. The results are..*drum rolls*….haha I don’t want to say in case the cosmetic companies come and shoot me. I’ll leave it to your girls to test it out! However I do want to mention that my favorite brand Chanel didn’t fail on me, it has the shallowest hole!


So will I stop using nail polishes? Probably not because I love them too much, but I certainly know which brands I will be buying more 🙂


grace June 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

what a great post! esp since i’m too lazy to try this myself; so curious as to which was the worst! haha. i LOVE your blog btw – discovered it a few weeks back… i check it pretty much every morning from all the way here in southern California – really love your taste and take your opinions and reviews to heed!

Reika June 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Thank you so much Grace, such kind comments like this always make my day 🙂

flyavsted June 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Now I know what I will be doing this weekend! 😉 Thank you for a great tip! 🙂

Fee June 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Amazing idea, will so have to try this now I’ve seen it! Would of loved to of known which brands made which holes though?!

Fee x

Angela June 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm

WOW!!! This is a crazy trick, I have to try is out. Thanks for sharing.

Anita June 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Wow, I’m amazed! Not that I really need another reason to buy more Chanel polishes..! 😛

emmabovary June 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Soo interesting! Would’ve loved to hear your results though 😉
great idea xx

Jennise June 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Interesting experiment you carried out. Phew, I’m glad Chanel nailpolishes are on the lower end of the spectrum.

Audrey June 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

Interesting, your fun experiment brought me to another serious consideration of lipstick with leads too. i was reading an article one day (sorry, lost the source) and it stated that some high end lipstick have high amount of leads too .

Eileen June 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Thanks for sharing! *runs off to get styrofoam*

Holly Arabella June 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Wow, this is absolutely shocking and a great way to test this out! Who knew it was so easy! Quite unbelievable and I’m hoping my beloved OPI’s arent this bad, glad to see Chanel did okay!

Bini June 19, 2011 at 3:45 am

wow what an interesting technique. i would love to hear about the results though 🙂 i can only test the brands I own and I only own OPI and ChinaGlaze so not much to compare to 🙂

Ruth June 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I think you were misinformed. That doesn’t doesn’t tell you what solvent the nail polish contains, only that it contains solvents that dissolve polystyrene foam Pretty unlikely that it would be acetone, though.

The title is kind of misleading, too, because all you’re showing is that nail polish damages polystyrene foam. Fortunately, neither my nails nor any of the rest of me is made of polystyrene foam. 🙂

Oh, and I suspect that the depth of the holes has more to do with the pigment concentration than the other ingredients.

Julie June 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I don’t think comparing nails & foam is really accurate…I also have a hard time believing polish contains acetone, since acetone eats it.

KLORPh June 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

You should leave the science to the scientists. Unless you’ve got polystyrene nails, I would not worry about the results of this test. The chemicals in nail polish are solvents that keep plasticizers liquid, until the volitile solvents evaporate. Polystyrene is a form of plastic, hence the solvents in nail polish dissolve the polystyrene. Here is a list of solvents and non-solvents of polystyrene

You’ll see a similar reaction when you put mineral oil on latex. Mineral oil would only dissolve your skin if it were made of latex.

Reika June 26, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Hi Ruth, Julie and KLORPH. Thanks for the comments, you all have valid points! Please take this as a fun test and I agree lets leave the science to the experts… As I said I am still going to use nail polishes! 🙂

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