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Can I Paint My Nails While Pregnant? [Is It Safe To Do So?]

If you have recently discovered that you are pregnant then first of all, congratulations! With that being said, you are probably now wondering if you can paint your nails. Is it safe, or could it cause harm to your unborn child?

Having been a recent mother myself, I decided to conduct some thorough research into the subject so that I could be confident and fully aware of any potential risks. I would like to relay that information for you here today.

So can you paint your nails while pregnant? The good news is that you can, so long as you are careful. It is advised that you stick to good quality Nail Polish, free from harsh chemicals and irritants like Formaldehyde and Toluene. Thankfully there are a lot of brands that exclude these chemicals from their formulations. There are also some other best practices and things that you can do like avoiding Acrylic Nails and painting your nails in a ventilated environment.

If you like to paint your nails, you’ll be pleased to know that you can continue doing so while pregnant. Being aware of the toxic elements to avoid when purchasing Nail Polish and Nail Polish Remover will help you protect your baby from any exposure to toxic chemicals. To learn more about the best nail polish and nail polish remover brands to get, read on!

Can I Paint My Nails While Pregnant?

It is safe and possible to use nail polish and nail polish remover while you are pregnant. First and foremost, it is advisable to paint as infrequently as possible and only now and again. Moreover, there are two particular chemicals that are harmful not only to your baby, but also yourself, if you are frequently exposed to them. These are Formaldehyde and Toluene and are unfortunately used in some Nail Polishes/Nail Polish Removers.

Chemicals To Be Aware Of, Reduce and Replace

Once of the best things you can do is to limit the use of, or replace and Nail Polish/Nail Polish removers that you have with Formaldehyde and Toluene. Thankfully all nail products will have a label that indicates what is included in them, and retailers have to make this information publicly available. If you are wondering why you would want to reduce these particular two, here’s why:


Formaldehyde is added to nail products to harden the consistency. If you are to breathe it in, you can experience discomfort especially around your nose, throat eyes, and lungs. There are even studies that have been published that are linking this substance with cancer. (this is why I always recommend Formaldehyde-Free products on this blog).

The one piece of good news is that your body is able to quickly break it down and remove it, so if you was to use Formaldehyde every now and again, your unborn baby should not be at risk. Then again, its best not to take the chance or any risks, especially when Formaldehyde-Free products are not much more expensive. I will be providing you with the best ones in this article shortly.

Also there are specific regulations preventing too much Formaldehyde from being added to products. This lowers your risk, but still a risk exists. Again, I personally wouldn’t want to chance it.


The reason why Toluene is added to nail polish is that it helps the polish to spread more evenly. However, this substance can also cause irritation and potential damage to your nose, throat eyes, and lungs. Ever wondered why nail technicians wear masks?

Studies have even report that high exposure to Toluene can lead to problems with the Nervous System and potentially cause birth defects in an unborn baby.

Don’t panic- you would need to be routinely and excessively taking in Toluene fumes for this kind of damage to take place. But yet again it poses the question – is it worth it?

So if you are a nail technician then you may want to consider your exposure, your workplace environment and maybe even speak with your manager about safeguarding against this dangerous chemical.

Other Chemicals To Look Out For:

DBP (dibutyl phthalate) and TPHP are other chemicals added to Nail Polish/Removal products to make them more durable but you’ll also want to avoid them for the most part. There are links with hormonal disregulation, reproductive issues and other unwanted side effects.

So all in all there are four major offenders you should look to avoid/dramatically limit.

Best Practices When Painting Your Nails When Pregnant

  • Using toxic free Nail Polish and Nail Polish Remover; free from
    Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, TPHP and other known chemicals.
  • Infrequently painting your nails.
  • Airing your apartment/area where you apply Nail Polish before and after applying nail polish to remove fumes.
  • Do not blow on your nails to dry them. Instead, move your hand away from your body at arms length.
  • Refrain from attending Nail Salons and areas where toxic fumes are at high levels.
  • Refrain from wearing Acrylics or any other nail extension that requires use of chemicals (e.g. the Glue)

Safe Nail Polish For Pregnancy

So if you want to paint your nails, it is always advised to stay clear of Nail Salons (filled with dangerous chemical fumes) and also to use non-toxic nail polishes that will be completely safe for your unborn child.

Here are the five best nail polish brands that are completely safe for you to use while pregnant.


Due to its quality, and clean list of ingredients, OPI is often used by Nail Salons. It is a popular brand with a great reputation; OPI polish is very long-lasting and provides a brilliant range of colors. Its also free from the chemicals outlined above

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Sally Hansen

Another reputable nail polish brand that you have likely already heard of. There are countless options in the Sally Hansen range – most notably Miracle Gel, Color Therapy, Complete Salon Manicure and Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear ranges.

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Essie provide a great range of colors at an affordable price. These are all free from the harsh chemicals you are looking to avoid.

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Nailmatics are so keen to reduce harsh chemicals from there products, that they have even created lacquers for kids which are completely toxic free. They even wash off with just luke-warm water so you do not need to use Nail Polish Remover. When your little one is born you’ll even be able to buy the ‘Mum and Me’ adult and child duo polish set.

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Butter London

Butter London provide a great vibrant range of non-toxic polishes. You won’t mistake them due to their iconic bottle and branding.

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Safe Nail Polish Remover For Pregnancy

Now that you know what Nail Polish to go ahead and get, you’re probably wondering how are you going to get it off without the use of Acetone and other nasty chemicals.

Not to worry; you’ll be pleased to know that there are toxic-free nail polish removers too which are suitable while you are pregnant and when you are just looking to take better care of your natural nails.

My favorite to use is the Pure Vitality Beauty Natural Nail Polish Remover. There are absolutely no chemicals making it completely non-toxic. I suggest you take a look and get yourself some!


The joy of pregnancy does not mean you have to forgo painting your nails. Sure there are things you should not be doing and things you should avoid, but if you get the right products then you can definitely still enjoy painted nails that are safe for your unborn child.

I hope you enjoyed this article and I wish you the very best in your pregnancy. Enjoy those newly painted, safe nails!

Here are some other nail guides you may be interested in if you’re pregnant: