Beauty Hurts (my soul)

October 2, 2007 at 3:34 pm 5 comments

You know that feeling when you realize you’ve done something selfish and wrong, and you shake your head and sigh in self-judgement? That’s how I’ve felt for the last two days, as I’ve looked down at my keyboard and seen this:


Nail polish. Pretty, perhaps. Toxic? Most definitely. (And yes, that’s my work keyboard, I’m blogging from work, please don’t tell my boss).

I went to a party over the weekend that required fancy dress, so I decided to go all out and paint my nails. In high school I used to paint my nails practically every night (seriously – I must have brain damage at this point from huffing all those fumes).  Nowadays I only do it once in a while, generally in the summer time when sandal season comes around and I’m feeling self-conscious about my ugly feet. A little pink paint on my toes helps to distract others from noticing the New York grit crusted between them.

Still, even if I don’t use nail polish as much as I used to, I’m pretty sure that using it at all is an ecological sin. And that’s why I get that guilty knot in my stomach and that twisted, disappointed expression on my face whenever I look at my keyboard (and I’m not much of a typist so that happens quite a lot).

Nail polish is nasty stuff, indeed. It’s made up of chemicals that not only smell bad but also might cause cancer, and then when your bottle dries up and you throw it away the whole mess ends up in a landfill, where it slowly breaks down and leaches pure evil into groundwater which is then fed to babies and kittens and all sorts of innocents. And it also requires the use of this crap:


Which, as indicated by this image, is really, really nasty. It’s so volatile that if you leave a bottle of it open for a few minutes all the liquid will evaporate. I know this from experience. And it burns and leaves a red mark if you rub it on your skin (also from experience).

So I’m turning my guilt into action, and ordering a bottle of “green” nail polish from these folks. I’ll let you know how it turns out…


Entry filed under: guilty displeasures. Tags: .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Helen  |  October 4, 2007 at 1:31 am

    I feel guilty about nail polish for another reason. Whenever I walk by nail salons & see all those women getting their nails done I think – if only we spent our money on something useful. I’ve dreamed of having an event at work called “Manicures for Charity.” We could do good and have pretty fingers to show for it.
    Now, I do my own nails (when I get around to it). I’ve never had a pedicure. Something about those tubs of water…

  • […] 11, 2007 As you may recall from one of my recent posts, I’ve been exploring the notion of nail polish as a tool of the devil. In an effort to keep […]

  • 3. Teresa  |  March 1, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    I usually regret painting my nails as well. I think that, if well groomed, natural nails can look very beautiful. I don’t know how you feel about sunlight, but the right amount will sort of bleach the tips to a lovely white; Not that I’ve had much experience with this, as my nails are usually quite stubby. I haven’t been able to grow them out until recently. But the real reason I wanted to post was to tell you that your hand looks exactly like mine. I was a little freaked out when I ran across your hand photo in a random web search.

  • 4. emily  |  March 3, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    well, since this is a nonperfect society, i believe that yes its bad stuff to put back into the environment, but so is all sorts of things. I think we should just enjoy this. we have this for a reason and if u got nails… flaunt them with beauty. paint ur nails. feel good about it. BE HAPPY:)

  • 5. lina  |  November 19, 2008 at 10:05 am

    i suffocated from the smell and sometyms it feels as if my lungs are burning..but i still could not resist doin manicures..they look just nice..and if only they sell odourless and toxicless nail polish coz nail polish ruins our nails too!


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