Ökotest Nail Polish Test: “Chanel + Butter London Not Tradeable”

Bare nails have never looked so good: German consumer magazine finds forbidden substance – Phenol – in two of 19 tested nail polishes.

In their press release from February 28, Ökotest, THE independent German consumer magazine, revealed exactly what my headline says – in their recent test, the editors discovered that Chanel’s Rouge Noir and Butter London’s Snog, two nail polish classics by cult brands with high customer loyalty are not tradeable.ökotest-march-2014Intrigued, because constantly asked this exact question: “What are safe nail polish brands?”, I bought a digital copy of the Ökotest March issue and devoured the article called “Painted Green” (“Grün lackiert” – here’s the link to the online version for all the German speakers out there).


So, they’ve tested 19 lacquers and found Phenol in two of them, in a concentration that was too low to kill you yet not compliant with the European Cosmetics Directive. Whoa, right? There was no excellence in the products tested, and just five polishes got a B: Benecos My Secret, Essence 111 English Rose, La Roche-Posay 16 Framboise, a drugstore house brand Rival de Loop #208, and Santé Nail Care Polish #15. Ökotest hasn’t given any A grades because the alternative plasticizers (that are free from phthalates) are not known for being 100% safe yet.oekotest-tested-nail-polishes-1oekotest-tested-nail-polishes-3oekotest-tested-nail-polishes-2Two polishes, Chanel Rouge Noir and Butter London Snog, were found to contain Phenol, Formaldehyde donors, Benzophenone-1. Snog was also notable for containing a plasticizer/fire retardant Triphenyl phosphate, a known contact allergen.

Now keep your pennies, for here are my thoughts anyway.


I liked the choice of nail polish brands (and quite pop colours) generally speaking, but IMHO the staff should have picked brands that claim to be “greener than the average”.

There are Sheswai, Priti NYC, Kure Bazaar, as well as brands that commit to cutting out lots of known toxins, plasticizers and Co. (Korres, Mavala). I’m beyond curious to find out how clean those really are! And aren’t you curious too?”

Another thing: the editors have well explained why there is no such thing as a certified organic nail polish – something I’ve talked about in detail here – but completely ignored the fact that there are solvent-free lacquers out there, the water based ones.
Of course, water-based is NOT natural (unless you define mineral oil as a natural compound because, well, it sorta comes from nature) – but it’s supposedly much CLEANER than solvent-based formulas. Wouldn’t it be a blast to check water-based polishes in a lab, too?

So I addressed the magazine, and the author told me that they have picked widely used brands instead of niche ones for budget reasons, which I could understand to an extent. However, nail polish is like a subculture, and nail art fans have “their” brands of trust.
My second question seemed to have slipped their attention though, because all I got was a scan of an older article – it boiled down to “Scotch Naturals is not natural, thanksforaskingandhaveaniceday“.phenol-in-nail-polish-opener

So what do you think, ladies?
A Kickstarter campaign to test our favourite nichey bottles?

And please always remember:
Nail polish is hazardous waste – NOT domestic waste.


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at BEAUTYCALYPSE.com (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

8 Responses

  1. Who finances the research? Does seem like a good idea to include greener than average brands. Just because something is niche doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

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