Sometime last year I learned that Zoya has this program around Earth Day where you can send in your old polishes in exchange for 50% off brand new ones! The brand new ones are big-5-free, vegan and cruelty free.
I held onto this little kernel of knowledge—somehow—and when April rolled around this year I was on it. I gathered up all the ones I didn’t want to keep. Some were typical drugstore brands like, L’Oréal and Covergirl. Others were OPI. There were even some vegan ones I received with the Vegan Cuts beauty box that I just thought were fugly.
Out with the old and in with the new.
The best part is they will properly dispose of the nail polish, responsibly, so I don’t have to.
With over 300 shades rooted in a healthy philosophy, it’s no surprise that we’re committed to helping you green your beauty routine! That’s why each year we give you the opportunity to exchange any old nail polish bottles that you may have laying around your house collecting dust, or that are not BIG5FREE formulas, for brand new toxin-free* Zoya Nail Polish shades. You can rest assured that your unwanted polishes will be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. Helping the earth is easy… all you have to do to get started is pick out your NEW Zoya colors at www.zoya.com, follow the instructions below and checkout. Let us do the rest!
What colors does Zoya offer?
They have a gazillion choices! Well about 300. That’s a lot though! I was a little familiar with them, but only their glitter side which was super matte, like it sinks onto the nail bed and doesn’t look like nail polish unless you use a top coat. I was excited to find out they offered more traditional finishes as well.
To find the perfect nail polish(es) for you, you can sort several different ways; by color family, color tone, and color finish (cream, jelly, metallic, satin, glitter, matte, pixie dust, and special effect).
I went with a mix of bright summery and fall mauve-ish colors. I will wear any type at any time of the year though.
Pippa is a gorgeous bright yellow. Some of the other yellows I have are very sheer and require several coats to get an opaque finish. This beauty only required two.
Heidi is a beautiful pink-red-orange hue and I think it would look great paired with some of Rainbow Honey’s glitter finishes.
Josie just screams spring time in the garden. It’s a soft, but bright looking green. I already have plans to use it with Josie for a watermelon themed nail. These names. It’s like I have children now.
Aubrey, have you been behaving?? Aubrey is like a perfect grape or merlot purple. It dried darker than I expected, but still lovely.
I haven’t tried Zanna and Flowie yet, but Zanna is a soft purple-pink while Flowie is described as a light brown creme with peach overtones.
First up was Pippa and Aubrey. Did I get their names right? Yes! That same night I realized I matched our pillowcases. 🙂 Good color combo I guess.
What to do with the old polish?
Zoya is really nice when it comes to the old polish. They use the honor system when offering the 50% off for the exchange. Meaning if you can dispose or donate the polish, they will still give you the discount.
On the other hand, you can also mail it to them. I had never mailed nail polish so after a little looking into it, I felt very discouraged. There were a lot of negative reviews in random forums saying their post office wouldn’t take it. Turns out it was super easy. I wrapped them up with paper—you could also do bubble wrap—and put them in a box. Took it to the local post office and when they asked the dreaded flammable question I said yes, it’s commercial nail polish. They verified it was less than 24 ounces. God yes. He marked it with a special label and we were done. I think the most important thing is that they ship it ground which is why you have to go in the post office versus online.
What does 3-free or 5-free mean?
In case you are wondering, as I was too, I wanted to cover what 3-free and 5-free mean. I knew they were bad, but didn’t know anything about the specific names or chemicals.
3-free means there is no toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or formaldehyde. Carcinogen anyone? If a brand claims 5-free it means their nail polish is also free of formaldehyde resin and camphor.
Toluene “is a colorless, water-insoluble liquid with the smell associated with paint thinners. It is a mono-substituted benzene derivative, consisting of a CH₃ group attached to a phenyl group.”
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) a commonly used plasticizer shows up in children’s toys as well as nail polish. The European Union has banned the use of this substance in cosmetics since 1976. Major brands in the United States—though not required by law—have been eliminating this from nail polish since 2006. Behind. The. Times.
Formaldehyde. First I think of dead people then the amazing show Six Feet Under. This bad boy is a colorless pungent gas in solution made by oxidizing methanol, according to Wikipedia. It has been described as highly toxic to all animals (that means us too), regardless of method of intake. Ingestion of 30 mL (1 oz.) of a solution containing 37% formaldehyde has been reported to cause death in an adult human. Water solution of formaldehyde is very corrosive and its ingestion can cause severe injury to the upper gastrointestinal tract. [source]
Formaldehyde resin is a polymer that creates a shiny tough nail finish.
I don’t have a full understanding of camphor yet, but the Wikipedia page is fascinating. It has culinary uses in Asia and India. The United States has limited use to 11% because in large doses it is poisonous. Read more.
So yeah. After all of this I’m really glad veganism has lead me to ‘healthier’ cosmetics. It’s also worth mentioning what has been in the news lately surrounding The New York Times investigation, The Price of Nails, which has led to quick changes with hopefully more coming.