Natural Nails for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 2008

Natural Nails for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
By Annie B. Bond

Plastics have snuck up on us in the most unexpected places, including our bodies.  Who knew that the ingredient to make plastic soft , known as phthalates, are found in perfume oil solvents and the resulting fragrance, paper coatings, adhesives, printing inks, air fresheners, and nail polish? We might have thought to look at our plastic food packages, but air fresheners?  Nail polish?

Phthalates are recognized hormone disrupters and as such have been linked to breast cancer as well as prostate cancer. A recent study by the Environmental Working Group, found phthalates in the bodies of every single girl tested for the pollutant.

It occurs to me that it would be great if we could start signaling to other women our support of living a nontoxic, breast-protective lifestyle by making a statement with our nails. We can contribute to a greater awareness about how plastics can cause breast cancer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month by eschewing nail polish with a natural manicure. There are some phthalate-free nail polishes on the market, but they are far and few between. Unless you live in a big city, they have to be ordered on the Internet and therefore aren’t practical for most people.

Natural manicures also look very beautiful.  You can inspire your friends by getting one and proving that “going natural” can be just as, if not more, beautiful. Before appearing on a TV show, I went to my community’s most natural salon and asked them to give me the best natural manicure for the event. I knew my hands would be shown frequently on the program because I was mixing DIY formulas. I wanted my nails to look great, and they did! My nails looked practically luminous and were stunningly attractive.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I will share with you instructions on how to give yourself a natural manicure, as reported in my book Better Basics for the Home.

Natural Manicure
Nail file (emery board or metal files)
Organic apple cider vinegar
Orangewood manicure stick
Fruit or nut oil (almond or avocado, for example)
Fine pumice-stone sand stick
Smoothing file
Buffing chamois
Moisturizing cream

File, wash and soak nails, soften cuticles, clean and shape cuticles
File in one direction only, and always do this when your nails are dry. Wash your hands and soak in warm water or a fruit acid solution such as buttermilk or organic apple cider vinegar, before applying a cold-pressed fruit or nut oil into the cuticle area near the half-moon at the base of the nail. Use the blunt end of an orangewood manicure stick to gently push the cuticles back from the nails.

Sand and buff nails
Dry your hands completely. Sand and polish the top of each nail with a fine pumice-stone sand stick to remove any ridges. Do the same thing with a fine-grit block. Once the ridges are removed, smooth the top of the nail with a smoothing file and a buffing chamois. You’d be amazed at how shiny your nails will look following these steps, almost as if you were wearing a clear polish. You can choose a more natural, less-shiny matte finish if preferred, by not using the finest grade buffing files.

Massage your hands with a moisturizing cream or lotion.

I encourage you to join me in promoting a nontoxic, breast-protective lifestyle by making a statement with our nails. Help spread the word about natural manicures. Consider having a natural manicure party with your friends. Invite some teenagers so that they in turn can teach their friends.

It’s hard to live a plastic-free life, but research points to the potential health risks caused by exposure to phthalates. As we honor the thousands of women who have been affected by this disease and work to increase awareness among thousands more, give some thought to limiting your use of plastic products. What better way to start than with a relaxing manicure?



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