quimica das coisas


Nail polish is an interesting example when you want to show the importance of chemistry in our day to day life, through unexpected examples…

Well, did you know that nail polish is a true chemical recipe when studied in detail? Do you want to see?

In addition to nitrocellulose, which was initially used in automotive paint and forms resistant and long-term films, we have:

- Adhesive polymers (resins) to ensure the good adhesion of nitrocellulose to the nail surface,

- Plasticizers, embedded between the polymer chains to make the film flexible, preventing it from cracking or flaking easily.

- Pigments (or dyes) and bright particles to give some colour and glow effects.

- And to prevent these particles from accumulating in the bottom of the bottle, manufacturers add thixotropic thickeners… hum… thixotropic? Well… These are highly viscous substances at rest but become more fluid when shaken.

Oh! And in good varnishes we have ultraviolet filters so that the sun doesn’t change the colour of the pigments.

All these components are dissolved in a volatile solvent such as butyl acetate or ethyl acetate, which evaporates when we apply the nail varnish, leaving a bright and colorful film on the nail. It’s to these solvents is that we owe the characteristic smell of… varnish!

Don’t be afraid of so many chemicals with strange names. In fact, over the years the biggest changes to the nail polish formula were introduced for security reasons – with some unhealthy ingredients being removed or replaced – so we can say that the current nail polishes are perfectly safe, tested chemical recipes.

Chemistry at your fingertips, bringing more charm into your life!

To know more about the chemistry of nail polish, visit our website quimicadascoisas.org or look for us on Facebook.