Expert Advice

Nail Hardeners: Formaldehyde or Formalin?

The Nail | July 10, 2011 | 6:19 PM

Nail hardeners are specialized products used to harden or strengthen natural nails. They are distinct, niche products, separate and apart from nail polishes and other nail treatments. Less than one percent of the entire category of nail polishes and nail treatments are nail hardeners. Most nail hardeners use formalin (methylene glycol dissolved in water) as the nail hardening ingredient. Frequently, the name "formaldehyde" is loosely and imprecisely applied, although "formalin" is the current proper chemical name for this ingredient. At present, the labeling rules in most jurisdictions make no distinction, requiring both to be declared as "formaldehyde" in product ingredient listings, despite important differences between the two substances.

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