REVIEW : Suncoat water based nail polish – it doesn’t stink!

Nail polish is among one of the most toxic items in your cosmetics drawer. Many brands that are widely available contain the toxic trio of cancer causing and mutagenic substances- toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde. I knew nail polish wasn’t great for you but looked into it more when I realised just how often my daughter was using it. What I found out was quite terrifying (see below).

Now, I didn’t like my chances of talking either my daughter or fellow belly dancers out of wearing nail polish, so the solution Water based Nail polish purple– Trial out water based polish!!

Suncoat Purple Haze Water-based Nail polish


It comes in a cylindrical bottle with a brush attached to the lid as most nail polish does. It is easily applied as it is less viscous than regular nail polish and it doesn’t stink to high heaven! The lack of so many volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) means that sensitive folk are not forced outdoors to put paint their nails. I still sat on the veranda to do the first coat but then came inside and did the subsequent coats while watching TV. No one complained of the smell. It does have a slight scent but comparatively it is negligible. The bottle is sturdy, plain and functional.


I used purple haze on my toe nails and the colour is not quite what I expected. It is not really like the sample swatches. This is one of the stronger colours in the catalogue by Suncoat. The first coat was very light – more of a pale pink. As each coat went on the colour intensified and almost changed entirely. I did 3 or 4 coats – I lost count (lol). I would normally only have the patience for 2 coats with the regular stuff but as this stuff didn’t smell and dried quite quickly, the extra coats were not too burdensome. It turned out to be more of a reddish undertone with a purple sheen. Not what I expected but a reasonable intensity and pleasant enough colour.

It's really hard to take a decent picture of your foot! Polish after a weeks wear and tear.

It’s really hard to take a decent picture of your foot! Polish after a weeks wear and tear.

After wearing it for 3 days going about my regular routine with no chips, I decided to give the water based polish the ultimate test – white water rafting! OK, so maybe I am exaggerating just a bit, I just happened to be wearing the polish when I got invited and the white water rafting ended up being more like floating down a river on inflated tyre tubes – but the nail polish was submerged in water for hours and subjected to constant rubbing from the rubber shoes I was wearing.  Result – the nail polish did rub off a bit on the big toes. I touched it up at home though and while not quite as even as the original coats, I still felt the result was acceptable.

Overall it probably wasn’t quite as durable as regular nail polish but I also had not applied the recommended clear sealer to add durability.

As long as you have let this product cure for a few hours before going on stage – I can’t see why it wouldn’t be effective. It would be a disappointment for those that were after a really intense purple colour and may not be the best choice for someone that is emerged in water a lot (ie swimming instructors, for example) but for a regular person or a bellydancer I think it is worth the change. Your health is just too important and we need to send a message to cosmetic companies that they need to clean up their act.

Overall, it is quite a different experience to use but a pleasant one. I intend on switching to water based colours after this trial. It might be harder to pick out what the ultimate colour will be but being able to apply it and not get a head ache makes it worth the perseverance to me.Water based nail polish colours


From their website “It is possible to make a 100% natural nail polish but it would wash off too easily in water. Suncoat is not 100% natural but it is about as natural as you can get. It contains 70% water and only 1-3% natural colourants (earth pigments). It contains NO phthalate of any kind, no toluene and no formaldehyde.” Purple haze is also vegan.

Ingredients:  Purified water (~65% in formula), acrylate copolymer / styrene-acrylate copolymer (~28% in formula) Other ingredients (all under 4%): propylene glycol n-butyl ether, dipropylene glycol dibenzoate Pigments/colorant: may contain [+/-] mica (CI 77019), titanium dioxide (CI 77891), ferric ferrocyanide, iron oxide (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), chromium oxide (CI 77288), carmine (CI 75470)

I love that they include their ingredients and approximate %’s. This kind of transparency is admirable. The major ingredients are all no to very low toxicity based on current knowledge. The colourants are a bit more toxic but still classified as low toxicity for non ingestible products such as nail polish.

My summary: 4/5

Product: Suncoat Purple Haze Water-based Nail polish

Effectiveness: 4

Packaging: 4

Safety: 4.5

Suitable for day wear: yes,

Suitable for stage: yes

Price: $9.25 AUD online as a part of a 2 for 1 deal (ie $18.50 all up) that is still currently available. Also for Australians, when you spend $80 + postage is free. International buyers through Suncoat pay $9.99 US plus postage (postage free when you spend $100 +)

Where can I buy it: Australians online at Off Grid Australia and internationally online through Suncoat  it is also available in some shops so check the suppliers pages at either Suncoat Australia or if you want to hold the product before you buy it.

I have no affiliation with Suncoat.

Liked this review? Jade publishes natural make up reviews for home use and stage mostly on Mondays.  Follow the blog so you can save money and buy what works best.Suncoat nail polish

What’s so bad about regular nail polish?

The chemical solvents in conventional nail polish, after repeated use, can discolour nails and make them brittle and weak. This is not an issue with water-based nail polish but that is not the half of it…..  

I doubt I am the only one that gets a headache when I smell nail polish, the stuff is loaded with Volitile Organic Compunds. Here is a rundown of the big 3 nasties. Some companies have taken steps to eliminate these from their products, but what they say they do and what they actually do can be 2 different things! 

Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, also an asthmagen, neurotoxicant and developmental toxicant

Dibutyl phthalate– Phthalates are of concern in humans because they have the potential to disrupt hormone levels in the human body and potentially cause birth defects in children and cancer in humans. They’ve also been demonstrated to cause liver toxicity in rats and are thought to play a role in childhood asthma. Phthalates are of such concern that they’ve been banned from use in cosmetics in Europe.

Toluene is also used for paint thinners and explosives and has been known to affect the function of the central nervous system. Exposure to toluene can cause headaches, fatigue and dizziness. This chemical in nail polish has also been linked to kidney and liver failure.

What you may not realise is that your finger nails are porous and can absorb any chemicals you plaster on to them. If you are pregnant the Environmental Working Group recommends no polish at all, it’s too risky.

What are your thoughts on nail polish? Please comment below.

Egyptian History fun for Belly Dancers! – Nail Polish

Well, it’s no wonder Belly dancers that have a thing for nail polish – it seems the Egyptians have been doing it for millennia!

Cleopatra Dendera

Cleopatra and her son Caesarion – relief at the Dendera temple Egypt – by Jade


Wish Nefertiti was showing her finger nails!

Apparently the tradition of polished nails came from the Chinese in 3000BC. The Ancient Egyptians also liked to colour their nails – often with Henna. Cleopatra painted her nails red as did all Egyptian Royalty and was apparently most fond of a deep red. While the famous beauty Nefertiti preferred a brighter ruby red. But it was not just the gals. Military commanders would paint their nails in the queen’s favourite colour to show loyalty!!

Julia Gillard

Aust. Prime Minister Julia Gillard usually wears clear polish but here she is sporting a brownish hue.

It would be weird if that was still done today. Australian PM Julia Gillard normally sports a clear polish but here she is with a coloured nail polish. So I started wondering who is the head of the Australian Army and what would it look like if he followed the Ancient Egyptian practice of showing his loyalty. Unfortunately there are not too many photos of him showing his hands but I found one .. applied a little photoshop and we can see (just)…. he he he 🙂 Found a better one and had to add it – because I am silly! (For the record – all pictures of the army chief look extremely manly and he is not wearing any polish I could see.) Also, kilt wearing Scottish soldiers used to wear ladies stockings in trench warfare to protect themselves from gas attacks – not at all belly dance related but seeing tough soldiers in nail polish just kind of reminded me of it. 😉

“Damn it! if I knew I was meeting the army chief today I would have painted my nails to match” – thinks this soldier.

D Morrison

‘Like your nails, I wish Obama wore nail polish too’ says US Secretary of the Army John McHugh, meetings with Australian Chief of Army LTGEN David Morrison AO

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