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How do you know if nail polish is breathable?

As an SEO writer assistant, I have put together this comprehensive guide on how to tell if nail polish allows oxygen and moisture to pass through, also known as “breathable” nail polish. Properly formulated nail polish is important for nail health. Read on for tips on identifying breathable nail polishes, how they work, and recommendations.

What is breathable nail polish?

Breathable nail polishes are formulations that allow oxygen and moisture to pass through the polish to reach the natural nail underneath. This is important for nail health and preventing issues like brittle nails, peeling, and breakage. Traditional nail polishes act like a plastic seal over the nail, blocking air and moisture. Breathable polishes avoid this problem.

Breathable nail polishes achieve this by having a different formulation than regular polish. They are made with lightweight and porous ingredients that allow for ventilation. Many breathable polishes also contain moisturizing ingredients like jojoba oil or vitamin E to nourish nails.

How can you tell if a nail polish is breathable?

Here are the main signs that a nail polish allows oxygen and moisture to penetrate:

  • Labeled as “breathable,” “permeable,” or “7-free” – These terms are a clue that the polish has a ventilation-allowing formula.
  • Light, thin consistency – Breathable polishes often glide on sheer and feel lightweight on nails.
  • Requires frequent touch-ups – The porous formula causes chipping and tip wear faster than regular polish.
  • Dries to a satin or matte finish – The ingredients prevent high-shine and glossy finishes.
  • Promotes nail health – Brands advertise nail nourishing ingredients like vitamins, oils, and hydrosols.

How does the breathable technology work?

Breathable nail polishes work by having porous formulations and using lightweight ingredients that allow oxygen and moisture to pass through. Here is an overview of how they work:

  • Uses lightweight film-forming polymers – Regular polish uses bulky polymers that create an impermeable barrier. Breathable polishes use smaller polymers that leave gaps.
  • Avoids harmful ingredients – Many breathable formulas are 7-free, excluding harsh chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, and DPB.
  • Employs flexible pigments – Pigments like mineral forms of iron oxides allow for a colored polish that moves with nails.
  • Contains oils – Nourishing oils help condition nails while allowing for ventilation.
  • Has a nonglossy finish – The end result is a lightweight polish film that lacks the plasticized shine of regular polishes.

The combined effect is a polish that looks colored and opaque from the surface, but allows oxygen and moisture to travel through micro-channels in the polish. This keeps the natural nail healthy underneath.

Are there drawbacks to breathable polishes?

While breathable polishes promote good nail health, there are some drawbacks to be aware of:

  • Requires more frequent touch-ups – The ventilation makes the polish less adhered and prone to tip wear and chipping.
  • Dries to a matte finish – The porous formula prevents high-gloss finishes from forming.
  • Sheer color results – The pigments and lightweight formula create a more translucent color.
  • Higher cost – Breathable polish formulas tend to cost $2-$3 more per bottle than drugstore varieties.

Recommendations for best breathable polishes

Based on reviews and recommendations, here are some top breathable nail polish options:

Brand Top Polishes Key Benefits
Dazzle Dry Naked Basecoat, Geometric Collection – Allows moisture and air to nails
– Chip-resistant formula
Orly Breathable Treatment + Color – Contains argan oil, vitamin C, and calcium
– Thin and lightweight
Zoya Naked Manicure, Sensible Hue Collection – 7-free formula
– Variety of nude shades
Kiara Sky Dip Powder Starter Kit – Allows nails to breathe
– Long lasting dip powder method


Choosing a breathable nail polish is an important step for maintaining nail health. Look for terms like “breathable,” “7-free,” and “permeable” on the label.hallmarks are a lightweight, thin formula that applies sheer and wears off more quickly. Though not perfect, breathable polishes allow oxygen and moisture to reach nails to prevent damage. Some of the top brand options include Dazzle Dry, Orly Breathable, Zoya Naked Manicure, and Kiara Sky dip powders.

With this guide, you can identify nail polish that avoids a plasticized seal over nails. Instead, quality breathable polishes nourish nails while allowing them to function naturally. Give your nails a chance to breathe with the right polish!