Nail polish is made up of solvents, film formers, resins, plasticizers and pigments. These ingredients are labeled as butyl acetate, xylene, toluene and formalin. Companies including Essie and Butter London use formulations that are free of DBP, toluene and formaldehyde.
Nitrocellulose is another ingredient that is commonly used in nail polish. This ingredient is used to give nail polish its signature sheen, and it's also a solvent. Solvents are used to mix together ingredients, while resins are used to adhere the polish to your nail, and pigments give the polish its appropriate color. Plasticizers are used to prevent any chipping or cracking after the polish has been applied to the nails.