Lately, I have been receiving many questions about whether water-based nail polish allows water to reach the nails. Many individuals are searching for halal nail polish brands. They wonder whether water-based nail polishes will allow water to reach the nail plates during the ritual wudu wash before prayer.
I would like to address this question as best as I can on a purely technical level. I am not qualified to address the religious aspect. The decision as to whether water-based nail polish is right for your needs should be made on an individual basis.
In order to clarify whether water-based nail polish is water permeable, I contacted a few of the major water-based nail polish brands. Here is what I discovered.
Acquarella Water Based Nail Polish
I spoke with the technical liaison from Acquarella. He explained that if you are wearing Acquarella nail polish and you soak your nails in water for 4 to 5 minutes, the nail polish will lose its shine and become dull. This is an indication that the nail polish has absorbed water. To be even more certain that water has reached the nail plate, you can soak your nails for 10 minutes. To avoid damaging the nail polish, it is important not to rub your nails while soaking them.
Water based nail polishes become harder and less permeable to water over time. If you are concerned about water passing through Acquarella nail polish, it is best to remove the polish and re-paint your nails every 4 to 5 days. It is not recommended to leave the polish on your nails for more than 7 days.
If you want a clearer signal that water has been absorbed into the Acquarella nail polish, it is more obvious with lighter colors, which may turn white, in addition to losing their shine.
Acquarella nail polish has been certified as halal by one certifying council and they are in the multi-year process of obtaining certification from a second certifying body.
Update January 16, 2016: The Acquarella website now addresses Acquarella & Wudu with the following statement:
When we started, making a breathable nail polish was desired as no one wanted to have the yellowing and discoloration associated with conventional products. Our water-based formula is not only breathable, which allows for a healthier nail, but it is also water permeable without being a “peel-off.” The information provided is for interpretation and guideline for fitness of use with Wudu. We highly recommend reading the Acquarella Statement on Wudu and a Letter of Compatibility from Islamic Lifestyle Solutions of South Africa.
Go Natural Water Based Nail Polish
The inventor of Go Natural water-based nail polish responded that they have received many inquiries as to whether Go Natural nail polish allows water to pass through. In order to be able to better respond to these inquiries, they will begin the several month process of testing whether Go Natural water-based nail polish is water permeable.
I will keep you updated when I hear back from Go Natural regarding the results of their tests.
Suncoat Water Based Nail Polish
The Chief Chemist from Suncoat water-based nail polish responded that although Suncoat’s long-lasting nail polish theoretically allows water to pass through the nail polish film to the nail plate, they have not conducted any lab testing.
Another option from Suncoat is their peel-off nail polish, which can easily be removed and re-applied.
Availability of Water-Based Nail Polishes
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