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Just like makeup, putting on nail polish is a form of expression. You can choose between a multitude of colours and even sport a nail art design! (Psst, we just did an article on how you can achieve Harley Quinn inspired nails if you’re a big fan of Suicide Squad!)

While it’s always fun to change nail colours and designs often, we’re pretty sure you’ve heard how you should give your nails a break in between manicures and colours or designs. The reason is to allow your nails to “breathe” and recover after being covered up with polish for approximately a week. Nails are made out of layers dead keratin, so technically they don’t “breathe”, but using nail polish constantly can cause it to weaken and eventually become brittle.

Breathable nail polish?

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Nails require exposure to water and oxygen for it to remain healthy. For you ladies who absolutely love and enjoy wearing nail polish, but are afraid of the nails becoming dry and brittle, you have an option to use breathable nail polishes! (Yay!) Regular nail polishes are made with molecules that are packed tightly together, which stops water and oxygen from penetrating through to reach the nails. Breathable nail polishes, however, are formulated such that the molecules are packed in a staggered structure which allows water and oxygen molecules to pass through.

Other uses of breathable nail polish

Other than it being another way to let your nails “breathe”, it’s also said to be “wudu’ friendly” for our female Muslim friends. Wudu’ or ablution is the cleansing ritual Muslims do before he or she performs prayers. In order for the ablution to be valid, it is said that water must reach all parts of the skin and nails. [1]

Because breathable nail polish is said to allow water and oxygen to pass through to reach the nail, technically, that means it should be safe for Muslim women to wear for prayers (Usually they can only put it on when it’s that time of the month because Muslim women are excused from doing their prayers, or when they only intend to put it on for a short period of time before removing it again for the next prayer timing). This is also debatable and up to the discretion of each individual. [2]

To the fun stuff… Where can I try one!

Unbeknownst to some, breathable nail polishes are more readily available than you think!

1. Inglot O2M

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When you do a quick Google search on breathable nail polishes, chances are the Inglot O2M polishes will be the first ones you see. The line comes in so many colours, you’d be spoilt for choice! They retail at SGD26 each and you can get them from Robinsons JEM.

2. ORLY Breathable Treatment and Color

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This a U. S. based brand and unfortunately, it can be hard to come by in Singapore. You can check out the colours they have here.

3. Zahara Breathable Nail Polishes

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A brand created by Singapore entrepreneur Amira Genuid! The breathable nail polish collection comes in nine different shades and a top coat.

They retail at SGD18 each, and you can get them online at www.zahara.com.

4. Tuesday in Love

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They’re a Canadian-based brand that focuses on creating water permeable nail polish and Halal certified cosmetics. Unlike the other brands, the Tuesday in Love nail polishes are actually peel-able. So you don’t need to remove them using nail polish remover or acetone.

Check them out on their online store. They are also available at Qoo10 and retails for SGD20.

5. Maya Cosmetics Nail Polish

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They retail at SGD21 each and are available to purchase at Emblaze.sg

6. Guill D’ Or Breathable Nail Polish

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Hailing from Europe, this nail polish is quite hard to get a hold of. You can find out more about them here.


[1] While it is not mentioned in the Quran that water also has to reach the nails, Muslim clerics have cited that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once told a man to re-do his ablution because water did not touch his nail. This leads Muslims to believe that for ablution to be valid, water must reach all parts of the skin and the nail. 

[2] The decision to put on breathable and/or wudu’ friendly nail polish to prayers is to each her own. If you’re comfortable with it, go ahead. If you’re not, then that’s fine too! :) We’re just sharing which other group of consumers find breathable nail polishes useful, other than to allow nails to “breathe” and to stay healthy!