I haven’t had my nails polished in probably a decade. Oh, I’ve had delightful non-polish mani-pedi’s, but I’ve avoided the polish out of principle. But this past weekend was my daughter’s wedding, and I thought, “Oh, what the heck, I’ll go for it.” And while I don’t necessarily regret it, I realize that I am good and done with nail polish forever.

As I said, the manicure part is great. And I go to an eco-salon (Lux, in Bethlehem, Pa.) where all the polish is vegan and nasty chemicals free. But the first sign that nail polish wasn’t for me was that you had to wait 15 minutes before doing ANYTHING after the nails were done. Wait…15 minutes?! I started adding up in my head all the time that would be over a lifetime, time that could be spent doing something more fun and more productive — even if it were just waiting without having to worry about ruining your nails.

And then there was the smell. Apparently, removing whatever doesn’t make a nail polish vegan and the most serious chemicals (there were three bad guys listed on the label) isn’t enough to remove the smell that makes nail polish, well, smell bad.  Even the next day I could smell it. It made the skin on my upper lip itch, which is always a sign that I am near something toxic.

Then there is all the time I spent staring at my own nails, asking myself things like, “Was it worth it?” “Does this make me more or less attractive to my husband?” “What about that cute cousin of the groom — does he notice my nails?” (“Wait, he’s only 21!”) And other random, unnecessary thoughts that actually keep me from being truly present in the moment. I wonder if I will trip and fall walking down the aisle because I will be so busy looking at my own weirdly colored nails rather than where I’m supposed to be looking. They are just a sparkly pink, but honestly, it’s not natural. In fact, it’s a distraction.

So after the wedding, it’s coming off, and I’m going back to my old natural-nail self. No regrets. But I’m done with nail polish for good this time. Now…if only I could convince my teenage daughter. But I guess each woman has to come to her own conclusion about these things. I’ve come to mine.

Related Links:

This article was reprinted with permission. For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.
I'm done with nail polish!
Maria Rodale sticks to manicures, but skips the color.