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Decoding labels and ISO 16128 standards.

16 February, 2022 3 min read

We’ve outdone ourselves...again. Our latest nail polish formulation has upped the ante when it comes to substance and style. Not only is it breathable, beautiful and made with 83% plant-sourced ingredients, it’s 77% natural according to ISO 16128 standards. While all those stats are lovely, they can seem a little confusing, especially when you’re missing the industry or category context. We’re here to help bring you up to speed on what all those percentages mean - for us, for you, and for our industry.

What is nail polish?

Sounds simple, but when you think about it, great nail polish needs to uphold some pretty sophisticated qualities. The formula needs to stick to the nail and stay there. It needs to be smooth and it needs to store well for repeat use. Historically, nail polish was made from a mixture of beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes and gums. While all of these products were naturally sourced, they weren’t vegan, cruelty-free or entirely sustainable.

Today, nail polish is made using a film-forming polymer (to create a smooth surface layer on the nail), dissolved in a solvent which keeps the formula fluid. When applied to the nail, the solvent evaporates, leaving a smooth coloured film behind. The film forming polymer can be synthetically created or naturally-derived; which is where we come in.

At Kester Black, we believe our beauty products should not come at the cost of people, animals or our environment. So we’ve spent years researching more sustainable plant-based polymers and natural solvents free from petrochemicals, that offer breathable, shiny, pigmented results without harming our bodies or the world around us.

Our Next Gen Nail Polish is our latest success story from the Kester Black lab. Free from twelve of the nastiest chemicals normally found in nail polish, this formula swings well above its average, manufactured in a world class ISO 22716 GMP facility. It is 77% natural according to ISO 16128 standards and 83% of its ingredients are derived from plant sources.

What’s in a number?

The difference between these percentages is based on the certifications of our suppliers and more rigorous global standards. Our raw material suppliers class 83% of the ingredients in our base nail polish formula as certified bio-sourced, derived from plants like cassava, marshmallow root extract and sugar cane. However, more strict global standards (ISO 16128) class our formula as 77% natural. The ISO 16128 standard recognises and quantifies the natural content of cosmetic ingredients and finished cosmetic products. Put simply, when it comes to natural creds, we rank high on all fronts.

What’s ISO got to do with it?

Founded in 1946, the ISO (the International Organisation for Standardisation) is an independent, international, non-governmental organisation that develops International standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. And yep, the acronym is in an odd order because their name is actually derived from the Greek 'isos', meaning equal - so wherever in the world you are, these standards are equally applicable.

Using plant-based ingredients means that these products are kinder to your skin, and won’t harm our waterways when we’re through with them. And these percentages are so high, because there’s little waste involved in the making of our innovative products.

Even the way our nail polish is manufactured meets some pretty impressive global standards. Specifically the ISO 22176 GMP standard which guides the production, control, storage and shipment of cosmetic products - GMP literally stands for Good Manufacturing Practices and a job well-done.

What else do I need to know?

Our nail polishes are high-achievers which means they compete with salon-quality manicures, delivering a chip-free, high-shine finish in just two coats. We lean on natural UV inhibitors (not benzo’s) to prevent nail yellowing, relying on renewable resources to fuel our earth-friendly formula. This is the polish of the future, setting the benchmark for beauty brands and beauty lovers everywhere.


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