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La Jolla Mom

What Is the Appropriate Age for Kids Nail Polish?

BY La Jolla Mom

My daughter started asking for nail polish at age three. We were at a lovely boutique called NuboNau in San Diego where I needed to pick up some organic lipstick. My daughter was with me and spied the beautifully-displayed tub of non-toxic Piggy Paint nail polish. I said fine.

She picked green Piggy Paint and was so jazzed that she asked me to paint her toes right away. I brushed the four toes peeking out of her sandals green and we proceeded to go to lunch with our friends. No big deal.  Then, she fell walking out of Islands and skinned her elbow, knee and hand. To calm her down enough to get into the car, I bribed offered to paint her fingernails, too. She was instantaneously silent and happy. I told her that if she was the slightest bit fussy about anything for the rest of the day… I would take it off.  The end result was dream behavior.

She’s been wearing kids nail polish on and off ever since.

Non-Toxic Nail Polish for Kids

Whatever you do, don’t put traditional nail polish for adults on young kids, especially if they’re still in the habit of thumb or finger sucking. Some adult polishes have formaldehyde, toluene, and phthalates, which can be toxic if they’re ingested. Kids are best with non-toxic water-based nail polishes which also happen to be much easier to clean up if they choose to apply themselves. But even with kids safe nail polishes, it’s not ideal for kids to ingest them.

Piggy Paint is all natural, water-based, eco-friendly, non-toxic kids nail polish so I wasn’t expecting it to have the staying power of normal nail polish.  She took a long bath and a little wore off and, to be honest, I’m glad to know it does.

Here are other non-toxic brands to try (links straight to our affiliate, Amazon, for easy shopping):

You may also want to try removing with a natural nail polish remover. Piggy Paint, at least, soaks off after a while in a bath. I’ve personally worn both Priti NYC and Zoya and feel the need nail polish remover.

Since then, I’ve seen kids of almost all ages wearing nail polish. Though, I’ve heard that some preschools have rules about whether or not kids can wear it.

What age do you think is appropriate to start painting a child’s nails? Do you let them wear it to school?  Please share.

*Photo credit: istockphoto/robertprzybysz

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23 thoughts on “What Is the Appropriate Age for Kids Nail Polish?

  1. I’ve been painting my daughters piggies since she was an infant….now, like your daughter, she is a ‘finger sucker’ so she is not allowed to have it on her finger nails unless it’s a special occasion (i.e. Birthday). Most of the girls in her preschool class also wear painted nails. I personally think it’s cute and completely harmless, especially with the ‘piggy paint’.
    .-= Tutus and Tantrumns´s last blog ..The Easter Birthday Bash =-.

  2. Pingback: Piggy Polish Goes on Toes! Nail Polish "Hello Sunrise"
  3. I’m sure it is a hard balance – but sounds like you have the right goals about it – not as a “how can I make my toddler as materialistic as possible” but as a fun motivator.

    Of course I know nothing about parenting!
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..Changes =-.

  4. My girls LOVE to get their nails painted (2 & 4 years old). I think it looks cute I just have to keep them still until it dries.

  5. Really??? nail polish??? why is this society in such a rush to turn our LITTLE GIRLS into teenagers/adolescents so fast? lip gloss, jewelry, the shorts that are just TOO SHORT etc…. why can’t we just let our little girls be exactly what they are??? absurd.

    1. Thank you for this post!!! I have ten-year old twins who want to grow up way too fast. The hard thing is that a lot of their friends do. We explained to them that there is no rush to grow up and that they got to middle school. Glad to have found some support!

  6. exuse me but i need to tell you something an infant CANOT wear nailpolish yet i mean they have such young nails they should at least be 11 to use it there nails could turn yellow and become brittle and crack because its too harsh on their nails

  7. I think middle school (12 years old) Some think its girly and cute to let little girls start polishing nails at young ages. I think you are allowing them to grow up fast. In their minds they are doing a grown up act, then they want colored lip gloss and make up and these things begin to make a child feel grown and I believe it causes them to mature faster and can later be a problem to try and slow them down. I personally do not have any girls, but I have seen this in daughters of my friends and it has shown a negative effect. One specific teen is now always dyeing her hair without moms permission, polishing her nails dark or loud colors and she wears large HOOP earrings and short shorts….. She is interested in smelling and looking good for the BOYS…. NOW mom is wondering where did she go wrong…. I think…. mom let her grow up too fast. It’s a personal preference, but I would want my little girl as natural for as long as possible 🙂 Good luck parents out there!

    1. When girls try to fulfill the societally-expected role for women which they can see in any piece of pop culture (i.e, eye candy and sex objects), we’re all, “Oh no! Children grow up too fast!” It’s never “Oh, no, children are being presented with shitty gender roles to grow into! Maybe we shouldn’t give our money to pop culture that perpetuates those shitty gender roles!”, just “Children are trying to fill those shitty gender roles TOO SOON. Let’s judge parents who are tired of fighting to keep those shitty gender roles at bay without any support from society at large.”

  8. I think it has to be a balance of it all… Make up, short shorts n nail polish and kids growing up so fast… Those things don’t make them grow up any faster those are just trends. Your relationship with your kids is the most important. If you just buy all these things to cover a lack of relationship then that’s a recipe for disaster. Our teenagers are in trouble in this generation sometimes coz I think most parents are focus n driven to provide stability with providing material things and are over worked and no longer focusing on the relationship we need to maintain with our kids. Like everything it’s balance. Your daughter who wears nail polish at a young age isn’t DOOMED for skankness lol that’s ridiculous!! I have four kids ages 15, 11, 6 and one turning 1 soon 🙂 trust me
    I know it’s the relationship you build with your kids that count 😉 there’s worse things than short shorts, nail polish n makeup in the world that can hurt and damage our kids futures… And our best weapon against that are the values, relationship and love we share with our kids
    <3

  9. Sounds like we think a lot alike. I too forgot what age a baby transitions to toddler and then to big girl! I wrestled with the dilemma of nail polish for Lil S who is 4. I eventually settled on only water-based and a light color. AND we only use it for “special occasions” as well as the occasional bribe, I mean incentive. 🙂

  10. I think it’s fine. BUT, do try a water-based PEEL OFF nail polish. Bo-Po (by Worx Toys) is a good brand, as is Ally Kats. Those formulations are nontoxic and safe and need no remover to take off.

  11. My gosh. The post is about NAIL VARNISH. not short shorts or make up or whatever. My little girl wears nail varnish because she loves my collection and asks if she can wear it. She is a four year old who wears nail varnish at times that does not mean we are forcing them to be older than what they are. Short shorts…make up…different story.

  12. In all honesty living in a family that thinks if you were nail polish at a young age makes you think your more mature and want to were some life clothing in the later years made me relize how (I don’t want to say stupid but) stupid that they think little girls will suddenly think that, oh nail polish I’m a grown up now !, Because in my experience I never felt that way all I thought was , I wanna make my nails look pretty , and , why can’t I were polish when my cousin or sister is?, I never thought that all of the sudden I’m a grown . This is just my prefrence so be free to argue with me

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