What’s the deal with breathable nail polish?

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

We’re all about inclusive beauty (praise be to Fenty), so naturally the idea of “breathable” nail polish got us excited. Some beauties have been asking about it, and as your resident #BeautyBestie, we’ve got you covered.

Breaking it down…

Before the creation of breathable polish, devout Muslims were not allowed to wear nail polish because it interferes with wudu, an Islamic cleansing ritual done before prayer.

Traditional nail polish variations – while pretty and perfectly pigmented – are packed with ingredients and molecules that don’t allow water and air to pass through the bold, clear and nude layers of colour we adorn our nails in.

Since the polish prevents water from penetrating to the surface of the nail, Muslims can’t fully cleanse, so they don’t wear nail polish – or they have to regularly remove their polish before prayers. And that’s not exactly ideal as there are around five prayer times per day. So that’s the reason we don’t commonly see Islamic woman wearing nail polish! Some wear henna, while others just choose to keep their nails product-free.

Fast forward to the present, a special formula has been created that allows water and air to pass through to the nail, and the omission of bad guys like toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) – A.K.A stuff you really don’t want on your nails, ensures nail polish is not damaging.

Breathable polish in SA

While the concept is not new (Inglot released a range in 2013), nail care experts ORLY have released a range of must-have colours that are pretty and most importantly, suitable for all beauties.

And while the Inglot O2M Breathable Polish basically changed the nail polish game, they don’t have Halaal certification in South Africa. ORLY, on the other hand, was recently #HalaalCertified and we’re loving the selection of guilt-free polish.

The Breathable polish allows you to rock all your favourite shades (for those who don’t dare leave home without perfectly painted nails), without the damage – and an option to actually treat your nails while you paint them! So it’s not just Muslim nail polish enthusiasts who can benefit.

What’s the science behind it all?

ORLY’s nail polish has similar technology to contact lenses, which allows oxygen and hydration to pass through. Since water is able to penetrate the polish and reach the nail bed, Muslim beauties can wear it and still perform their cleansing ritual. Their collection includes Treatment+Colour and Treatment+Shine options that allow you to apply colour and treat your nails at the same time!

We simply love the names of the international #Halaal Orly collection ranging from “What the Fatima” and “Haram-Bae”, to “Ig-Noor the Haters”, and “The Perfect Amani-cure”. Granted we don’t have it in South Africa just yet, but we love the direction the beauty industry is heading.

Nourishing nail products to try:

1) Sorbet Acetone Free Hydrate Nail Polish Remover, R46

2) Ingot 02M Breathable Nail Enamel, R199 each

3) The Body Shop Nail Filer Crystal, R85

4) ORLY Breathable Treatment+Color and Treatment+Shine, R165 each

Written by

Tatum is an all-round digital being with a penchant for lipstick and a slight shopping addiction. After completing her Honours in Communications and Media she was thrust into the world of publishing and has since worked for some of the biggest magazines in South Africa. As a writer, editor and social media consultant, she’s all about spreading body positivity and a revised attitude towards beauty.

Want to write a comment? Sign in here sign up now
Tell your friends

    While reading about nail polish, also got an interesting lesson on the Muslim religion. Thank you for the article and the prices and description of the product <3

    1 year ago •

  1. Tanya

    Love that these companies can cater for Muslim women as well

    1 year ago •

  1. Lara-Anne Derbyshire

    Excellent! I can’t wait to try this nail polish as I have been searching high and low for something like this. It seems to be non toxic? IS it comepletely free of any harmful chemicals including DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor? If so they should really promote that as it is very difficult yo find in SA!!!

    2 years ago •

  1. Zwanga Avhatendi Mahwasane

    wow nice,I will definitely try it.

    2 years ago •

  1. TamIam Cole

    I love sorbet. I’m currently using the green bottle of nail polish remover but I think I might give the hydrating one a try.

    2 years ago •

  1. Palesa P Makuru

    I really love the concept. With this it will ensure healthy nails even with the polish

    2 years ago •

  1. Philida Van Graan

    Wow, first time I hear about breathable nail enamel. I’m definitely going to try it.

    2 years ago •

  1. Melandi Booyens

    Sorbet is so trustworthy with their nail products and I love that it is mentioned in this article.

    2 years ago •


    Wow the pinks are really pretty!

    2 years ago •

  1. KhanyiN Ngcobo

    Interesting article, maybe this will change my mind about nail polishes , I’ll try it out

    2 years ago •

  1. Humaira Motala

    Anything Sorbet is simply amazing !

    2 years ago •

  1. Fayyaadhah Bux

    These breathable nail polish actually comes in 18 different colors if i am correct .

    2 years ago •

  1. Fayyaadhah Bux

    These products look amazing .

    2 years ago •

  1. Fayyaadhah Bux

    Would love to try out this product .

    2 years ago •

  1. Carol Thomas

    Hellelujah!! I have been waiting for this product for years!!

    2 years ago •

  1. Chandni Jivan

    WOW!!! I’m definitely going to try this

    2 years ago •

  1. Fana_kw Karani-wookey


    2 years ago •

BeautySouthAfrica - your pre-shop stop for all things beauty

Beautysouthafrica.com is South Africa’s most comprehensive online beauty magazine and your pre-shop stop for product information and reviews. From the latest international make-up trends to the hottest new products on the market, we offer insights into the glamorous world of beauty. Join like-minded beauty fanatics in our loyalty program and earn points, trial beauty products and share your experiences.

Become a beauty addict!

Get great deals and climb the ladder to a Gold Star!


Sign In