Plasticizers are added to nail polish to increase its durability. Plasticizers are chemicals that make a substance more flexible and, therefore, more durable. The plasticizer found in nail polish is most often composed of camphor, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), trimethyl pentanyl, and/or triphenyl phosphate.
However, as of 2006, the use of dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is less common because some suspect that the chemical is an endocrine disruptor. In fact, the European Union has banned all use of DPB.
Although they do not increase durability, nail polish is composed of three other main ingredients. These ingredients are polymers, pigments, and solvents. Polymers serves as the foundation of nail polish. The polymers in nail polish make the polish hard, shiny, and adhesive. The pigments give each polish its unique color. The solvents help the polish spread onto the nail.