Spectraflair... To use or not to use?

This is an article that we researched about a year ago in response to UK and EU based inquiries concerning a popular pigment called Spectraflair.


Spectraflair - To use or not to use? That is the question. This holographic pigment has enabled indie polish makers globally to create some eye catching holographic polishes. So hotly debated is Spectraflair we felt that it deserved a devoted article.

So what is all the fuss about?



Why the fuss?

Over the past several months we have had many inquiries from indie polish makers about Spectraflair and if and when when we would sell it. Initially we were really excited about stocking this product as we felt that it would give indie polish makers more choice and variety. We tested small amounts in our bases and were pleasantly surprised by the impressive linear holo effect achieved. In the United States, this pigment continues to be extremely popular and has transformed holographic nail polish with its impressive, linear, rainbow holographic effect. This led us to start the process of sourcing large quanties for intended sale in the EU.
However, much to our disappointment, it was not long before we ran into some issues concerning the use of Spectraflair in the EU.

The commonly heard objections to using Spectraflair is that it has been used in car paint or that in powder form it is harmful to the respiratory system. These objections may or may not be true, but our recent investigations reveal that these are not the main reasons why the EU Regulations find its use in cosmetics problematic.

Below you will find an excerpt from the MSDS for Spectraflair that has been prepared by the company that makes the stuff – JDSU.

From the ingredients list below we can see that Spectraflair is composed of Aluminium, Propylene Glycol (only used in wetted flakes) and Magnesium Fluoride and some other substances in limited amounts. So which one of these ingredients is causing so much concern with the FDA and within the EU? According to manufacturers data sheets Magnesium Fluoride accounts for over 65% of the total composition of Spectraflair. Therefore most of Spectraflair pigment is made up of Magnesium Fluoride.


What is Magnesium Fluoride?

Magnesium Fluoride is used in oral products to protect the teeth against decay. From the 1970s toothpaste containing fluoride resulted in a decline of tooth decay in Europe. However in the US fluoride present in water, infant formula and foodstuffs combined led to an overexposure of fluoride causing flurosis particularly in children.

What is Fluorosis?

From our investigation according to the World Health Organisation

“Ingestion of excess fluoride, most commonly in drinking-water, can cause fluorosis which affects the teeth and bones. Moderate amounts lead to dental effects, but long-term ingestion of large amounts can lead to potentially severe skeletal problems.................Clinical dental fluorosis is characterized by staining and pitting of the teeth. In more severe cases all the enamel may be damaged........Chronic high-level exposure to fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis. In skeletal fluorosis, fluoride accumulates in the bone progressively over many years. The early symptoms of skeletal fluorosis, include stiffness and pain in the joints. In severe cases, the bone structure may change and ligaments may calcify, with resulting impairment of muscles and pain.


Acute high-level exposure to fluoride causes immediate effects of abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea and vomiting. Seizures and muscle spasms may also occur.”

Ref - http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/fluorosis/en/

The above makes it very clear why on toothpaste packaging there are warnings related to children and the recommended amount of toothpaste usage. Does “pea-sized amount (tooth paste)” sound familiar?

So this all seems very extreme and what does this have to do with Indie polish makers?

Well magnesium fluoride it seems is of great concern to the powers that be in the EU.

As a result of the risk of fluorosis and the toxicity of Magnesium Fluoride it is stated in the EU Cosmetic Regulations that Magnesium Fluoride can only be used in dental hygiene and oral products at a maximum concentration of 0.15% . In fact Magnesium Fluoride is listed in the EU Cosmetic Regulations -



Check out the restrictions for yourself by following the link - http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.details_v2&id=87619


There is no mention of approved use in nail polish. Therefore according to the EU Cosmetic Regulations which govern cosmetic manufacture within the EU, Spectraflair which is over 65% Magnesium Fluoride cannot be used in nail polish products legally.

After our research we were very frustrated with this as we were looking forward to buying large amounts so that customers could use this product.