Nail Polish Inventor

In the spring when the weather warms up, open-toed shoes emerge from the closet and women begin to ponder their toes. An array of new colors invariably tempt us to apply a coat of shellac to brighten things up. Most women know that the chemicals in nail polish aren’t the best thing we could be applying on the tips of our digits. But cosmetics being what they are, and women being what we are – well, we make sacrifices.

Featured in an NPR story, Gera explained the importance of Inglot’s “breathable” polish to Muslim women:Recently, an inventor passed away who had developed a non-toxic, breathable polish that has particular meaning for Muslim women. Associated Press reporter Vanessa Gera was preparing a story about Wojciech Inglot and his O2M – for oxygen and moisture – polish when the 57-year-old chemist and cosmetics executive suddenly died in February.

Though the Muslim holy book, the Quran, does not specifically address the issue of nail polish, some Islamic scholars have said that water must touch the surface of the nail for the washing ritual to be done correctly. Some Muslim women might put nail polish on after finishing the last prayer of the day before going out, and then take it off again before dawn prayers…

In November, an Islamic scholar tested the O2M polish against a traditional polish and found that it does indeed allow water to seep through. After the results were posted on a blog, Inglot Cosmetics noticed a significant rise in sales and questions coming from Muslim women. Now the company markets the polish as “halal certified” – tested and approved for Muslim use.

In an interview not long before his death, Inglot said he had health-conscious women in mind when he created the breathable polish and was surprised by the appeal to Muslim women.


Written by Susan Soper. Soper is the author of ObitKit™, A Guide to Celebrating Your Life. A lifelong journalist, she has been a reporter with Newsday, writer for CNN, and Features Editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she launched a series called "Living with Grief."