Trace elements were determined in 27 brands of nail polish using INAA so as to estimate the impact of nail polish remainders when using (finger, toe) nail clippings as a bioindicator for epidemiological studies. Fe was found to be present up to almost 1.7% in one brand. No unambiguous correlation between trace elements and color was established, though transparent polish has the lowest trace element concentrations. An estimate of the maximum effect (no removal of the paint) indicates that over-estimates of some trace element levels in nail with more than 200.000% may occur. This study showed that if nail clippings will be used to study trace elements, very high demands have to be set to the efficiency and selectivity of the cleaning procedure.