Dear Budget Fashionista,
I am very sensitive to metallic jewelry (I think it’s a nickel allergy), but I want to wear jewelry. I’m not allergic to gold, but it’s expensive and tends to be boring. Where can I find cute and trendy affordable jewelry?
The Dreaded Nickel Allergy
Nickel allergies are fairly common, and they’re one of the main causes of contact dermatitis. Fashionistas often self-diagnose the condition when ear lobes turn red and itchy after wearing a pretty pair of inexpensive earrings.
While red, irritated skin is the most common symptom of a nickel allergy, it’s not the only one. When you’re allergic, contact with nickel may also result in skin dryness that mimics the appearance of a burn. Or you might even see bumps or blisters. If these symptoms are new, go see a dermatologist to confirm that nickel exposure is the culprit.
Avoiding Nickel Exposure
Although nickel is typically associated with jewelry, it’s also found in everything from drawer pulls and cutlery to belt buckles and zipper pulls. Simply put, you can probably identify sources of nickel all over your house if you tried hard enough. And once your immune system develops a problem with nickel, it will remain that way forever.
Where to Shop Nickel Free Jewelry & Accessories
Once you’ve confirmed your nickel allergy, the first course of action is to update your shopping habits. There are many nickel-free jewelry options available at big box retailers and department stores, including Target, JCPenney and Nordstrom. You can also find affordable and trendy pieces at many online retailers. Your mission is to look for a nickel-free label before you buy. If there isn’t one, then pass on those darling earrings. You’ll surely find another option that’s just as cute and made without nickel. It’s really that simple.
To give you a headstart, I went shopping for of-the-moment pieces that are also nickel-free. Here are my top picks.
Chunky Stone Necklace
Chunky stone necklaces are always amazing, especially when they’re as eye-catching and vivid as this Halogen Dual Strand Beaded Necklace ($59). This thoughtful design allows you to make a bold statement without any skin irritation! Try it with a solid maxi and Grecian sandals for a cool, summery look.
Bauble Bar Earrings
Everything at BaubleBar is hypoallergenic and free of nickel. Good or bad, it can be a free-for-all once you discover that everything they carry is a steal and comfortable to wear. Keep these Tasma Drop Earrings ($42) in mind if you want something that channels your inner goddess yet is approachable enough to dress up your basic jeans and white tees.
Nickel Free Bangle
Sometimes all you need is a single chunky bangle to punctuate your favorite outfits. This Simply Whispers Bracelet ($23.98) instantly elevates the simplicity of a relaxed white button-down and a pair of jeans and beautifully accents a floral dress. The hypoallergenic design is ideal for anyone who suffers from a nickel (or even lead) allergy.
Nickel Free Belt
Love yourself a fierce belt? Sometimes you just can’t resist adding something seriously sharp to your look, like this Nickel Smart Attitude Combo Belt Set ($40.95). You’ll receive a pair of fabulous belts designed for every occasion: one simple version that goes with everything, and a grommet-laden design that shakes up a basic outfit easily.