12 Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands

The more natural I go with skin care, the more natural I go with everything I put on my body. My latest green switch is nail care. I am a big fan of painted nails.

I was watching a rerun of my favorite guilty pleasure, Gilmore Girls, and Lorelai’s nails were painted this great fire-engine red. I ran to my bathroom, got my fave O.P.I. red and started to paint. Then, I noticed the smell. My husband has what we like to call “dog nose.”This affliction causes him to smell things more deeply and strongly than the rest of us. Problem is, I seem to have contracted it as well, and the nail polish was seriously making me feel like I was going to lose my lunch. And the kicker? It wouldn’t dry. Ever. I think it was the rain.

Whatever the cause, after four hours trying to dry in the evening and a sleepless night spent with my nails sticking to my flannel sheets, I got up and removed the perfect red that was now all smudged and still not dry. The lacquer and formaldehyde smell stuck with me through the night and my nails felt a little bit like someone was trying to peel them off.

I’ve been more aware of healthier lacquer since I attended the Women In Green Forum, but would non-toxic colors really last? Would they come in the shades I like? Would plain old alcohol really remove them? I finally felt like I had the impetus to get over my fears and truly make the switch.


Avoid These 3 Ingredients in Your Nail Polish

There are lots of brands out there that say they are all-natural or non-toxic, but there are three ingredients you are looking to avoid:

1. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

2. Formaldehyde (yes, seriously. In your nail polish.)

3. Toluene

These three have been linked to problems ranging from skin irritation in people to birth defects in animals.

Nail Polish Brands that Exclude The Worst 3 Chemicals

1. Piggy Paint, non-toxic, odorless, kid-friendly, kid-colored, water-based formula.

2. Honeybee Gardens, an alternative to solvent-based nail polish, water-based, odorless, removes with rubbing alcohol.

3. No-Miss, does not contain the three-to-avoid above, and also does not contain camphor.

4. Acquarella, water-based system of nail polish, conditioner, remover and moisturizer.

5. Suncoat, water-based nail polish that has been recognized and honored from the Canadian Health Food Association Expo.

6. Gaiam, Created by New York City’s first organic spa, this non toxic nail polish is free of known carcinogens.

7. Peacekeeper Cause-Metics, created by the Environmental Working Group as the safest paint-based natural nail polish.

8. Benecos, created without the use of formaldehydes, toluene, camphor, phthalates or formaldehyde.

9. Nubar, carcinogen-free nail care products.

10. Safe Nail Polish, non-toxic, oderless, made in the USA.

11. Priti, non-toxic, made without the evil-three and all known carcinogenic ingredients.

12. Spa Ritual, vegan nail lacquers.

Having done my research, I was eager to try some out! I looked at several of the brands for the colors I wanted: fire-engine red; palest of pinks like you’d use for a french manicure; and dark purple-almost black, but not true black. I found what I thought I was looking for at Honeybee Gardens online, and ordered all three colors. Once delivered, the only one that was what I wanted was the light pink, but I saved the other two to give as gifts. I found the red I was looking for by No-Miss in the RWC Whole Foods, and am still on the lookout for the not-quite-black. I recommend buying polish you can see in the store, online photos and different computer screens make it difficult to tell what color you’re really getting.

So how well does the polish hold up and does it really come off with just rubbing alcohol? Fabulously well! And Yes! I gave myself a full mani-pedi on Sunday, and had to remove the last of the pink polish. I used plain old generic rubbing alcohol, probably from Walgreen’s, and cotton swabs (once my bag of swabs is done, I will switch to using cotton rags in stead of disposable cotton balls). I had to rub a little longer to remove all the polish, but there was no stink! Honeybee Gardens and No-Miss both state they are fragrance-free and while they do have a slight odor, it is insignificant and doesn’t smell like toxic paint.

As for the staying power, I have a chip on one nail, but I’ve done dishes, washed a car and moved some furniture since Sunday and I’m impressed with how great the paint looks and stays on. I’m a convert for sure.

Written by Jocelyn Broyles

20 Toxic Ingredients In Makeup and Body Care Products
How to Make Sure What You’re Buying is Cruelty-Free
Does Your Favorite Product Have Hidden Animal Ingredients?


Diane M
Diane Mabout a month ago

Must try these!

Tania N
Tania Nabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing

Char-anna Koblick
Char-anna Koblick3 months ago

great info! Thanks

Christine J
Christine J3 months ago

Great idea to use rags instead of cotton balls to remove polish; thanks for sharing.

Melania P
Melania P4 months ago

This is important, I am guilty of not buying according to this, I only care if they don't test on animals. Sharing as well

Marie O
Marie O4 months ago

You're missing the best one! Bo-Po Nail Polish!
It is water based, non-toxic and peels off.
It is very very kid friendly, my daughter looooooves it! She loves trying to do my nails with it too, and I don't have to worry about it staining or getting stuck on my skin.
Seriously, it is AMAZING.

Jim V
Jim V4 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S4 months ago

thanks for sharing.

joan silaco
joan s4 months ago


Zeresh A
Zeresh Altork5 months ago

Thanks for the article! I love the picture. Where can I purchase that nail polish and the nail decals? Thanks!