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12 Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands

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. In my jewelry career, that was limited to my toes, as it was pointless to paint my fingernails – they were never long and were in constant use.

I was watching a rerun of my favorite guilty pleasure, Gilmore Girls, and Lorelai’s nails were painted this great fire-engine red. This was about a week before Christmas and I thought, “Perfect!” 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” (thanks to a funny line in an even funnier book, Diary of a Mad Mom-to-Be by Laura Wolf). This affliction causes him to smell things more deeply and strongly and than the rest of us, especially me. Problem is, I seem to have contracted it as well in the few months since we moved back to the states, 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/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 known for years that nail polish and standard polish remover is not terribly healthy for us and even less healthy for the environment, and I’d been thinking for a while that I needed to switch. But would non-toxic colors really last? Would they come in the shades I like? Would plain old alcohol really remove them?

Image from

Hence began my search for non-toxic nail polish. I’ve been more aware of healthier lacquer since I attended the Women In Green Forum this past September, but haven’t been painting my nails much (or at all, really) and haven’t had the right impetus to pursue researching it. Until now.

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.

Polishes that exclude all three of the above-listed 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, our 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. Sante, created without the use of formaldehydes, toluene, and colophony rosin.

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! Not from the remover or the polish – 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.

-Jocelyn Broyles

Image credit – Robot nail art: borispumps via Flickr 

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Read more: Beauty, Family, Fashion, General Health, Hands & Feet, Health, Holistic Beauty, Make-Up, Women's Health, , , , , ,

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12:06AM PDT on Jul 30, 2015

Nice useful article! I've shared on this q&a site :

2:47PM PDT on Jul 29, 2015


9:50AM PDT on Jul 26, 2015

Thank you.

4:06AM PDT on Apr 17, 2015

Beauty is from inside

11:08AM PDT on Apr 15, 2015


9:21AM PDT on Apr 2, 2015

I'd suggest anyone looking for a great selection of non-toxic nail polish check out the brand Zoya. Zoya Natural Nail Polish is free of the 5 main toxins and "vegan-friendly", whatever that means. I've been using this brand for a couple of years now and I've been pleased with their product, their service and their packaging. I know you can get it at Ulta and other salons but I recommend ordering online. That allows you to see the over 300 colors and I find the online catagoizing of the colors in warm, cool and neutral really helpful in finding colors that look good on me. Zoya has several great promotions during the year, my favorite of which is their Earth Day promotion. The sale is awesome and being able to dispose of old polish and keep it out of the landfill is wonderful. Lastly, if you have anytrouble picking out you colors just ask them to send you a swatch. Then you can check it in your own home, with your own lighting and skin tone. Of all the brands of polish available I've found Zoya to be consistently the best of any polish, natural and non-toxic or not.

2:48PM PDT on Mar 27, 2015

Please add 100% Pure brand to the list!

6:45AM PST on Feb 2, 2015

Very intereste---

9:27PM PST on Dec 26, 2014

More marketing hogwash-

Though it's great that people share natural alternatives to every day products, we should really take care to promote products that are natural, instead of spreading marketing lies. When people buy these products, they think they are being healthy, when in fact they are exposing themselves to many of the same chemicals, just with new, unrecognizable names and/or even less safety data.

The first site, Piggy Paints, doesn't list nail polish ingredients on it's website. Instead I found them on a blog: Water, acrylates copolymers, melia azadirachta (neem oil). May contain: mica, red 34 lake, ultramarines, titanium dioxide, iron oxide pigments

OK so Piggy Paints are not natural, but they could be worse. Let's try #2, HoneyBeeGardens. They actually list the ingredients, which wouldn't you know, aren't natural either: Water, water-miscible acrylic, polyurethane formers and thickeners, non-ionic soaps. May contain: ultramarine blue, carmine, mica, iron oxides, and/or titanium dioxide.

One more, maybe it'll actually be natural. Unfortunately, No Miss is another one who thinks you won't miss the ingredients they didn't disclose. After digging, here they are: : N-butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, ethyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol. May contain: mica, titanium dioxide, D & C Red #7, D & C Red #6, D & C Red #17, D & C Red #34, FD & C Yellow #5, iron oxides, ultramarines, bismuth oxychloride, mica-based pearlescent pigments.

4:23AM PST on Dec 24, 2014

Thank you!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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