Everything you need to know about Non-Toxic Nail Polish
+ 40 Toxin Free Nail Polish Brands
One would think that something as simple as painting your nails, would be harmless. It should be an enjoyable task , that makes you feel pretty. However, over the past 10 years, we have learned through research and studies, that there is everything from known carcinogens to hormone disrupting phthalates. As a result of those findings, since 2006, Nail polish companies have started to create Non-Toxic Nail Polishes. As always some can be trusted to be as they say, and some can not. I have compiled a huge list of Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands, as well as, what I like to call The Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Nail Polish.
Now I’m Not Just trying to use that as a ploy to get people to read this article, or anything like that. I want you to know what is in those cute little bottles, what happens when those chemicals go on your nails, and how to avoid the known toxins. I intend to tell you everything about Non-Toxic Nail Polish. I am going to fill you in on all the toxic chemicals, that they have compiled in those fancy glass bottles. Then I’m gonna share with you that huge list of Nail Polish Brands that have either gone non-toxic or were never that way to begin with. There will even be natural and water based brands, that work!
So lets begin with this Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Nail Polish, shall we?
We are going to start by talking about all those pesky, toxins, that are masked by those gorgeous matted, glittered, shined nail polishes. We will start with the first to go…the “toxic trio”
What is the “toxic trio”?
The toxic trio are the 3 most toxic and harmful ingredients in nail polish. They were also the first 3 to be omitted from nail polishes.
- Formaldehyde- is a chemical that is commonly used as a preservative. It is used in everything from particle board to preserving the dead. It is usually only used in nail lacquers that are considered “nail hardeners”. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, has considered this chemical a carcinogen, linking to lung, throat, and nose cancer.
- Dibuutyl Phalate (DBP)- is used in nail polish to make it more flexible and durable, less chipping and cracking. This phalate has been linked to issues with the reproductive system. It has been known to impair normal development of male fetuses, cause organ damage and maybe even onset menopause. Studies are still being conducted.
- Toluene- The last of the “toxic trio” but not in the least bit any less harmful. Toluene is made from petroleum or coal tar. It can be found in paints and paint thinners. It is used in nail polish to give a smooth and even finish after applying. It has been linked to issues effecting the nervous system, such as dizziness, headaches, nausea, as well as anemia, lower blood cell count, and liver and kidney damage. It has even been shown to cause birth defects and developmental delays in fetuses, whose mothers were exposed to the chemical while pregnant.
Well that will definitely make you think twice about painting your nails while your pregnant, that is for sure.
These other toxins have been omitted by nail polish companies that are going the extra mile, trying to make our nail polishes as toxin free as possible.
- Formaldehyde Resin- is the backbone of many conventional nail polishes. It is used to give the shiny hardness while adhering to the nail. However, it is more commonly known as the stuff used to preserve the bugs you see in museums. There haven’t been as many studies done on formaldehyde resin, but it has been known to cause sever skin irritation, allergic reaction, skin depigmentation, loss of nerve sensation, and even seizures.
- Camphor- is used to give that glossy, shiny, appearance, to many of our traditional nail lacquers. While it hasn’t been to be as to be as toxic as the trio, it has triggered severe skin irritation and allergic reactions when applied topically. Its fumes have been known to cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches. There have also been observational studies done that have linked camphor to organ damage, such as dysfunction of the liver. The U.S. has now made it illegal to use more than 11% of this ingredient towards the overall amount of any product.
- Triphynol Phosphate (TPHP)- This is the newest to the list of toxins in nail polish. In October 2015, researchers, Enviromental Working Group (EWG) and Duke University out of Durham, NC, did a study that proved TPHP applied through nail polish, is absorbed into the body within 10 to 14 hours after application. It is commonly used as a retardant in nail lacquers but it is a suspected endocrine distrupter.
- Xylene- is commonly used as a thinner in nail polish and house paint. Its vapors cause eye irritation, skin irritation, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Prolonged exposure can lead to liver and kidney damage.
- Parabens- are used as preservatives, which prevent the growth of fungi, bacteria, and yeast that could spoil the products.When the nail is coated in them they interfere with the proper nutrition absorbtion. Parabens mimic the estrogen production, high doses of estrogen could alter your body’s hormone production. It is potentially responsible for some cases of testicular cancer and lower sperm count. They can also lead to breast cancer and early signs of aging. Some of the most common parabens are methylparaben, butyl paraben, and prpylparaben.
- Sulfates- These are salts or a compound of sulphuric acid. They are used in cleaners and can be found in most hair and skin care products. It has been said that they are strong enough to strip hair dye, can cause skin irritation, and may lead to hair loss.They may be the cause of some cancers, cataracts, as well as kidney and liver failure.
Please know that they are still studying and research these chemicals, as well as, other chemical. They are trying to figure out what all chemicals are toxic, how harmful they are, and what problems they could be causing. Also I am not saying that if you paint your nails, you will get cancer. I’m saying that scientist have found known toxic, carcinogens, in your conventional nail polish, and they have discovered that your nails do absorb some of those toxins.
Since learning this, I wanted to rid myself of using known toxins, if at all possible So, I went in search of non-toxic nail polish brands. What I found astounded me, not only have some conventional brands went “3 free” but there are even “7 free” and natural based nail polishes, that are elegant and chic and even more important safe.
Ultimate List of Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands
Water Based Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands
Water based nail polishes are, as you could guess based from water, unlike traditional nail polish that use nitrocellulose. They are usually completely non-toxic and odorless.
Piggy paint is probably the most well known, water based, nail polish. It is non-toxic, non-flammable, and ordorless. It is free from all known toxins and it is proudly made in the USA.
You have got to try… their new line SOPHI. Veering from their traditional nail polishes for kids, this new line is made with women in mind. Still a water based polish, but with a sophisticated twist.
Honeybee Gardens is another popular water based nail polish brand. They are free from all harsh chemicals and odors and come in 19 different shades. Although this water based polish takes a bit longer to fully dry. I believe it is worth the wait, considering my body won’t be absorbing any toxins in the process.
You’ve got to try… their Vintage Merlot($11) it is a creamy, dark burgundy, with purple undertones. Honeybee Gardens polishes have a special remover as well since they are not solvent based normal removers will not work. You can get their Nail Polish remover here.
This water based nail polish brands motto is quite a good one, “Combing nothing and everything”. They truly have taken it back to the back basic simplicity. Aquarella’s non-toxic, water based polishes come in 55 amazing colors, dry quickly, and are long lasting.
Natural Based Non-Toxic Nail Polish
These 4 brands are similar to water-based, however, they have taken an even more natural approach by using nature to replace harsh chemicals.
This french based nail polish brand has changed the name of the game with their Nature based, non-toxic nail polish formula. 85% of the formula is ingredients straight from nature. Still the polish is able to remain, long lasting, fast drying, with and array of colors for whatever event life throws your way.
You’ve got to try…Kure Bazaar has a beautiful shade of Turquoise ($16). Gorgeous, toxin free.
Boho Green Revolution
BGR’s non toxic formulas are all 69%-86% all natural ingredients. They are “8 free” and vegan friendly. Even the caps are made from wood. They have also added sicillium and UV filter to protect and strengthen the nails.Plus they have a huge array of colors.
You’ve got to try.. they have many beautiful colors however, I can not find anywhere to get them in the USA.
Scotch Naturals non-toxic nail polish line, Naturlaq, uses all natural ingredients,castor oil, shellac, and alcohol, to make their non-toxic formula.Not only are they toxin free, they are also, cruelty, fragrance, paraben, and phthalate free. As well as, biodegradable and vegan. They really went all out with this one!
You’ve got to try… Velvet Kilt ($15) a smooth, dark, purple, matte. Try to stick with dark colors in water based formulas. Unless you are looking for a sheer.
Hopscotch Kids is Scotch Naturals line of kid-friendly, alternatives to solvent based nail polish. They have replaced nitrocellulose, ethylacetate, acetone, and alcohols, with water and acrylic polymers. They have a whole line of long lasting, vibrant colors, that are free from all harsh, smelly, toxic, chemicals.
You have to try… their Glittered Clear Topcoat ($6) add a sparkle to any of their water based polishes with this clear glitter topcoat.
6 or more Toxin Free Nail Polishes
Dr. Rememdy’s Enriched Nail Polish
Dr. Remedy’s Enriched Nail Polish is “6 free”. It has no formaldehyde, toluene, DBP’s, camphor, formaldehyde resin, or phlates. This nail polish was formulated by board certified, podiatrist surgeons and is recommended by doctors. It comes in over 30 shades and it is enriched with tea tree oil and garlic bulb extract, for their naturally occurring anti-fungal properties and Vitamin C & E to promote strong healthy nails.
You’ve got to try… Mindful Mulberry ($21) a beautiful medium pink shade, not to bright not to light.
Pacifica is a very popular non-toxic nail polish that is not only “7 free” but the brush is also 100% vegan. The polish doesn’t smell, goes on smooth, last long, and comes in 25 brilliant shades.
You’ve got to try… Totally Coral ($9) a trendy, light coral. That is elegant, yet eye catching.
LVX is dedicated to lauching the hottest collections each season. The 7 toxin free nail polish is a gel like formula. One that has been seen on the hands of Celebs like Kaley Cuoco & Molly Sims, plus it’s made in the USA.
You’ve got to try… D’Orsay ($16) a classy, elegant, nude for any occasion.
Every shade of Aila’s non-toxic nail polish is a hit and they have plenty to choose from. Aila wants nothing more than to create products that protect and enhance the nail. All of their polishes are “7 free” and they even have some nail care products that are made from natural ingredients.
You’ve got to try…their 3-1 soy based nail polish remover. Not only is it soy based but it also has pure aragan oil in it. It will gently remove the polish, while nourishing the nails.
Karma Organics is “8 free” and their packaging is even 100% recyclable. Although they have omitted all them toxins, they lack nothing. They have everything from mattes to glow-in-the-dark nail polish with adorable names like Florida Mornings, Little Blue Box, and OBX is for lovers.
You’ve got to try… Planet Earth ($10) a medium gray with a shine to it, that is a perfect touch of sophistication.
Smith & Colt
The mad scientist behind Hard Candy, created this “8 free” line of non-toxic nail lacquers. As usual, he does not disappoint, his crazy colors, glitters and brights, that last extremely long!
You’ve got to try… Stockholm Syndrome ($35) a bit pricey but, it is as classy and elegant as high quality as you will find. This is a gorgeous opaque gray that will pair well with any color any season.
Ten over Ten
10 over 10 started as a nail salon in Downtown Manhatten. In 2011, they created their “8 free” Non-Toxic nail polish line. Today they have salons in 5 different locations in New York and Texas. Each of their polishes stay home town true, being named after streets in Downtown Manhatten.
You’ve got to try… Dusty Mint ($18) a stunning spring time pastel.
Butter London, was founded, in 2005, by a british entrepreneur, Sasha Muir, and london’s fashion manicurist, Nonie Creme. Together they crafted with care a carinogenic free, high fashion color, chip resistant, “8 free”, nail lacquer. That promote strong, healthy, nails, by adding hydrolized silk extract and Vitamin B, C, & E.
You’ve got to try...The Double Take Lacquer & Overcoat Duo ($24).The overcoat will transform the look of any butter London nail polish when added on top. There is a great deal on their Glitz and Glam Collection 3 nail polishes, a lip gloss, and eye liner all for $24 and some change. Click the link above to check it out.
The UK’s first “9 free” nail polish and the only “9 free” one that I know of. Their Non-Toxic nail polishes are designed in London, at their home office, but made in the UK. They are free from all known toxins and carcinogens. As well as, xylene free, Ethyl tosylamide, and they are vegan friendly.
You’ve got to try… Passion Colour ($24) a luxurious wine shade.
5 Free Non-Toxic Nail Polish
What does “5 free” mean? 5 free refers to the amount of toxins that the nail polish is free from. 5 free nail polish are usually free from the “toxic trio” as well as camphor and formaldehyde resin. Although some have differed a little bit in which ones they omit.
Ella + Mila
Ella + Mila nail polish is “5 free” , vegan, and animal cruelty free. They have a huge variety of colors. All that are quick drying and chip resistant.
You’ve got to try… You can get a whole collection of 10 Ella + Mila Nail Polishes for $55. Sold separately they are $10.50 a piece.
Ginger + Liz
This non-toxic, vegan friendly, hypo-allergenic, nail polish was created back in 2010. Their beautiful array of colors are inspired by different lifestyles and named after them. Like Bohemian Hipster or Rockglam Style.
You’ve got to try… Investment Piece ($12) a foil like, gold flake, metallic, that will have your shine seen from across the room.
Cote Nail Polish
This trend-setting brand was founded by Mary Lennon & Leah Yari. They set out to take the toxins out of your nail polish. They wanted a safe transparent product, yet an elegant nail polish. They did just that repeatedly, right now they have over 109 colors in their spring collection alone.
You’ve got to try… No. 77 ($18)a deep, rich, dark blue. A must have for your nail polish collection.
Jenna Hipp is one of Hollywood’s most sought after celebrity manicurist and nail stylist. Jenna Hipp’s “5 free”, jelly like, nail polishes are based off “what’s hot now”. So you can stay with the trend and still feel good about doing it.
You’ve got to try… Jenna Hipp’s Essential Nail Creams($42). Comes with 3 tubes, made with natural ingredients to promote and maintain strong healthy nails and skin.
As usual Chanel went above and beyond with their “5 free” non-toxic, gel nail colour. Not only is it toxic free, they have also added in cermides, which are lipids that will help to protect the health of your nails.
You’ve got to try… Ballerina ($36) part of the Rouge coco style collection. A classy, sheer, pink.
Like Chanel, we expect nothing but the best from this world wide brand. They do not disappoint with their exclusive, “5 free”, gel like formula. It is made with pure resins, PVB polymers, and are coated with pigment technology. Ionic sicillium strenghtens the keratin, to produce a smooth finish. While, the PVB polymer allow the gel formula to stick to the nail surface, for long extended wear.
You‘ve got to try… Precious No. 327 ($59) a true silver. Not just glitter but a wonderful mix of the two.
If you haven’t tried RGB’s non toxic “5 free” nail polish, you absolutely have too. They have been featured in Vogue & Allure magazines, and the NY Times. They started with a simple line of 10 nail polish colors and a base & top coat. Now they have 47 shades from bright to nude, with long lasting, glossy shine.
You’ve got to try… Haze ($18) a beautiful lavender, pastel like. A very unique color.
Priti is known as the “pioneer of the non-toxic nail polish revolution”. All Allure Magazine award winner and named best nail polish by Elle Mag, they definitely set the bar high with their ” 5 free” nail polish. It is infused with soybean esters and naturally derived lemongrass essential oil. It also contains a U.V. inhibator and comes in over 80 different shades, from dark nudes to bright neons.
You’ve got to try… Schwarkopf ($15) a deep dark blue. It’s hard to find a really elegant, deep, dark blue. Priti NYC nailed it.
Before she formulated this fabulous line of nail polish, Deborah Lippman was a fashion manicurist for stars like Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian. Her “5 free” nail polish is just as high class. It is infused with green tea and made with natural resins from trees in West Africa. Which will strengthen and smooth nails naturally.
You’ve got to try… Deborah Lippman’s Sheer Nail Lacquer in Naked ($18). It is a gorgeous nude that will make any outfit classy. Want to speed up the drying process try Addicted to Speed Ultra Quick Dry top coat($20).
The founder Jin Soon moved to New York City in 191. She began freelancing and bicycling to and from her nail clients. In 1999 she opened her first nail salon and in 2012 created this elegant line of award winning non-toxic nail polishes. They are long-lasting with a chip-proof finish and rapid drying time.
You’ve got to try… Nostalgia($18)- this is part of a collection of 6 client favorites. A elegant beige, that Jin Soon herself says “will elongate the shape of your hands”. I think it is a gorgeous, classy, nude.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Nail Lacquer
Occ is a dense pigmented formula that is “5 free”. What that means is, you get an intense color, using a small amount of product.( More color-less product, which never happens)Plus they are made in the USA.
You’ve got to try… Deven Green ($10) this is that wicked green in the picture above. A true to picture neon green.
“3 free” Non-Toxic Nail Polish
What does “3 free” mean? “3 free” refers to the amount of toxins the polish is free from. “3 free” nail polishes are usually free of the “toxic trio”, which I explained above is, formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP.
Being that most conventional nail polish brands have went “3 free”, you know most of these brands well and need no explaination.
That concludes The Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Nail Polish. Do you know of any more Non-Toxic Nail Polishes? Tell us about them in the comments below. Ill do my best to keep this list up to date and add any that ya’ll feel I left out. I hope that my guide informed you of the toxins entering your body, that you may of had no idea about. I didn’t not to long ago and over 10 years ago, nobody really knew. Now you do and you can protect your self and your harmless daughters.
Want to feed your skin healthy too, check out my article on All-Natural Beauty Brands.