Nail polish is used by millions of people around the world, but the chemicals packed into those colorful little bottles can really affect your health…and not in a good way.
Back in the day, I used to paint my nails constantly, always changing up the color to fit whatever mood I was in. Then I started getting into acrylic nails, which have to be one of the worst things you can do to your nails. My nails were so brittle and frail that I had to continually get them redone just to mask the horrible aftermath of removing the acrylics.
Since then, I stopped using nail polish altogether, and my nails are stronger and healthier than they have ever been, but I do miss having color on them from time to time. I started researching more “natural” nail polish options, and while there is never going to be a fully pure and natural form of nail polish, there are several options that are much safer.
What’s In Conventional Nail Polish?
Nail polish can be one of the most toxic beauty products available, and conventional ones are full of highly toxic chemicals. Not only are these chemicals extremely dangerous to our skin and nails, but the fumes they give off are also highly toxic.
The most common chemicals in nail polish are:
- Formaldehyde – This chemicals is most commonly used as a preservative in mortuaries, but is also found in glues, adhesives, insulation, film developing materials, and more. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and the fumes alone from this chemical are enough to cause burning in the eyes, nose, throat, and even skin irritation. Not exactly something I want to be applying to my nails…
- Toulene – According to the CDC, toulene exposure can cause extreme fatigue, mental confusion, nausea, headache, dizziness, and even central nervous system issues.
- Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) – This chemical is rated as a high health concern from the Environmental Working Group, and the European Union has shown evidence of its negative effects on endocrine health, and the EPA lists it as a known respiratory irritant.
Since these three chemicals are the most commonly used in conventional nail polish, many natural brands will state they are “3-free”, which means they do not contain the three most toxic chemicals in their mixtures.
Safer Nail Polish Alternatives
While there has not been a 100% natural version of nail polish invented yet, there are some brands dedicated to making safer alternatives, but even the safer options still have some chemicals in them. My advice is to use your judgement, and check all the ingredients on any natural nail polish label to decide whether you feel comfortable using that product or not.
Here are some of the top toxin-free nail polish brands that are safer alternatives to conventional products:
The Art of Beauty was founded by Zoya, a classically trained pianist in Russia, and her husband Michael Reyzis. Together they evolved their small nail salon into a spa, which focused on natural nails and other treatments.
Michael, an advanced chemist, developed the first ever long-lasting non-toxic nail polish, and were the first company to remove toulene, formaldehyde, and DBP from their products.
Their color collection is ridiculously overwhelming, but they’re sure to have the perfect shade for whatever mood you’re in. Check out their colors here.
2. Honeybee Gardens
Honeybee Gardens uses a water-based formula that if free from toulene, formaldehyde, DBP, nearly odorless, and even free from synthetic dyes that can be harmful to health. They have 25 shades to choose from, and because they’re water-based, they can easily be removed with vodka or rubbing alcohol.
Suncoat with a water-based formula, up to 70% water to be exact! Their nail polishes are all 3-free, and any other known toxins or chemicals are replaced with more water, and also have a peel-able formula that requires no polish remover to take off.
4. Piggy Paint
Piggy Paint was specifically designed with kids in mind after owner and founder, Melanie Hurley, was horrified to find that her daughter’s nail polish actually bubbled and ate through a foam plate they were using.
Since then, she dedicated herself to creating a toxin-free, water-based, non-flammable, and virtually odorless nail polish that would be safe for kids. She also created a nail polish geared towards adults called Sophi, which features more sophisticated colors than the Piggy Paint line.
This brand touts their line of nail polishes as “5-free”, which means they not only remove toulene, formaldehyde, and DBP, but also allergen causing camphor and formaldehyde resins from their formulas.
Their products are also cruelty-free and vegan, but are a bit on the pricier side of natural nail polish options. They do have a wide array of shades to choose from, so if you’re looking for a more luxury eco-friendly polish, RGB may be what you need.
Another luxury toxin-free nail polish brand, Acquarella is definitely on the pricier side, but boasts an incredible selection of colors to choose from, and is also water-based, 3-free, and vegan to boot.
Yet another high-end luxury nail polish, LVX (which is Latin for “light”), is another 5-free, vegan, and cruelty-free natural nail polish option. Their color range is based on a love of high fashion style, so if you’re looking to stand out and stay toxin free, LVX may be a good choice for you.
Do you wear nail polish? Have you ever tried a more natural version?