The Most Natural It Comes to Nail Polish

Ever heard of the toxic trio?


Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): Is an ingredient of plastics, paints, and pesticides.   It can possibly trigger asthma attacks. It has also been associated with not only birth defects but also damaging reproductive organs.

Toluene: It is a clear and colorless solvent, also found in gasoline, paints, and thinners. It can cause dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and short term intoxication.  It has been known to transfer from mother to fetus via placenta and breast milk.  It could also be listed on the label as “toluol” or “phenylmethane.”

Formaldehyde: Considered a carcinogen, it can cause headaches, dizziness, and immune dysfunction as well. It is an irritating chemical which can cause allergic reactions.  Don’t be fooled if it’s listed as formalin on the label.

Don’t they sound lovely? And guess what common household item has all 3?

….Nail Polish. Yes, I know. 

For years, I’ve known that nail polish isn’t great for you but never really looked into it. I almost always have my toes polished and haven’t really paid much attention to it. It wasn’t until recently when I painted my daughter’s toes that it made me think….”I probably shouldn’t be painting this on her toes,” which led to “I probably shouldn’t be painting this on MY toes.” Thus my quest to research nail polish and non toxic, affordable nail polish alternatives. 

This is what I found.

FYI–Avoid gel manicures. I won’t get into them here because I don’t use gel and haven’t used gel since my wedding day years ago. But they are a no go!

All the listed polishes claim to be free of the toxic trio. Some claim to be vegan, free of FD&C colors vs natural coloring, UV protection, free of animal testing, fast drying, non-chipping, biodegradable  and more! It was hard to keep it all straight! Some may be better for you than others but I’ll let you decide that. The good thing is that this list consists of only polishes free of the toxic trio.

  • Zoya– This company has a ton of color options (over 300!). It has also been rated as the longest wearing natural nail polish. It’s free of the toxic 3 and is vegan. It is not water based. (Approx $8)
  • Honey Bee Gardens WaterColors Nail Polish– Can easily be removed with rubbing alcohol or vodka. Does not use FD&C coloring. It is water based. They have ~25 colors. (Approx $10)
  • NARS nail polish– This one has UV protection. (Approx $19)
  • No Miss Nail Polish- Vegan. States they have colors that don’t use D&C dyes, as well as contain UV inhibitors. Have over 150 colors. (Approx $8)
  • Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Polish- This company also states they do no animal testing. (Approx $20)
  • Acquaerella– They claim to have dry to the touch within 3 minutes and to use within 20 minutes, without a top or base coat. They are water based. ($16) 
    • Priti NYC Nail Polish– Known to contain a UV inhibitor and be extremely durable. Available in over 100 shades. Also claims to be free of camphor, another known carcinogen (Approx $13)
  • Scotch Naturals Nail Polish– Claims to also be free of phthalates, parabens, solvents, nitrocellulose, acetone, and heavy metals. They also claim to be vegan, cruelty-free, and biodegradable.  They have ~43 colors. (Approx $15)
  • Butter London– The first to sell non-toxic nail polish in the US. Claim to be “carcinogen-free.” (Approx $15)
  • Sante
  • Suncoat Products, Inc.-Uses earth pigments for coloring and is free of alcohol, acetones, and acetates. It is water based and does not include any FD&C dyes. Water based. (Approx $10)
  • Keeki Pure and Simple– Claim to be biodegradable and non-toxic. I couldn’t find ingredients specific to nail polish but their company claims to not use any polish that has Parabens, Pthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Acetone, Synthetic Fragrance, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Nanoparticles and Gluten. (Approx $10)
  • Spa Ritual– Over 80 color choices. Vegan. This was a last minute add to my list from my sister who is a licensed cosmetologist. 
  • OPI– Yes, I was surprised to read this one. But it is apparently free of the toxic 3 but still contain other chemicals that may be irritating to some. I couldn’t find any info on their own website so maybe someone else can find more info on this one. I might steer clear of it till I find out more. 


Specific For the Kiddos (Really just means it has kid oriented colors!)

  • Hopscotch Kids-They have 13 colors designed with kids in mind. It is “3 Free” as well as free of ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetone, and heavy metals. This one is listed for sale at one of my favorite kids’ stores, Granola Babies in Costa Mesa, CA.
  • Piggy Paint– This one is a water based formula that claims to be cruelty free too. I bought this one since it’s available at my local Wal-Mart, which made it convenient to get. I was impressed with the speed of drying. Their website claims 60 seconds but claim to make it extra durable, to blow dry on warm for 1 minute. I haven’t tried that yet. (Approx $9. I paid $4 for 2 small bottles)

Chemwise has a nail polish recycling program if you are interested. Not sure all the details about it but it’s a good resource to have. 

So…with all this information what do you do? As I stated above, I did buy Piggy Paint because it was convenient to get. I also order a bottle of Zoya because I liked the variety of colors and affordability. Yes, I’d love more natural coloring but with natural coloring, you limit your color choices too. I also ordered a bottle of Scotch Naturals and No Miss. I ordered all 3 of these on Amazon particularly for convenience. One plus to Scotch Naturals is that I found it with prime on Amazon, thus free 2  day shipping. 

I’ll follow up this post with my reviews of the polishes I get but not sure how long that will be so I thought I’d post this up for you to read now.

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