Most of those cute little bottles lined up in your bathroom have a secret: they’re filled to the brim with chemicals. Some nail polish brands have nearly 30 chemicals all combined. These harsh chemicals can not only be bad for the environment, but also bad for you, as they cause nails to become brittle and have harsh fumes. No nail polish is completely natural, but the most important thing to look for are brands that are “3-free,” meaning they don’t use toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or formaldehyde, which are all known carcinogens. Some brands also describe themselves as “5-free” when they don’t use formaldehyde resin or camphor in addition.
Many of these brands still use other chemicals, so be sure to double-check the ingredients for others that cause you concern. Whether you already have the best of the best when it comes to natural cosmetics or you’re just starting to green up your shelves, we’ve rounded up some of the best brands that have dedicated themselves to more natural nail care, so your next manicure can be headache- and toxin-free.
1. Zoya. Created by Zoya and Michael Reyzis of Art of Beauty, Zoya nail polish revolutionized the nail industry when it began making long-lasting, toxin-free polish. Eliminating toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP from its polishes, Zoya has quickly become one of the most popular 5-free nail polish brands out there. With new colors released each season, you’ll be sure to find the perfect shade for every occasion.
2. Suncoat. Since 2001, Suncoat has been crafting nail polishes with a water base and no toxins. Rather than replacing known toxins with other chemicals, a common practice among nail polish makers, Suncoat uses water. With mineral pigments and natural ingredients to boot, who can complain? Check out their peelable nail polish (no remover needed!) and nail art for an all-natural manicure that will have everyone staring.
3. Piggy Paint. Founder Melanie Hurley was horrified when she saw what the nail polish she was putting on her children’s nails did to a styrofoam plate. She dedicated herself to making a water-based, non-flammable, non-toxic nail polish that has an almost unnoticeable odor. The vibrant colors of this hypoallergenic and cruelty-free lacquer make Piggy Paint the perfect option for fun-loving kids of any age.
4. Honeybee Gardens. Look at the ingredients of Honeybee Gardens’ nail polish and you’re bound to let out a breath you didn’t know you’d been holding. This polish uses a special, water-based formula that’s 3-free, nearly odorless and free of FD&C colors (synthetic food dyes that can be used in food, drink and cosmetics). With 25 colors including the striking blue “Oasis,” deep black “Abyss” and fiery red “Burlesque,” finding one to match your personality should be easy (but picking only one may not be).
5. RGB. Like Zoya, this luxury eco-minded nail polish is 5-free, plus all of RGB’s products are cruelty-free, vegan and made in the U.S. With a wide array of colors available, there’s something for every green-ista in this collection. Although it’s on the pricier side, knowing that your product is helping the Earth and your nails is well worth it.
6. Sheswai. Three-free and eco-chic, Sheswai nail polish has succeeded in creating a brand that appreciates natural glamour. If the names of the colors aren’t enough to grab you (think “yowza”), Sheswai uses sustainably harvested wood as an alternative to the typical plastic cap. No products are tested on animals and a portion of the profits are donated to organizations dedicated to sustainability, such as the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Foundation. A product that does good and makes you look good? Sign us up!
7. LVX. Similar to RGB, LVX (Latin for “light”) is 5-free, vegan, cruelty-free and produced in the U.S. Co-founder Branka Tomic has a love for high fashion that translates into the sleek, high quality hues you’ll find on their website. LVX polishes don’t come cheap, but if you’ve been searching for the perfect combination of luxury and eco-friendly, this is the nail polish to try.
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