Nail polish has been around for thousands of years so it’s no wonder that the formula for such products keeps getting revamped. What worked for the royal house during the Zhou dynasty is different than what suited the first modern offering in 1917.
Present-day companies understand our demand for environmentally-aware, chemically-responsible products that are natural and free of toxins. The nail polish market of today is filled with great organic options so here’s a quick look at just a few of the relevant brands.
Recommended brands of natural, safe nail polish
The best nail polishes are free of formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and toluene; the best of the best are additionally free of formaldehyde resin and camphor. Nail polishes containing skin allergens and toxic ingredients are allowed on the market because some of these ingredients are currently classified as toxic only when ingested, but emerging research is showing that the inhalation of such components can also have harmful effects. Do your research and shop accordingly, picking up only the products that make you feel comfortable.
Nail polishes from the eco-friendly brand are non-toxic, which helps keep your nails safe and healthy while also looking fabulous. Without unpalatable and harmful chemical fumes abounding, painting your nails with Scotch Naturals can be a fun and pleasant beauty ritual.
The water-based formula also provides a hydrating experience so you don’t suffer from the side-effects caused by traditional nail polishes like the chipping, peeling and yellowing of the nail. The product is vegan and not tested on animals.
For $15, you can pick up a .35-ounce bottle, choosing from 45 different colors. My personal recommendations include Mamie Gilroy if you’re looking for a heathered purple, Loch Lomond for a robin's egg blue and Smoky Martini for a gravelly grey. For extended wear and best results, use the Scotch Naturals Base Coat to start off your manicure before applying the color. You can also use the brand’s Soy Polish Remover when you go to take the nail polish off. The remover is both water-based and solvent-based to effectively and naturally tend to your nails after the nail polish has served its purpose for decorating your fingers.
Kure Bazaar is considered by many as the first nail polish company to combine an environmentally-ethical formula with vibrant, fashionable colors. The formula for the nail lacquer is free of the five big, bad toxins and is actually said to be up to 85% of natural origin because the ingredients are based on wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes and corn.
The unique combination of organic substances makes for a polish that preserves the natural life cycle of your nails for smooth, strong and healthy results.
For $16 plus shipping, if needed, you can order a 10-millimeter bottle. Praised as a quick-dry and chip-resistant option, this pick comes in a variety of colors such as a sexy Rock Star navy, a sophisticated Beige Milk neutral and an adventurous Bohemian red. The product is both gluten free and vegan.
Known as modern glamour with a rootsy feel, this eco friendly brand offers a formula free of formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. The company openly admits that its nail polishes are not completely organic or absolutely non-toxic, citing that true nail polish can’t exist in that pure of a form. But, the company tries its best to still have a conscience, including using wooden caps that reduce the use of plastic, are made from sustainably-harvested wood and assembled by a non-profit organization that helps adults with developmental disabilities enjoy job opportunities. Products are not tested on animals and a portion of profits are donated to organizations like the World Wildlife Foundation, Nature Conservancy and Heal the Bay.
Each bottle is .5 ounces and $16. Although there’s a multitude of colors to choose from, shout-outs go to an eggplant grey named What, a sunshine yellow named Good Vibes and a bone clay putty color named For Real. The product doesn’t need a base coat and dries to a smooth, glossy finish.
With no formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin or camphor, RGB nail polishes are known as a five-free formula that bridge the gap between green beauty and luxury cosmetics. The company’s whole line of color and nail care products are cruelty free, vegan and made in the United States.
At $18 for a .4-ounce bottle, you can try a sexy Deep, a flirty Pansy or a classy Cobalt. The company also offers Nail Color Remove Pads, which are natural, non-toxic and free of carcinogens. With no harsh acetate or acetone and no artificial scents or dyes, the soy-based formula on a single pre-moistened and 100%-cotton pad is still strong enough to remove two coats of polish off of all ten nails. A pack of twenty pads comes in at $28.
The Priti NYC brand essentially came alive during the founder’s pregnancy when she made a conscious life decision to embrace organic and natural products. Since she couldn’t find the kind of eco-friendly beauty aids she yearned to use, she decided to take matters into her own hands by developing a safe alternative to traditional, chemical-laden nail polishes.
Her products are five-free, vegan and non-toxic while also supporting organic farmers. With a company mission of improving Earth’s conditions one manicure at a time, hats off to Kim D'amato for all of the fabulous work she has done for the world of beauty and for the world itself.
For a .43-ounce bottle, you can expect to pay around $14. Consider trying out Nice Gal Peony for an opaque candy pink, Slenderlady Palm for a glossy dark slate gray or Silver Torch for a shimmery silver. The company also offers a soy nail polish remover, which is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic while also being housed in a recyclable bottle. The naturally derived formula contains soybean esters and lemongrass essential oils that leave your hands feeling hydrated, nourished and smelling citrus fresh. How can you beat that?