Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Options

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Best non-toxic nail polish options
Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Options

I’ve written about how to make just about every natural beauty product I can think of, from deodorant to mascara, but one thing I’ve never been able to find a DIY recipe for is nail polish! While I still believe consuming gelatin is the best way to get beautiful nails, I do love a nice manicure or pedicure (usually administered at home with my girls).

Conventional nail polish can be one of the most toxic beauty products around and many contain a host of harmful chemicals. These chemicals are especially harmful to children and pregnant women, so I set out to find some safer alternatives that would help us keep our pretty pink toes.

Problems With Nail Polish

So how do chemicals get from your nails into your body? Well for starters, there’s a real mix of toxic chemicals in the nail polish.

Nail polishes often include:

  • Toulene– A chemical known to cause reproductive harm and dizziness. It is also found in gasoline and the CDC warns that it can cause central nervous system problems.
  • Formaldehyde– This known carcinogen is found in many nail polishes. It is also used to preserve dead things and when used in lab preparations, there are strict warnings to avoid inhalation or skin contact.
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) -This chemical is banned in Europe and is known to cause reproductive problems, especially in boys. The Environmental Working Group classifies this chemical as the highest danger level and warns that it can cause organ problems and endocrine disruption.
  • Assorted other chemicals.

Nail polish removers are equally problematic and the fumes are especially harmful.

Are There Safe Options?

I stay far away from conventional nail polish, but with three daughters, I wanted to find some less toxic options that they could use occasionally. Many brands claim to be safe and natural, so we did a lot of research to narrow down to a few to try.

My daughters and I tested some of the top options that had a safe rating in the Environmental Working Group database. We had great results with several of the brands we tried, while some didn’t work well at all.

I’ve shared our top picks below, but it is important to note that even these safer options still have some chemicals in them and I wouldn’t use them all the time.

If you’ve been using conventional nail polish, not only would I suggest stopping right away, but also to dispose of conventional nail polish carefully. The EPA classifies nail polish as household hazardous waste (perhaps a hint we shouldn’t be using it) and requests that it is disposed of in a proper hazardous waste disposal site. You can use this directory (in the US) to find a hazardous waste disposal site near you.

It is also important to note that nail salons typically do not use non-toxic nail polish options. This means the air in nail salons is usually highly contaminated with chemicals. I suggest avoiding nail salons entirely, but if you do go to one, ask about the nail polish and removers they use and look for safer options.

Non-Toxic Nail Polish Options

These are our favorite nail polish options of all of the brands I researched and all of the ones we tried. I enlisted my daughters as testers on these since they are typically very active and tough on their nails.

1. Acquarella

Acquarella ranked a 1/10 on the EWG database. It is definitely pricey so it isn’t one I would use regularly, but it stayed on nails and didn’t have a strong chemical smell. It is available in a lot of colors and my daughters wanted all of them.

Aquarella nail polishes are water-based, free of the chemicals listed above, and even vegan and wheat free. They also make a non-toxic nail polish remover.

2. Honeybee Gardens

Another favorite with my tiny testers. This brand is also water-based, free of the three dangerous chemicals, and has a low rating on the EWG database. It is available in 25 colors, including this lovely hibiscus.

I like how you can remove this nail polish with vodka or rubbing alcohol and not have to buy nail polish remover at all.

3. Piggy Paint

Definitely gets the award for cutest name and these were a favorite with my kids. This brand didn’t seem to stay on nails as long, but that was fine with the kids since they want to change nail colors often anyway.

Best Natural Nail Polish Options

Piggy Paint is also one of the least expensive brands. We tried this sampler trio and it was less expensive than a single bottle of some of the other brands we tried.

Fun fact: Piggy Paint also sells cute little nail art stickers in a variety of designs. They are tiny, so they’re the perfect size for little fingers and stay on really well when covered with a top coat or sparkly polish.

4. Suncoat

This is another non-toxic option with an EWG rating of 1. The interesting thing about Suncoat is that it peels off easily, meaning you do not need nail polish remover. This ended up being fun for the girls, but it also didn’t last long on their nails since they had so much fun peeling it off.

5. ella+mila

While I haven’t tried it personally, this nail polish brand avoids the 7 worst chemicals in conventional nail polish. It is also available in an enormous range of colors and finishes (including sparkles!). They also claim to be chip resistant, fast drying, and vegan. I also think my girls would love the adorable little elephant on the bottle. If you try it, let me know what you think!

Want more natural nail care? Try this homemade cuticle cream to get nails looking their best before a natural manicure!

Do you use nail polish? Have you ever looked at non-toxic nail polish options?

These non-toxic nail polish choices are water-based, natural, free of chemicals toulene and formaldehyde and rated safe by the Environmental Working Group.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


217 responses to “Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Options”

  1. Melody Avatar

    I highly recommend the Nailtopia brand for nail polishes. I’ve also used Sundays, londontown and Zoya.

  2. Rachel Avatar

    I know this is an older thread but I was wondering, Katie, if you had a chance to review Dazzle Dry. A salon near me uses these products exclusively so I’m interested in giving it a try!

  3. Luna Avatar

    Just wanted to comment that when looking at the EWG ratings of Ella+Mila nail polish, it had a pretty high rating (of 6 and up) is there anything that I am missing?

  4. Cheryl Avatar

    Kapa Nui is a small Hawaiian company. Shipping is surprisingly quick during all of of the COVID-19 delays. It is rated well on the EWG Healthy Living app. I started out using the nail treatment after letting my dip nails grow off. I recently ordered a starter kit that has a bottle of polish (you choose color), top/base, remover, pads for remover, and cuticle sticks. I painted my nails 4 days ago – no chipping. That’s already 3 days longer than my salon mani lasted.

  5. Hailey Avatar

    My daughter and I have tried many of these brands but now we are trying to find non-toxic fake nails. Do you have any recommendations for what brands we could try?

  6. Dee Koutris Avatar
    Dee Koutris

    I love Ella+Milla.. I hadn’t polished my nails for awhile as I have some health challenges and just the fumes from removers and polish would set me off. I recently discovered this line and absolutely love it!! No smell at all and it is missing the 7 ‘bad’ ingredients

    It’s also a great polish which stays on for a long time and comes in wonderful colors. They even made larger “mommy” bottles and smaller “little kid” bottles!!

    Highly recommend

  7. Kristie Avatar

    Has anyone used Dr.’s Remedy? It doesn’t use the 3 toxic ingredients listed in the article, but after reading all of this now I’m wondering what else it might have.

  8. Meg Avatar

    I have several Ella and mila nail polish and they last much longer than the toxic brands. It didn’t chip for me. I love the gorgeous colors and the fact that when my 2 year old wants her nails painted I don’t have to tell her no. Definitely recommend Ella + mila

  9. Corey L Avatar
    Corey L

    CND is a professional brand in salons, they have Vinylux and Shellac and are both 7 free they are also free of TPHP (Triphenyl Phosphate) it’s the most toxic chemical that is still overlooked in many many polishes even though they may claim to be “healthier” or “non-toxic” or “vegan”. TPHP is a chemical that disrupts your hormones, metabolism, reproduction and development. They use this as a replacement for DBP. CND is also made to be gentle on the natural nail so the removal process of the gel (when done correctly…ie. no buffing needed or electric file). CND is also hypoallergenic.

  10. Tabitha Avatar

    I tried the ella+mila nail polish and love it! The colors are pretty, last for two weeks before starting to chip or grow out and the top coat dries quickly.

  11. Cassie Avatar

    Just wanted to chime in that we love ella+mila and that some target stores carry it and the piggy paint brand.

  12. Tera Sommer Avatar
    Tera Sommer

    BioSculpture polish and gels are 10 Free, non-toxic, vegan, cruelty free, with no offensive odors. The polish remover contains NO acetone and works phenomenally! I’ve used for over 8 years and love itttt!

  13. melissa Avatar

    Ella and Mila have amazing nail polish, I also really like their Soy Polish Remover. No stink and no mess leftover on my skin when I take off dark colors!

  14. Susan Avatar

    I’d love to share another company with toxic free ingredients in nail polish. Poofy Organics makes over 100 colors of nail polish and are free of those toxic chemicals. Check them out! My daughter and I love their polish and they last longer than salon colors.

  15. Roberta Avatar

    Are the nail polish “strips” like Color Street a safe option? So many social media influencers are touting them?
    Thank you for your time and consideration ??

  16. Karen Rader Avatar
    Karen Rader

    I bought Acquarella last summer. Good color, no bad smell and the base coat was also nice if you don’t necessarily want color. I stored the polish and base coat in a cabinet away from light and heat. I went to my cabinet to get it out to use at the start of sandal season this spring. Both the polish and base coat had literally turned to concrete! They were expensive and there were no specific directions to keep this from happening. I had to throw them away. VERY disappointed and would not waste my money on Acquerella again.

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