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. Kayti Avatar

    I have been saturating mysel with all this new information the past couple months and while driving in my car this morning I was contemplating if nail polish was something i should consider changing since I ALWAYS have my nails painted and when I got home to check for new info, the nail polish info was the first to come up! THANK YOU KATIE FOR THIS!

  2. Melisa Avatar

    A bottle of Suncoat came in my Conscious box a few months ago and I found it peeled way too easily. I was afraid Piggy Paint would do the same. Looking forward to trying Scotch. A base coat, color, and top coat is going to run about $50. I guess I spend that on a pedi…but still steep!

    1. Bridget Avatar

      I recently just switched to Scotch and love this brand! If you go to their website and look under the “Our Products” section they have a “detox package” that includes the base coat, top coat and one color for $40. Still spendy but it’s so worth it, and for me a bottle lasts quite awhile! I also ‘liked’ them on facebook and will occasionally find that they offer a coupon code. I managed to get each bottle for $11. Hope that helps 🙂

  3. Beth Avatar

    Also check out Jamberry Nails. They are “wraps” that you just stick on and they last for weeks. No paint, no remover! You can order them online or through a rep.

  4. Kelly Bonanno Avatar
    Kelly Bonanno

    Thanks for sharing, I’m always looking for safer nail polish options! I try to use polish that doesn’t contain formaldehyde resin or camphor either making it 5 free (free of all 5 harsh chemicals). I like Zoya & Jenna Hipp, both are 5 free. ELF is pretty good & cheap – only $2 a bottle but it’s only 3 free.

  5. Sari Avatar

    My daughters (6 and 4) LOVE polish. It’s all they ever want to do. When we visit family in the summer they look forward to their mani/pedis with their grandmas.
    I was sitting with the 6 yo when I read this article and I think it basically scared her off nail salons and mani/pedis… at least for a while. (“You mean, maybe you won’t be able to have babies?!”)
    Not sure if that’s a good thing. I mean, I obviously want them to be safe and healthy, but it feels bad to take away something they love.
    PS – Sat with her on Amazon and she picked out some Piggy Paints…

  6. Shea Avatar

    Hi! What about London Butter brand? I found it at Ulta and it works very well (glides on smoothly and lasted on my toes for a few weeks), doesn’t smell nearly as bad and advertised that it doesn’t have formeldahyde at least and I think some other toxic chemicals.

    I also wanted to mention that since reading your blog and adding gelatin into my diet more, my nails are so much stronger and naturally shiny/buffed looking, I don’t even need nail polish now (except on my toes I still wear it). My finger nails look like a natural french manicure 🙂

    1. JG Avatar

      I second the vote for Butter London. Great colors and long lasting!

  7. Jade Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    Have you tried Dr.’s Remedy Nail Polish? My aunt is a Chiropodist, who introduced me to this brand several years ago, and it is the only one I will use now! They have over 30 colours, it goes on like traditional nail polish, and stays on for a long time. They also have a great nail polish remover.

  8. Maureen Avatar

    I have switched to non toxic nail polish as well. I have found that Scotch brand works well. There is no smell, great colors and it stays on. I only paint my toes in the summer and I find no difference in duration from conventional nail polish.

  9. Maggie Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    First of all, thank you so much for the time and effort you have made into this incredible one-stop shop for natural at-home remedies. I stumbled upon your site after a terrible breakout this past winter, followed by research on products to fight acne and discovering how many toxic chemicals are out there, in pretty much everything. So thank you for making our lives a lotta bit healthier and little bit easier. I’m writing to you today because I have a request. I know you are busy, but if you have time to hear me out that would be awesome.

    My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, and is currently going through chemo. I have been slowly introducing her to natural ingredients/products (I just made her your foaming hand soap and she loves it!), while informing her of some of the things to watch out for that are so terrifyingly commonplace in beauty products. I love my mama more than anything, and so I really want to take this one step further by making all the necessary products she needs for her routine. I know this sounds like a lot, and I need to take it one step at a time, but I would like to start with making her some lotion, shampoo/conditioner (although she might lose her hair, I could at least make this for before that happens/after she gets it back), face/body wash, and maybe even wrinkle cream if possible (or have that aspect in a face wash or toner, something). I’m wondering if there’s a way I could get in touch with you for some assistance in creating a chemo-safe, cancer-sensitive, routine. This would give her (and me) peace of mind that she is doing everything she can to stay healthy, and I know she would physically feel better as I have once I started going natural. I would be willing to pay you for your time. Either that, or I could at least use some guidance as to what ingredients/recipes are safe for her and could really help her as she faces the side effects of chemo/cancer– dry skin, hair loss, etc.

    If you don’t mind sending me an email (listed here) that would be great. Sorry for commenting on an unrelated post, but I’m desperate as she just started chemo last week and is already experiencing the side effects, and couldn’t find your contact info. I know this is asking a lot, but she and I would be so grateful to have some assistance through this tough time. Thanks again for all you do and God bless.

    1. Megan Avatar

      Have you heard of Kris Carr? Amazing woman who beat cancer with diet ALONE. She has a documentary, book, website, you name it is her website). Sending my thoughts to your family.

      1. Louise Avatar

        Check out Charlotte Gerson on youtube…there’s a clinic in Mexico. They have amazing results with a complete diet change involving juicing.

  10. Mabel Avatar

    Honeybee Gardens nail polish peel off in one piece hours after they are applied. I don’t recommend them at all however their nail polish remover is great.

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I have used Honeybee Gardens for years and never had problems with it peeling off. I use it on my toes and it stays on for months. I just touch it up as needed.

  11. Romy Avatar

    Hi, My wife and my daughters were recently swept away by the nail art craze.Will ask them to have a glimpse at this informative article.I knew about the effects of toluene, formaldehyde etc but forgot that kids grow up so fast.Nice read.

    1. Stephanie Avatar

      Tell them to check out Jamberry Nail wraps! If they’re into the nail art craze, then they will love these wraps! They’re non-toxic, chemical-free and won’t damage nails. They’re made of a vinyl that adheres to your nail with the use of heat and pressure. Jamberry also makes a 5-free lacquer that is made without the 5 most toxic ingredients usually found in polish. They really are a great product and company. I will have to say they have really made me feel a lot less guilty about doing my nails since they’re so safe to use.

      1. Romy Avatar

        Thank you,Stephanie.The girls will definitely love to give in to their favorite weekly ritual without worrying about health issues.

        1. Mary Avatar

          PVC is definitely toxic. You might want to consider revising your article to educate about the phthalates in PVC, which are hormone disrupting chemicals. This is a serious toxin for everyone, and especially young girls. There is no non- toxic vinyl, and vinyl is PVC.

          1. Maddie Avatar

            My understanding is that PVC (and the phthalates in Jamberry specifically) is only dangerous when heated to extreme heats, such as being burned.

      2. Christine Avatar

        Jamberry nails are toxic. I was going to sell them until reading this:

        1. Megan Avatar

          I am super curious about Jamberry nails! Is the PVC in the wraps ok if it is not heated? This is really important to me and I’ve been using their wraps for awhile and love them. But I would like to find some solid information about PVC, Jamberry and the heating process!

          1. Dee Avatar

            I use 100% pure products. Their nail polishes are not pure. I look ingredients before buying. As far as make up i love buying ive bought 3 times and will for make up

        2. Amanda Avatar

          Katie, love your blog and all you do! I love love love Ella+Mila nail polish and so do my kids, we get the mommy and me sets all the time??. Can’t wait for your new products to come available, definitely will be supporting your business!

      3. Sarah Avatar

        Jamberry nail wraps can harm your nails. They damaged mine, causing my nails to detach from my nail beds on every finger and I applied and removed properly. They also caused cracking, brittleness and breakage. They try to upsell you with their cuticle oil saying that you need to apply that continuously while wearing the wraps (I was a consultant). I never thought about the latex and heating it. They do however, have a line of 5 free lacquers aka nail polish and just came out with a nail polish remover that I have not tried. The colors of their polish are very pretty but very smelly. They don’t last more than a day on my nails no matter how many coats I put on. I never thought to look on here for other safer nail polish options since the Jamberry wraps are a no for me! Thank you for all the info. and comments listing other brands as well.

        1. Julie Rebelo Avatar
          Julie Rebelo

          I would like to reply to this post because I don’t feel it is accurate and would like to defend Jamberry nails. Sorry for the problems you had with the wraps, but why would you become a consultant if you had such terrible experiences with the product? Do you possibly have extremely brittle nails and if so you possibly shouldn’t use anything at all on your nails? As for the nail lacquer, that does have the 5-free formula, and has no smell whatsoever. I know, because my daughter would paint her nails frequently with regular polish and the smell would be overwhelming. I switched us to Jamberry, between the wraps and the lacquer and I’m extremely happy with the entire product line. I am a Jamberry consultant now, but it came after using the product on myself, my daughter and my friends and making sure it was exactly what it says it is. Their removal method shouldn’t be difficult but for damaged nails they do show several gentler removal methods. Again, I’m sorry you had such difficulty with your nail wraps.

          1. Adri Avatar

            Your positive experience doesn’t change that they are made from PVC. They are toxic and should be avoided for health reasons.

          2. Jenny Avatar

            I agree with Adri. Not only is the PVC toxic but the adhesive also has acid in it. I’d recommend asking Jamberry for the full list of ingredients (if you can get it….red flag) and look up everything for yourself.

          3. Kat Avatar

            PVC is toxic, especially when heated. Please reconsider letting your child use such a toxic product.

  12. Lois Avatar

    Katie, I love to buy local in addition to natural. I’m from Canada. Can you tell me if any of those are Canadian made? My second preference would be American made.

    1. Nadia Avatar

      I don’t think the nail polishes are Canadian but, if you are looking for makeup in general, Pure Anada is made in Canada, non toxic, affordable and awesome!

      1. Brenda Sanders-Passmore Avatar
        Brenda Sanders-Passmore

        Their entire line is organic,vegan , gluten free, cruelty free . They have a polish for children which is non toxic and pure. The adult nail polish is a very good quality product these are not water based however they are “5 Free” meaning they are made without the top 5 hazardous ingredients I nail polish. They carry an over/under polish for base and topcoat and comes off with their soy bases remover.

    2. Shannon Avatar

      SpaRitual is the brand I use as it is vegan as well 😉
      For polish remover and lacquer

  13. Dani Avatar

    I’m in the process of making some life style changes and eliminating conventional skin care and beauty products as much as possible. However for makeup and nail polish it gets a little tricky. The natural makeup options I’ve tried so far didn’t work too well and came on very uneven and looked quite blotchy. I came across a brand called 100% Pure and was considering to try some of their makeup products and nail polish options they have.

    I was wondering if anyone has any experience or opinions on this brand to share.

    1. Lisa Avatar

      Have you heard of Ava Anderson Non Toxic? Great message, great company, and great products. List of 18 toxins not found of any of their makeup, skin care, personal care, and home care. The facebook page is an excellent source of education in non toxic living. Take a look at them.

    2. Gabriella Avatar

      Hi Dani,
      I am also looking for some chemical free make up and have come across 100% pure some time ago. So far I have only bought a bubble bath for my son and a mascara, and I have to say I love them both. I am thinking of also trying their complete make up and nail polish so I’ll let you know how I get on.

    3. Anna Avatar

      Have you looked at Real Purity or Signature Minerals? Real Purity makes the absolute best mascara I have ever used, plus it’s completely natural and nontoxic. Their deodorant is really great too (for clean armpits only :). I use Signature Minerals concealer, powder, and eyeshadow that doubles as eyeliner with the right brush. I never wear foundation but I did try one of their samplers and thought it worked really well. My skin quality has improved since using the concealer and powder, and I’ve had the same containers for over a year, so they are well worth the price.

      1. Anna Avatar

        I’ll add that Signature Minerals is significantly cheaper than other comparable mineral makeup brands, but again safe and nontoxic.

    4. SUSAN Avatar

      Yes I use 100% pure everything…all my make up and skin care…they list all ingredients so you know what u r putting on you skin…..they r pricey but worth in!

    5. Marge Avatar

      Have you ever heard of NYR organics? Love there products and no toxins.

    6. Beth Avatar

      I’ve used a few different colors from 100% pure and I love them. But you have to use regular remover to get them off. I love their red and grey polished.

    7. Tiffany Silvertooth Avatar
      Tiffany Silvertooth

      I’ve been using Young Living’s Savvy minerals all natural make up and love it!

  14. Bea Avatar

    Hi, I’m super addicted to your blog and have since tried a few of your recipes of yours. The only bummer is that I have no access to MRH here in Portugal, but I’ll find a way to get quality ingredients even if takes way longer.

    I have recently made an active change in my lifestyle and have spent countless hours researching this and that. One of my worries was exactly nail polish and although I haven’t gone too deep on the subject yet. During one of my quick searches I came across this one brand that cures in the sun and is supposedly free of the major chemicals present in most nail polishes. I haven’t checked but I wanted to leave it here so maybe you could if you wanted to.

    Keep spreading the green lifestyle, I’m loving it! 😉

    1. Vashti Avatar

      I have researched this brand and I will also include a link below posted by The Green Goddess Sophie Uliano reviewing this brand. The companies website says that you can cure in the sun, but their recommedned application for 2+ weeks of proffesional wear is usuing Bio Seaweed Gel’s recommended cure times designed with their own branded BSG lamp models. There are concerns of repeated exposure to these lamps(same as tanning beds) but i recommend using UV gloves. Amazon has been out of stock for a while, but you can google for another source. The other downside is you still have to soak in 100% Acetone to remove. However the company claims you don’t have to soak as long for removal as with other Gels.

  15. Kelly Avatar

    You should definitely look into Pacifica! They just released their SEVEN-free nail polish line not too long ago and I love them!

    1. Claudia Avatar

      I’ll try Pacifica. I use their lipsticks and I love them. And they score very well with Environmental Working Group.

    2. April Avatar

      Interesting! I recently started using Pacifica Stellar Gaze mascara & LOVE IT!!! It’s the first clean mascara I’ve ever tried. And, although it does seem to take a little longer to completely dry, it just feels so clean going on & coming off. And I’ve NEVER had a dry flake in my eye like the junky (but still $$$$) drugstore stuff. I was thinking of switching to all things Pacifica as I run out of other makeup items. Good to know they have a nail polish line also! Thanks for mentioning this!!

  16. Bianca Avatar

    I’m not sure how it compares to the brands you listed, but I think ZOYA may qualify as non-toxic, and it’s pretty long lasting.

    1. Christina Avatar

      I also really like zoya. Good price, lots of great colors, stays on decently (I’m really rough on my hands ), easy to remove. I know it’s formaldehyde free and something something else free but don’t remember.

      1. Colleen Avatar

        I like ZOYA. They are not listed in the EWG database, but are free of toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP (dibutyl phthalate). Tons of colors! And they will dispose of your conventional nail polish for you!

        1. Jen Avatar

          I believe ZOYA is seven-free as well! Love their colors and it is the only one I will let my little girl wear!

          1. Brooke Avatar

            I think Zoya actually advertises as being 10-free! I love it. I’ve also heard wonderful things about Smith and Cult, which is 7-free. Some of the girls on my Beautycounter team have recommended it, but it is definitely pricier.

  17. Wendy Avatar

    I have used Essie, Opi and Zoya, mainly because they were offered as the only non toxic option when I would get a pedicure. I used to buy a brand from Whole Foods but I can’t recall the name. I also bought a formaldehyde free nail polish remover from Whole Foods as well.

    1. CJ Avatar

      How did you like these brands?
      Anyone brand better then the others? Do any stay on better/not chip as easy?

    2. Pat Barsumian Avatar
      Pat Barsumian

      Have tried and liked zoya, polish and remover. I’m a breast cancer survivor and researched after realizing toxicity of polishes and removers. Having three grand daughters added to my concern. Girls are impressed with how well the polish stays on and colors available. I hope I made a good call.

  18. rebecca Avatar

    Pacifica Perfume has a 7 Free Nail Polish line, I haven’t tried it but the colors look beautiful!

  19. Sam Avatar

    This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Since changing my lifestyle I gave up nail polish since it’s so toxic but now that the warm weather is here I miss painting my nails. And since I just had a baby girl this will be invaluable when she is a little older. Thanks 🙂

  20. Amanda Avatar

    What about removal? The only brand of these we’ve tried is Piggy Paint and it is practically IMPOSSIBLE to remove! Besides the one that just peels off, do the other brands have this issue?

    1. Anne H Avatar

      Aquarella is mentioned in the article as having a non-toxic nail-varnish remover. Presumably it will work on the other brands too.

      1. Patricia Avatar

        I tried the nail polish remover and you have to work very hard at removing the polish. I got most of the polish off except on my big toe nail. I am running around with that nail half painted.

        1. Clara B Avatar
          Clara B

          I use Piggy Paint, I just soak pieces of cotton in rubbing alcohol, place on the nail and wrap tin foil around it to keep in place. Wait 15 minutes or so and it should scrape off easily 🙂

        2. Laura Weinstein Avatar
          Laura Weinstein

          To the group: Piggy Paint is toxic. Checking the rest. Just tried Pacifica. Smelly, so doesn’t seem right. Suncoat passed the non-smelly test. Not crazy about peeling off…

          1. Ewa Avatar

            What about 100% Pure nail polishes? Are they non-toxic too? Anyone tried?

          2. Anne Avatar

            Also wondering about 100% Pure. I like most of their products, particularly their fruit tinted blushers and lipsticks.

          3. Mary Avatar

            What qualifies it as toxic? EWG (my go -to) rates their polish as a 1. Please advise- thanks!

        3. Laura Weinstein Avatar
          Laura Weinstein

          Have one I got on Amaxon. Soy based, nice. I’ll get the name for you…

          1. Jaimi Avatar

            I use the 100% pure polish. It’s not as clean of a formula probably as the others Katie listed. But it does stay on nicely. You really need the top coat to give it shine and keep it on though. It does smell a little…but not as bad as regular stuff!

    2. kathleen Avatar

      I was wondering the same thing about removal.
      I stopped using polish years ago. I always did it myself but once went into salon to pick up gift card for someone. I could not breath in there and decided it could not be good to put those toxins on the nails. Thanks for this list.

        1. Kathy Scott Avatar
          Kathy Scott

          I’ve used Spa Ritual for years in my salon. Today I discovered that they are not as pure as they claim by looking at the EWG Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. So have been on the search for a better one. It’s not clear cut.

          1. Grace Avatar

            Use dazzle dry. Only true non toxic polish.

        2. Deb Avatar

          Spiritual does not fair well with the EWG though. I was hoping when I looked it up but not good.

    3. Laura Weinstein Avatar
      Laura Weinstein

      Piggy Paint has toxins. Don’t know about rest yet. I’ll let you know…

    4. Annette Avatar

      Sophi is piggy paints adult version and it too is nearly impossible to remover.

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