I’ve loved nail polish ever since I was a little girl. With two older sisters I started using it young and experimented with every color you can imagine!
A few years ago though I learned that many mainstream nail polish brands have some seriously toxic chemicals in them that will end up in your bloodstream when you paint your nails with them! Thankfully, there are non-toxic nail polish brands available, you just have to know what you’re looking for (and avoiding).
The three biggest toxins to avoid in nail polish are:
1. Formaldehyde – a known carcinogen used to preserve dead things
2. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) – linked to developmental and reproductive issues
3. Toluene – a solvent in gasolene that causes respiratory irritation
More recently two additional toxins have been added to the list of worst ingredients to avoid: formaldehyde resin (which releases formaldehyde), and camphor.
Nail polishes that are free of the first three toxins label themselves “3 Free,” but there are many brands which now are free of all five toxins I’ve listed above, and those call themselves “5 Free.” Some brands call themselves “8 Free” or even “10 Free” but these brands determine for themselves what those labels actually mean.
I’ve put together this list of 20 nail polish brands that do not contain any of the 5 or more worst toxins, yet are still loved and work well according to reviews of people who have used them!
Keep in mind that even though these nail polishes don’t contain the top 5 (or more) toxins, some of them may still have other chemicals which can have less harmful effects. They are much less bad for you than most mainstream nail polish brands though!
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a widely-respected organization doing intensive research to help us rid our lives of toxins. You can use their database to lookup lots of personal care items and read about their toxicity ratings. Unfortunately, though, they don’t list many nail polish brands, so I had to delve deeper into ingredients for many brands on this list.
Also check out my post of the 2 best natural nail polish removers!
Just a heads up: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are entirely our own. Thanks for supporting us!
20 Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands
I list Acquarella first because it is water-based and truly clean with an EWG cleanliness rating of 1 (the best)! However, in order for these nail polishes to work, you must use them as directed. The surface dries quickly, but it’s recommended you put it on before bed because exposure to water in the first few hours can ruin them. This polish is odorless as well!
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Reviewers of Obsessive Compulsive polishes are crazy about the colors and say they last well. This brand is vegan and also one of the cleanest nail polishes available with an EWG cleanliness rating of 2.
When I researched the ingredients for this nail polish listed on Priti’s website, none of them ranked as toxic! A reviewer of many non-toxic nail polish brands says her Priti nail polish didn’t chip until a week or so after applying!
Sundays is a self-proclaimed “10-free” nail polish, meaning it doesn’t contain the five worst toxins listed above and also doesn’t contain parabens, xylene, tert-butyl hydroperoxide, or ethyl tosylamide. A top non-toxic polish reviewer says this one stays on very well and was one of her favorites!
LACC also calls itself “10 free“, and they define that to mean their polishes are free of the five worst toxins above as well as xylene, parabens, phthalates, fragrances, and animal ingredients. One reviewer says her LACC polish has great opaque color and it’s fast drying, but starts chipping around day four.
Zoya calls its polishes “Big 10 Free,” meaning they’re free of the five toxins above as well as xylene, parabens, TPHP, ethyl tosylamide, and lead. A reviewer of many non-toxic nail polish brands says Zoya lasted quite well. Zoya is the brand of nail polish you’ll find most often in professional non-toxic nail salons. It comes in over 300 colors!
Smith & Cult
Smith & Cult is a vegan and “8 free” brand, meaning it’s free of the main five toxins as well as xylene, ethyl tosylamide and triphenyl phosphate. Many reviews say this polish stays on a week or more and is of very good quality. One reviewer included helpful pictures of specific colors on her nails in her review.
Also “8 free”, Butter LONDON nail polishes rank between 3-5 on the EWG cleanliness scale. Reviews say it lasts about 5 days without chipping, people love the colors, and it’s fast drying.
Vegan and 8 free, a reviewer of many non-toxic nail polish brands says Aila polish stays on very well compared to the rest and was one of her favorites!
With over 100 colors, Ella+Mila is vegan and cruelty free, and also “7 free”, meaning it’s free of the above five worst toxins as well as TPhP and xylene. According to reviews, this brand lasts a few days to a week without chipping.
Pacifica is “7 free”, vegan, and cruelty free. Many reviews say it can last a week without chipping and dries quickly.
Vegan and 6 free (free of the 5 main toxins and xylene), reviewers love RMS polishes and say they last a long time!
Habit is free of the 5 main toxins. It has myrrh extract in it which strengthens nails. It’s the only nail polish brand with a bamboo cap (yay for less plastic), and it comes in sustainable paperboard boxes. Reviewers say it’s long lasting and the colors are beautiful.
Vegan and 5 free, a top non-toxic nail polish reviewer says ncLA nail polish is one of her favorite brands and that it stays on very well.
5 free, vegan, and cruelty-free, reviews say SugarLoom polishes are long-lasting and have amazing colors.
RGB nail polishes are cruelty-free, vegan, fair trade, and 5 free. Reviewers say this polish lasts a week or more and that the colors have great coverage.
LVX is 5 free and vegan. A reviewer of various non-toxic nail polish brands says LVX stays on the very best of all the brands she’s tried.
Jin Soon nail polishes are 5 free. Reviewers say they doesn’t chip easily and people love the colors!
If you have young girls, check out my post of the 3 safest little girls’ nail polish brands that are entirely toxin-free and water based.
If you want more similar resources, you can read my post about how to detox your personal care products, and I’ve shared a list of my favorite all-natural and non-toxic personal care products that I use daily as well.