May 7th, 2015

5 Safer Nail Polish Brands

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5 Safer Nail Polish Brands Groovy Green Livin


Nail polish comes in and out of my life. Over the past decade it’s pretty much been out. Pre-kids it was a different story. Enjoying an occasional mani/pedi was something I truly looked forward to when I was practicing law. It was an escape from the office. There was a cute nail salon just a few short blocks away. On occasion I would treat myself  to a new color and a few moments of “me time”.

As much as I loved the pampering, I remember walking into the salon and being overwhelmed by the smell. As most of us know, nail polish has a very distinct smell that’s impossible to ignore. After a few years of regular nail salon visits I started to question what was causing that smell and the safety of the nail polish I was putting on my fingers and toes. A little bit of research caused me to go cold turkey. I decided that the chemicals in the polish didn’t belong on my body. No more nail polish for me.

Problem with conventional nail polish

Nail polish often includes this “toxic trio”:

  • Toulene– Toluene is added to gasoline,  and used as a solvent.  Inhaling toulene has been found to cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes, sore throat, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Formaldehyde– Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) -This chemical is banned in Europe. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts and some preliminary studies show that they may be causing a slow and steady demasculinizing of men.  Other studies have linked phthalates to liver cancer and breast cancer.
  • Other assorted toxic chemicals.

There are safer, toxin free nail polish options on the market.

Not only are these safer nail polishes made without the 3 common chemicals found in nail polishes (Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde), but they are also free from 2 other very dangerous chemicals (Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor).

Now I’m back. My fingers are for the most part still au natural, but an occasional pedicure is back in the mix .

Here are a few of the nail polish brands I feel comfortable using:

  1. Zoya Nail Polish –  My local nail salon uses Zoya Nail Polish and I really like this brand. The polish is easy to apply, comes in a wide variety of colors and stays on well.
  2. Acquarella Nail Polish – Acquarella Nail Polish received a 1 (low hazard) score on the Skin Deep website.  This polish is completely water based with virtually no odor.
  3. Piggy Paint Nail Polish – Piggy Paint Nail Polish scores a 2 over at Skin Deep. This polish is kid friendly and doesn’t contain formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone.
  4. Scotch Naturals Non-Toxic Nail Polish – Scotch Naturals Non-Toxic Nail Polish and their kiddie line, Hopscotch Kids got it right with their polish.  Both water based polishes are safe polish that actually lasts.  They come in very cool, eco-chic colors and there is no chemical smell!
  5. Suncoat Non-Toxic Nail Polish Suncoat’s motto is “We believe beauty and toxic chemicals don’t belong in the same sentence.” Their polish is water-based and free of toluene, formaldehyde, phthalate plasticizers (BDP etc) and alcohol, and also free of acetates and toxic preservatives such as parabens and methylisothiazolinone (Neolone 950). It’s colored with mineral pigments and natural colorants. The coolest feature: it peels off! No remover needed

Don’t forget to find a safe nail polish remover

Many nail polish removers and artificial nail products contain a host of toxic chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, reproductive harm, asthma and other negative health effects. If you’re looking for a safe nail polish remover take a look HERE.

What’s your favorite nail polish brand?

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23 Responses to “5 Safer Nail Polish Brands”

  1. Thank you for the tips will have to buy and then take to my favorite salon.

  2. I use Zoya and I’m glad to learn about the other brands too!
    Charise Rohm Nulsen recently posted..This Mom of 6 is Changing Her Life and Saying No to DiabetesMy Profile

  3. So helpful! I like to have painted toes during the summer, but have been concerned about what I am doing to myself when I go to a salon for a pedicure. These safe nail polish options make me feel better about indulging in some me tim!

  4. Happy to help Kimberly. Enjoy your “me” time!

  5. Have to admit that I really like Zoya too Charise. Yes, great to know there are multiple safer options.

  6. You’re welcome Divina. Great idea-I do that too.

  7. I like your post. You inspire and educate us on your blog about these 5 safer nail polish brands. You can really help a lot especially with the women. Great blogs!

  8. My favorite is Zoya! I also like Sheswai – similar formula to Zoya. I always BYOB (bring my own bottle!) to the salon – don’t forget base and top coat! The manicurist is always impressed by how nicely my “natural” polishes go on and how long they last between pedicures.

  9. I’m a Zoya fan too Liane. I’ve never tried Sheswai-I’ll have to find it.

  10. Raising hands over here for Zoya (and I like the colours of Acquarella). I love how many more options we’re having for green beauty products than a few years ago!
    Sara V recently posted..Improve Your Sleep HealthMy Profile

  11. Being a nail biter, I hardly ever have room in my life for nail polish. But when I grow them out every now and again and find the will power, I head straight for a manicure. I’ve never even thought about non-toxic nail polish. Such good things to know here.

  12. I’ve never been a fan of nail polish on girls, it’s always kind of weirded me out. Since my beloved met me, she no longer wears the stuff. Thank god!
    Luke Shavak recently posted..How To Make Organic Living Easy & AffordableMy Profile

  13. […] Nail polish […]

  14. I would like to know how you feel about the Julep brand of nail polish. I was surprised it wasn’t on your list of safe products. Thanks!

  15. Hi Melissa, I haven’t tried Julep nail polish. Tell me more about it. Do you have a link? Thanks!

  16. Here’s the link to the Julep site. Message from their CEO:
    When I left my safe corporate job to start Julep seven years ago, my mission was to change the beauty category, to make it empowering and safe for women, to enable women to play with beauty without fear of unhealthy toxins or participating in the exploitation of other women.

    From day one, we have been the very opposite of the appalling conditions described in the New York Times recent series on nail salons.

    Our Julep polishes have always been five-free—free of formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin, and camphor. Our beauty products are also free of parabens, and both sodium lauryl and sodium laureth sulfates.

    Our four Julep parlors in the Seattle area (where it all began!) were created from the ground up to be “clean green.” We refuse to engage in artificial nail services because of the toxic acrylic dust and solvents that workers who provide those services are forced to breathe. Many industry experts told me it couldn’t be done. That a nail parlor couldn’t survive without the artificial nail services. That I wouldn’t be able to provide higher wages and health care benefits for my employees.

    I want to thank you for proving naysayers wrong. Together, we have built a company that values the lives of the women we serve, and the women & men who work at Julep.

    If we have the courage to care and act upon our values, we CAN create something better.

    Today, I’m so proud that our five-free nail polishes are truly the best on the market without compromise on performance. Our Oxygen Technology enables women to have healthier, stronger nails while enjoying color that lasts. For our cosmetics, we created our proprietary Power Cell Complex™ with rosehip seed oil—aka “nature’s Botox”—so that you can treat and protect your beautiful skin without covering it in harmful toxins. And there is so much more to come.

  17. Thanks for sharing Melissa. Sounds like a great company!

  18. I recently purchased a brand called SUGARLOOM. Great vibrant colors and stays on really well. Bought the Vegan Sacrifice. Aweesome purple color!. Painted mine two weeks ago with no top coat and toes still look great. I think they are located in Vurginia. The pacjaging was gorgeoys. Can sealed shut with old style wax seal. Loved it!

  19. Thanks Angie. I haven’t heard of SUGARLOOM. I’ll have to check it out!

  20. Your welcome Lori. I put a no filter picture up last week if you want to see the beautiful purple color. Im really impressed so far …. You can see it on my ILOVETANGIE instagram page.
    Have a beautiful day

  21. 100% Pure and Pacifica also have safer nail polishes.

  22. […] safer products and shared a few of my favorite green beauty products, shampoos, body lotions, nail polish and lipstick. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of what other trusted sources […]

  23. Piggy paint is really good, i ever try it, as i read a review its kids friendly. Others didn’t try yet
    Sophia recently posted..10 Best LED and UV Nail Lamp – Best Nail Polish Dryer ReviewMy Profile

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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