What’s the Deal with Natural Nail Polish?

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It seems like the beauty industry is finally coming around to the fact that shoppers want more natural products. We want fewer ingredients, ingredients we can pronounce, and basically things that are just plain safe. Everything from makeup to skincare and even haircare is becoming more and more natural, and less and less dangerous. Just a quick search on Sephora and you will come across not only hundreds of cruelty-free products, but also vegan, sulfate-free, chemical-free, and so on. You name it, they make it.

But it seems like one area of the beauty world is lacking in the toxin-free element, or is it? Nail polish has always been chemical based. It dries out your nails, makes them brittle, and inhaling all of those fumes cannot be good for your insides. Did you know the EPA classifies nail polish as hazardous waste? And yet, it seems this industry hasn’t changed all that much since the beginning. That is until you do a bit of research. Outside of conventional nail polishes, there are quite a few popular and trendy nail polish brands that do indeed make toxin-free polishes. You no longer have to worry about chemicals like formaldehyde (which is what they use to preserve remains) laying on your nails day in and out. You just have to know where to look.

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Photo via Earth 911

If you have been transitioning your whole routine to a more natural one, you may have overlooked this one category. Or maybe you have been on the hunt for a better and safer nail polish for ages. Either way, these are the brands that are reestablishing the basis of nail polishes by omitting nasty and harmful ingredients from their process. And they are not at all lacking in color selection nor quality.

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Photo via Zoya

Zoya may be the most popular and recognizable of these toxin-free nail polish brands, and that is because they were one of the first to remove harmful chemicals from their formulations. Not to mention, they are also cruelty-free. They started out by removing 5 harmful ingredients and have since launched their 10-free formula. This means their polishes are made without common ingredients like formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor, TPHP, parabens, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, and lead. This makes Zoya one of the industry leaders. Being that they are vegan, affordable, easily accessible, and have more than 400 colors from neutral to vibrant they are clearly the frontrunner. And if you were looking for the latest, their summer collection features some of the hottest colors of the season. Pinks and purples are in!

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Photo via Butter London

Looking for more? butter LONDON is another nail polish brand that has gone green, so to speak. They may not compete with Zoya, being at only 8-free, but that is much better than some brands that still use all the harsh chemicals in their formulas. The brand is cruelty-free and although not all of their products are vegan, they do have a decent selection of nail enamels that are. They offer peel-off colors, treatments, the classics, and have some awesome trends featured in their line up. Whether you love the mermaid theme, are more of a unicorn gal, or go for a lace looking top coat, they have the most unique selections.

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Photo via ella+mila

Right on down the list is ella+mila, a 7-free brand. But I do have to admit, they have the cutest packaging of the bunch. Who doesn’t love elephants? Their motto is that they will always work to make the most natural products they can. And as organic nail polish is not yet possible, they ensure their nail polishes are indeed safe. They are vegan, cruelty-free, and made in the USA. They even have a collection of Mommy&Me sets because their polishes are safe for children. And although ella+mila has some fabulous bright shades, their neutrals are the best sellers.

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Photo via Pacifica

Another vegan and cruelty-free brand offering 7-free nail polishes in Pacifica. The brand you might normally see in Target aisles selling tropical scented body products also sells beautiful shades of nail enamel for less than $10. Pacifica does offer a smaller selection than some of the other brands on this list, but that doesn’t mean they are lacking. Their polishes have a 4.7 out of 5 star ratings across the board and their colors are so indulgent. They may not have hundreds of shades, but you will surely find at least one that speaks to you. One of their bestsellers is London Tomboy, a gorgeous deep teal which goes perfectly with a summer tan and a glass full of margarita.

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Photo via Acquarella

Something you may be intrigued by is a water based nail color from acquarella. The brand started 15 years ago and was created by scientists, engineers, and natural beauty professionals. This was to ensure they truly made the best of the best. The fact that their water color polishes are free from everything makes that true. They are practically separate from the conventional nail polish industry in that their technology makes their polishes odorless, quick drying, shiny, and, long-wearing. The acquarella polishes do not contain formaldehyde, toluene, ketones, solvents, dibutyl phthalate, triphenyl phosphate, polyurethanes, parabens, camphor, mercury, leads, gluten, or hydrocarbons. Not to mention they are also recognized as cruelty-free by PETA. With this, most of their colors do not apply opaque, so they do need to be built up and layered quite a bit, but if you ask me it is worth it to know your nail polish isn’t flammable and won’t cause you or anyone else harm. If you want to know which of their shades are the most loved, it seems the fall/winter shades get the most shoutouts on Instagram.

Which of these intriguing and toxin-free nail polish brands are you leaning towards? If you ask me Zoya is a frontrunner as you can go to Sephora or Ulta to pick up your favorite shade. Convenience is a big thing for me, but acquarella is definitely a close second as it is the closest to natural as it gets for nail polish at the moment.


Cover photo via OPI