The truth about “non-toxic” nail polish + the brands I use [vegan]

As people seem to be becoming more cautious of what they are using on their body (rightfully so!) we begin to see a lot of words being plastered on products like “non-toxic” and “natural” but this can be a bit misleading. Nail polish is one of those things.

The reality is nail polish will never really be COMPLETELY chemical free. When we see the terms “3-free”, “5-free”, “10-free” etc. used on polishes to appeal to conscious consumers, don’t let your mind rest there. A common practice from companies is to bank on these claims in hopes that people feel their products are safe BUT what are they really saying they are free from?

Back in the day lots of unnecessary chemicals were used to make nail polish and as time’s progressed some have since been eliminated (from “nontoxic” and “toxic” brands alike). But in an attempt to up there “free from number”, non-toxic brands could technically say they are “X-amount free” because they exclude those ingredients which haven’t been used for years anyway. See where I’m going with this? Competition is big in any industry and the natural nail polish world is of no exception.

Despite all the marketing tactics I am in no way claiming that I do not enjoy painting my nails though. Because the nail bed does not absorb chemicals the same way the skin does, I personally am ok with indulging in my little painting pleasure from time to time. The key is to research ingredients and make an informed decision about what you’re ok with using.

To make it a bit easier for you, I have narrowed down a list of ingredients I personally stay away from in my polishes along with the brands I feel comfortable using.

Ingredients I avoid: 

Animal byproducts (/animal testing) – I put this at the top of the list because before anything I see no reason for animals to be hurt at the expense of my pleasure. All polish I use is vegan.

Triphenol Phosphate (TPHP) – plasticizer /flame retardant [endocrine disruptor]

Parabens – used to prevent bacteria growth in cosmetics [throws off estrogen levels and possibly linked to breast cancer]

Toluene – solvent [disrupts nervous system and can cause developmental defects when exposed for long periods of time]

Camphor – plasticizer [highly toxic and flammable]

Formaldehyde – fluid used for embalming [carcinogen *cancer causing agent]

Formaldehyde Resin – a polymer used for adhesive and coatings [allergen]

Xylene – solvent used for staining [irritant and depletes natural oils in nails]

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) – plasticizer [endocrine disruptor]

Sulfates – surfactant used in cleaning products and detergent [irritant]

Brands I use: 


1. Aila Polish – this brand is free from all the nasties and really stays put!! I went a full 2 1/2 days with no clear coat on top before I saw any chipping. They have a beautiful range of colors to choose from and I currently own “mr pookies” – a gorgeous deep brown/purple. This came in my Join Good Being Box which is another reason I highly suggest it!


2. Adrienne K Polish – another fantastic brand that provides great pigment! The lighter color I own (Ella ) did require a few coats but this is the case for all light colors on me so it isn’t a complaint. The red however was super vibrant and lasted a while before chipping (shade: Delilah)


3. Trust Fund Beauty – another great vegan brand that has a fun play on names and the widest selection of colors between all the brands mentioned.  This was one of the first brands I tried when transitioning my polish to cleaner options and I’m obsessed. I own about 6 colors from them.


4. Nourish Beauty– of all the polishes this one could arguably be considered the cleanest as it is water based but it also chips the fastest. If you have little ones who don’t really need long-lasting polish but want to have fun painting their nails this would be the best option. Another positiive is that it has no smell which is super great (the others still smell) and you can actually peel the paint off instead of needing a remover. I own the shade: stay real.

Though I haven’t tried it for myself, the Gabriel Cosmetic Polish also seems to be a great option as well! Have you tried any other cleaner brands? Let me know in the comments and I hope you found this helpful 🙂

Til next time,


3 Comments Add yours

  1. This is an awesome post! I completely agree with you–the only thing we can do is our best!
    Please check out my non-toxic beauty blog for healthy, toxin-free living:

    1. Absolutely!! And thank you so much! Will definitely check it out <3

      1. Thanks a lot 🙂

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