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6 Non-Toxic Natural Nail Polish Options

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A few days ago I woke up to sunshine and 75 degree weather. It didn't last long and the next day it was snowing. But it got me thinking about my nails… toenails that is. Spring is just around the corner here and it's almost time for sandals and flip flops.

I don't usually wear nail polish on my fingernails because I am constantly washing my hands, doing dishes, and it never lasts. But in the summer, I don't leave home without painted toenails… no way. Unless I am wearing tennis shoes. 🙂

I know I have posted a lot lately about making your own beauty products, but I'm not going to teach you how to make natural nail polish. I'm pretty sure, it's impossible and I wouldn't even want to try.

But I do want to look at:

What ingredients are in nail polish and the safer, natural nail polish options that are available.

Are Your Toes Toxic? Learn About the Alternatives

When I was doing the research for this post, I was surprised to find a story by ABC news about nail polish safety. (Read the Article Here) When mainstream media is doing stories about toxins and chemicals in nail polish, you know it's bad.

So what ingredients are in nail polish?

In the last 5 years or so, a push has been made to remove 3 major offenders from nail polish. These ingredients are known as the “toxic-trio” and include Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate, and Formaldehyde.

The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database has given all 3 of these ingredients a 10 Hazard Rating. (The highest and worst rating.)

These are the definitions according to the Skin Deep Database:

Toluene: A volatile petrochemical solvent and paint thinner, toluene is a potent neurotoxicant that acts as an irritant, impairs breathing, and causes nausea. Mother’s exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may cause developmental damage in the fetus. In human epidemiological studies and in animal studies toluene has been also associated with toxicity to the immune system and a possible link to blood cancer such as malignant lymphoma.

Dibutyl Phthalate (DPB): The State of California and other authoritative bodies have classified dibutyl phthalate (DBP) as a reproductive and developmental toxicant, and the European Union banned the use of this ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. In animal studies, exposure to DBP during gestation causes infertility, cryptorchidism and problems in sperm development, adverse effects similar to human testicular dysgenesis syndrome. Prenatal exposure to DBP has been associated with anatomical changes in the reproductive system development in baby boys. In adult men, DBP has been correlated with changes in serum hormone levels, lower sperm concentration and motility, and decreased fertility.

Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic impurity released by a number of cosmetic preservatives. Despite the considerable health concerns associated with this carcinogen, until recently formaldehyde itself was a common ingredient of nail polish. Consumer pressure has now forced many major cosmetics manufacturers to voluntarily remove this ingredient from their nail products.

I am not a scientist, but that is pretty scary stuff. And to think for so many years I wore nail polish with this toxic-trio of ingredients.

If you have any old bottles of nail polish lying around, throw those babies in the trash!

And even scarier, in the article by ABC News, they state the following:

Tests found toluene in 10 of a dozen products labeled toluene-free, and also identified at least one member of the toxic trio in five of seven products labeled as “three-free.”

 Not good.

So what are your options?

Are there safer, natural nail polish options available?

You won't find a natural nail polish with a Skin Deep safety rating of O because even natural, water based polishes contain some additives and iffy ingredients. But these polishes are a much safer alternative to conventional chemical laden polishes.

If you aren't willing to give up your OPI or Sally Hansen nail polish, make sure your products aren't old (as they may contain the “toxic-trio”) and check their rating in the Skin Deep Database.

If you don't want to take the chance with conventional nail polish and are ready for a more natural alternative,

6 Natural Nail Polishes

Here's the list of my top 6 Natural Nail Polishes:

Acquarella Nail Polish

Acquarella Nail Polish

Skin Deep Rating = 1 

I purchased several bottles of Acquarella Nail Polish and nail polish remover several years ago on Amazon. I loved the colors that I bought, Prissy & Livid. They have 40 colors to choose from, but I only bought 2 because the price is pretty steep. For several years, these were the only 2 natural nail polishes that I owned. (Yes, I am cheap and I like a good deal) The polish did require preparation, buffing and a nail conditioner to get a lasting finish. I found 2 coats to be sufficient for color. You can buy Acquarella Nail Polish on Amazon. 

Suncoat Nail Polish

Suncoat Nail Polish

Skin Deep Rating = 1 

I haven't tried Suncoat nail polish, but the reviews that I've read are pretty positive. Suncoat is a water based nail polish that doesn't require nail polish remover. When you are ready to remove it, just dip your nails in warm water and it will peel right off.  It does require several coats to get good coverage. You can buy Suncoat Nail Polish on Amazon with prices ranging from $5 – $8. (A pretty good price for a natural nail polish) 

Honeybee Gardens Nail Polish

Honeybee Gardens Watercolors Nail Polish

Skin Deep Rating = 1 

Another natural nail polish getting great reviews is Honeybee Gardens Nail Polish. You can buy Honeybee Gardens Nail Polish at on  Amazon for between $7.79 and $12.99.   

Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) Nail Polish

Beauty Without Cruelty Nail Polish

Skin Deep Rating = 2 

Beauty Without Cruelty nail polish is available in 16 colors at The colors are elegant with a lot of purple tones. Very pretty. You can buy Beauty Without Cruelty at or Amazon.

Keeki Pure and Simple Nail Polish

Keeki Pure and Simple Nail Polish

Skin Deep Rating = 2 

Keeki Pure and Simple Nail Polish is a fun alternative to boring nail polish colors. They offer over 33 fun colors including: Blue Slushie, Lemonade, Orange Sorbet, Grasshopper Pie, Strawberry Shortcake. These are great options if you have daughters who love bright, fun colors. Or for when you just want to mix things up. I love all of the colors. They just make me feel happy. 🙂 You can buy Keeki Pure and Simple Nail Polish on Amazon.

Piggy Paint Nail Polish

Piggy Paint Nail Polish

Skin Deep Rating = 2 

I purchased my first bottle of Piggy Paint Nail Polish last summer. I was breastfeeding and I wanted a few more color options than the 2 bottles of Acquarella polish that I owned. carries 15 colors and I ordered the one on the left: Neon Pink. I actually loved this polish on my toes and wore it all summer. When it started to chip, I would just add a layer on top. I'm kind of lazy when it comes to painting my nails. You can buy Piggy Paint on Amazon for around $8 or $9

Before I end this very long post, 🙂 I want to address one more question that I asked myself more than once since my daughter was born:

Is nail polish safe for babies?Is Nail Polish Safe For Babies

I chose not to paint my daughter's nails when she was a baby, although it was tempting. Those fat little toes would've looked so cute bright pink… But I wanted to protect her from any unnecessary exposure to toxins for as long as possible.

Do your research and follow your instincts. Mama usually knows best. When in doubt, skip the nail polish for your baby. She won't remember. 😉 And soon enough she will be asking you to paint her nails and getting in your makeup without asking.

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.


Sunday 6th of June 2021

I agree that I don't want formaldehyde and other chemicals on my skin, in my body, on my nails, etc. I've gotten rid of tons of polish that I had collected over the years. Thanks for these great alternate products. Have you found a good polish remover that works with these natural polishes? I use Honeybee products and bought the polish remover that is made to remove that brand of polish, but I was wondering if you have found a polish remover that works for other "natural" polishes. I know that the Honeybee brand takes a lot of scrubbing to remove the polish, and since their polish is water-based, that is what their removed is made for. Thanks for your healthy polish suggestions!


Saturday 5th of June 2021

Hi Mindy! Thank you for all of the wonderful work that you do on our behalf. I have recently tried Kapa Nui nail polish. From what I can see on EWG, most of the colors get a 1-2 rating. I don’t do my fingernails because I’m in water so much but two coats last 2-3 weeks on my toes. I would love to hear what you think of the product.

Safe Nail Polish Remover Alternatives Without the Fumes - Simple Pure Beauty

Friday 1st of May 2015

[…] conventional Nail Polish. I took a good look into the ingredients in nail polish a while back (read the post here) and what I found wasn’t […]


Sunday 25th of January 2015

Great article, Mindy! Thanks for your hard work and research on a very important subject. I have been getting rid of a lot of mine and more will b going! I am the same as you, always toes panted never fingers! Blessings!

Maddie Lucero

Thursday 20th of November 2014

Hi there! I'm a big fan of nail polish, and have maybe 20 bottles of it from friends or family that gave it to me, which means i rarely have to buy any at all! But, I have a lot that aren't the best brands they have out there. i saw that all the brands you mentioned were 8-15 dollars. Are there any cheaper ones? My family's trying to save money, and we dont have the money to spent on one polish. do you have any coupons maybe? Also, is Essie a good brand? Or OPI? Thanks for your time! - Maddie

Mindy Benkert

Thursday 20th of November 2014

Hi Maddie! I know it's hard to save money these days and $8 can be a lot to spend on nail polish. That's why I only have a few colors. :) OPI actually has quite a few colors that have a pretty decent rating of 2 on the Skin Deep Database, so that may be a good option for you. I would suggest you visit the database here to see which OPI colors are safest. And maybe look up the ones you have just to make sure they are good options. Have a great day!

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