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10 Nail Polish Brands That Are Actually Good for Your Nails

We all know many cosmetics aren’t always made with the best ingredients. But the most toxic one of them all isn’t one for your face, it’s actually nail polish. Most nail polishes contain the “toxic trio”: formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. These toxins are known to cause irritation, headaches and fatigue. Recently, there has been a huge shift toward natural and organic makeup—nail color included. So we’ve rounded up some nail polish brands that are 3-free to 16-free (made without the above toxins) and a lot healthier for your nails.

1. Acquarella

This water-based polish comes in 49 amazing colors and will run you $16 a bottle. It may be pricier than your standard drugstore polish, but this one is also cruelty-free, non-toxic and contains no nasty fumes.


2. Sumbody

CEO and founder Deborah Burnes is a skincare expert who creates products designed to “feed the entire sum of every person.” All products contain locally-produced ingredients and are preservative-free. 


3. Côte

Aiming to combine green, vegan beauty and elegant cosmetics, RGB creates polishes that are 5-free, vegan and gluten-free. The use of natural, vegan and gluten-free ingredients allows for the polish to be chip-resistant and long-lasting, without sacrificing your nail health. Refinery29 calls it “one of the cleanest formulas out there,” so while this product is also on the pricier side, your nails may thank you for the investment.


4. Nubar

After his family was affected by cancer, Noubar Abrahamian wanted to create high-quality nail products that were safe. Keeping the quality of regular polish, Nubar is both vegan and cruelty-free.


5. Kapu Nui

Founders Terry Lam and Lyn M. Lam M.D moved to Hawaii 23 years ago to build a health center, with hopes of providing inexpensive, ethical healthcare for women residing on the island. In their journey, they learned about the dangers of traditional polish and were inspired by how few non-cruelty options were available at the time. All of Kapu Nui’s products are completely free of toxins and are an eco-friendly, water-based alternative.


6. Piggy Paint

Melanie Hurley, a mother of two, realized how toxic the polishes she was using on her children were when a few of the paints “ate” through a foam plate. She decided to create a hypoallergenic and cruelty-free polish that is safe for both children and pregnant women. This polish is also one of the cheapest options, starting at $6.99.


7. Ella + Mila

Inspired by the twin daughters of one of the brand’s founders, this line of polish is 7-free, meaning that in addition to the three common toxins in polish, they are also free of Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, TPHP, and Xylene.


8. SpaRitual

SpaRitual polishes are vegan and 5-free because the company wants their products to be good for people and the planet. Not to mention that color experts have hand-blended each color to create superior coverage and shine.


9. Pacifica

Pacifica is a brand that heavily values eco-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free beauty, which we can tell from their 7-free polish. Pacifica also has a recycling program, where you can send your empty bottles back to them for free and receive reward points! Polish can be purchased through their website, and the brand is also carried at Target.


10. Sally Hansen

Sally Hansen’s Good. Kind. Pure. polish is a plant-based, 16-free, vegan product that comes in 30 colors. Reviews claim that the polish alone lasts up to 5-days chip-free, and that the polish dries perfectly giving you a straight-out-of-the-salon look. Their products range around $7, making this polish a completely guilt-free purchase in our book.


What brands will you be trying, collegiettes?

Emily is a 21 year old from Alexandria, Virginia who studies marketing at Clemson University. She's an avid traveler and a huge concert junkie, with a knack for nail art. After studying in London she fell in love with the city, and hopes to move to New York and eventually London in the pursuit of a career in fashion. Follow her! Twitter: xxem_ily, Instagram: @em_smoot