Home Green Products Guide Eco-friendly Nail Polish

Eco-friendly Nail Polish

by DrPrem Jagyasi

Nail Polish does not fall into the category of all-natural products. Find eco-friendly alternatives for your nail polish.


Toxic Trio

The so-called “toxic trio” of chemicals is found in many popular nail polish brands. The “trio” consists of the carcinogen formaldehyde, a hardening agent, toulene, which helps distribute color evenly, and dibutyl phthalate, a plasticizer that prevents polish from chipping. Inhaling these chemicals could lead to developmental defects and cause damage to your nervous system and the environment over a time period.

Contact with toxins poses considerable health threats to salon professionals and children. Many brands removed these materials from their products. Manufacturers that state they are free of toxic trio materials are dubbed “three-free products.”

Mainstream Brands



Butter London – This self-declared “three-free” company was founded in London in 2005. They have a wide variety of lacquers and top coats all made without the toxic trio and other harmful toxins.


OPI –  This brand is one of the more popular “finest” polishes on the market. OPI is another safe bet when planning for your next manicure since their products have been three-free since 2006.


Essie – Essie Cosmetics founder Essie Weingarten began her company by selling small batches of unconventional colors to local salons. Her company made the switch to three-free soon after the toxic trio became a public health concern.


Wet ‘n’ Wild – This is a budget-friendly three-free option with most bottles costing only $2, which makes experimenting with colors and designs even easier.



A number of manufacturers go the extra step and specifically exclude formaldehyde resin and camphor from their polishes, in addition to the toxic trio. Both are non-toxic, but give consumers added safety in knowing potentially harmful ingredients are out of the picture. Here are a few brands that are proudly five-free: Chanel, Dior, L’Oreal, Revlon.

Eco-Friendly Alternatives

There are also a number of worthy, more natural polishes on the market.


Scotch Naturals – These water-based polishes are made without a number of other toxins three and five-free brands already exclude.


Honeybee Gardens – This is another water-based brand that lacks the unpleasant smell you’d expect from solvent-based polish. You do not even need to buy a polish remover for these polishes: you can use rubbing alcohol or vodka to get the job done.


SpaRitual – If you’re looking for a cruelty and toxic-free option, try SpaRitual’s vegan polishes. They have a range of other vegan products to complete your beautification.


Piggy Paint – Piggy Polishes is toxic-free, water-based, hypoallergenic, and of course, kid-friendly.