We dove into the world of 10-free, 8-free and 5-free nail polish to determine not lone the most nutrify nonpoisonous nail down polish on the market, but where clean meets performance. We looked at more than 25 less-toxic nail polishes and narrowed it down to our top 5 and tested those to see which one came out on lead. here are the best nontoxic nail down polishes, with the best performance .
By : Lisa Fennessy
IN THIS POST:
Nail polish can be slippery to navigate for several reasons. First, let ’ s call out the elephant in the room : Nail polish is paint y’all. therefore, there ’ s no way it will ever be all 100 % organic jojoba vegetable oil and pressed roses…paint needs ingredients like solvents and structure-inducing polymers to make it function. And that ’ s why we don ’ thymine see “ organic ” breeze through polish lining the shelves at Target. 🤷🏻♀️
The other confuse thing with pinpoint polishes is linguistic process, labeling and ad claims, such as “ 3-free ” or “ nontoxic. ” These claims do not need premarket approval by the FDA or the Federal Trade Commission ( FTC ) and there is very express regulation and enforcement of nail polish products .
That being said, some nail polish brands have tweaked and pushed and pulled formulas so that they still work BUT are formulated with fewer of the harsh chemicals. These are the brands we ’ re talking about here .
Language like 3-free, 5-free and more
To in truth drill down, we have to back up. The theme of 3-free smash polish came about in the 2000s when smash polish manufacturers started promoting “ 3-free ” nail polish formulas that excluded three toxic chemicals : formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate .
- Formaldehyde is officially classified as a human carcinogen. (1)
- Toluene at very low levels is highly genotoxic causing DNA damage and mutations in humans. (2)
- Dibutyl phthalate in animal studies identifies DnBP as a reproductive and developmental toxicant. (3, 4)
As formulas evolved to remove these toxic ingredients, the “ XX-free ” mind snowballed and “ 3-free ” became “ 5-free ” which became “ 10-free ” —and I ’ ve even seen claims american samoa high as “ 13-free ” or “ 16-free ” ! This phone number continued to rise as newly health-compromising ingredients were identified and removed like dibutyl phthalates ’ replacement TPHP, acetone, xylene, tosylamide, parabens and more .
It’s the natural evolution of pushing the formulation envelope and it’s one of the benefits of having multiple brands competing in the same space. This competition for brands to position themselves uniquely in the market forces brands to create better which is why we see this evolution .
This is bang-up for us as conscious consumers because it means the changeless refinement of what a less toxic pinpoint polish can look like and how it can perform. Nail poish formulas will continue to evolve overtime and I ’ megabyte personally agitate to see what they will look like in 5 years .
Nail polish ingredients today
This besides means that mainstream nail down polishes are evolving. Mainstream brands hear consumers want safe options and they adjust. When I sat down to start researching this post, I looked at mainstream brands besides like Revlon, Chanel and Maybelline and honestly, I couldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate find not even one formula that distillery included toluene or dibutyl phthalate .
This is authoritative to note because when brands are making claims like “ 10-free ” or “ 8-free ” or listing all of their “ NO ingredients, ” it ’ s not actually setting them as much apart from the mainstream as these marketing tactics suggest .
Finding a cleaner nail polish really means taking a look at what’s in the formula rather than what’s not.
In summation to this, more thoughtful brands have not alone stripped out the more dangerous ingredients, they ’ ve besides started adding in beautiful, nutrify ingredients excessively. This post is an opportunity to look at and celebrate these decisions deoxyadenosine monophosphate well .
The TOG Nontoxic Nail Polish Study
For this study, we worked with cosmetic pharmacist Esinam Agbley, to comb through over 25 nail polish brands that market themselves as nonpoisonous or natural or “ XX-free. ” You can see all the brands that were included here .
We wanted to identify ingredients to consider in today ’ randomness “ XX-free ” complete polish market ( not the antiquate commercialize of “ no formaldehyde, no toluene and no dibutyl phthalate ” ) .
After looking at everything, we were able to identify 5 brands that stood out from the rest.
The tipping point
It ’ south no longer formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate that are the entirely ingredients to consider when it comes to pinpoint polish. Benzophenone-1 ( BP-1 ) in particular stands out as a concern. Benzophenone-1 is used as a UV absorber in cosmetic products, it ’ mho been found to have estrogenic action ( 5, 6, 7, 8 ) and it ’ s found in a bunch of “ XX-free ” nail polishes. And the like goes for benzophenone-3. ( 5 )
This information is not meant to vilify brands who do formulate with benzophenone. This is meant to be a resource for people who want avail make inform decisions when it comes to reading and understanding nail down polish ingredients .
It ’ second important to keep in take care that using a nail polish with benzophenone-1 but without formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, TPHP, acetone, formaldehyde resin, xylene, tosylamide and parabens is obviously besides a better choice .
This decision is also more impactful for avid nail polish wearers over occasional nail polish wearers. Take this info in stride and use it to choose what’s best for you.
I personally wanted to discover the best of the best when it comes to better nail polish. For me, this means finding a formula to celebrate that besides performs .
After looking through all the labels with Esinam, we identified 5 brands that had the least count of concerning ingredients. then we tested each trade name with 2 coats of polish + their own respective top and bottomland coat….or whatever the line provided. If they had both, we used both. If they only had a clear coat, we lone used a greatcoat. here are our results .
The best nontoxic nail polish brands
Kure Bazaar nail polish in Bohemian [DAY 1]
KURE BAAZAR | $18
not tested on animals
Kure Bazaar nail polishes are made of 85 % natural ingredients and they deliver “ healthier nails in color, day after day. ” They glide on smooth, crafty and bright, and come in a assortment of on-trend shades .
Kure is presently one of the most disgraceful nail poish formulas ( IMO ) on the market. It ’ sulfur formulated without the aforesaid typical concerning nail polish ingredients. It ’ randomness besides void of benzophenone-1 and benzophenone-3 deoxyadenosine monophosphate well .
In fact Kure goes above and beyond adding the following nourishing ingredients into their polish formulas:
- Sunflower seed oil, which is rich in oleic acid (omega-9), vitamin E, and rich in linoleic acid (Omega-6). It functions as an emollient and offers moisturizing, nourishing, and soothing effects.
- Bamboo leaf/stem extract, which is moisturizing and nourishing.
- Tocopherol: an antioxidant.
RELATED : Best spring nail down polish colors .
Kure Bazaar Pros
- High shine, beautiful ingredients, and a beautiful mix of trendy and classic colors.
- I love Kure’s topcoat. It’s more of a quick-dry formula that adds a crazy amount of instant shine.
Kure Bazaar nail polish [DAY 3]
Kure Bazaar Cons (Considerations)
- This is a softer formula that has a tendency to take on marks and bed sheet creases easier than other formulas I’ve tried.
- Sometimes this happens when too much product is applied, however I found when I layered less product, I got less of an opaque color (read: streaking).
Both of these critiques are on the balmy end of the spectrum. The streak is not very streaked and the effeminacy is not very indulgent. however, if you are going into this like me trying to find the crossroads of where the cleanest nail polish meets the highest perform breeze through polish, then you will probably notice these as well .
besides, the Base Coat here is critical. I tried using this polish with and without and it performed 100 % better with the Base Coat. The base coat has a screen of tacky/grabby element to it—not to the equal but when the color hits the basis, it grabbed on. I could literally see this happening with my own eyeballs. It besides extended the wear by 1-2 days .
As an add note, the Kure Bazaar remover is INSANE. I never thought I would be in love with a breeze through polish remover but Kure ’ s Natural Nail Polish Remover has got me wrapped around its little finger. First of all, it ’ south packaged in glass ( SOLD ). The bottle is large and beautiful and sits heavy in your handwriting. The stigmatization bold, edgy and TDF .
And most importantly the ingredients are LEGIT off the chain. It ’ sulfur minimalistically and EFFECTIVELY formulated. I mean, it basically removes polish clean off with dimethyl succinate and rosa damascena bloom urine and I ’ thousand over here like 😲😳🤔😎😍. It besides has ingredients like rosa rubiginosa seed oil, which is highly humidify and provides excellent anti-aging properties, helping in the regeneration and healing of damaged peel .
Côte nail polish No. 7 [DAY 1]
CÔTE | $18
vegan, cruelty-free and hand-poured in the USA
Côte founders Mary Lennon and Leah Yari created Côte to provide a safe, transparent, quality merchandise and an elegant nail down care experience that could be shared with their families and friends without worry .
Côte is nothingness of all the distinctive “ NO LIST ” ingredients you will see listed on breeze through polishes and most of their colors are free from benzophenone-1 as well ( but not all ). however, they are presently phasing out benzophenone from the stallion argumentation. I reached out and asked for a list of all the products that were presently benzophenone-free, which you can peep hera .
In fact, Côte goes above and beyond and includes the following nourish ingredients into their polish formulas :
Read more: Holographic and Iridescent Nail Polish
- Safflower seed oil, which is rich in oleic and linoleic essential fatty acids and has high levels of vitamin E. It’s also a potent antioxidant/anti-inflammatory.
- Garlic bulb, which is anti-aging, antifungal, antioxidant and can also help smooth the skin. When applied topically, garlic is a good healer for skin infections and can help improve circulation.
Côte besides works in concurrence with an environmental services caller that provides recycling management services specific to breeze through polish. That translates to you getting 10 % off your following polish purchase when you bring in any secondhand bottle of polish into one of their shops .
Côte nail polish [DAY 3]
- Offers a 2-in-1 top/base coat and a beautiful shade range.
- Has a recycling program for used nail polish.
- I love the Strengthening Top/Base coat. First of all, who doesn’t like a 2-in-1 and second, it’s formulated with calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5) and coffee extract to help strengthen natural nails = beneficial for weak, thin, splitting or peeling nails. It also delivers a beautiful high shine.
Côte Cons (Considerations)
- Some shades contain benzophenone.
- It’s maybe a little unfair to compare light colors to dark colors. I tried their polish in No.7, which is very light. It went on a bit streaky but did even out a bit as it settled in. Three coats would be better than two here.
- The brush is thinner and a little stiffer, which also made it more susceptible to an uneven application.
- Be sure to give yourself ample dry time to avoid marks and imprints.
Côte ’ s signature formulas are cruelty-free and vegan. They offers a 2-in-1 strengthen top/base coat and a beautiful shade rate .
Olive + June nail polish in CDJ [DAY 1]
OLIVE + JUNE | $8
cruelty free + vegan
When Olive + June founder Sarah Gibson Tuttle moved from NY to LA and couldn ’ metric ton find a “ perfect ” pinpoint salon, she created one. ( I like her style ! )
olive + June is “ salon-quality ” and formulated without the aforesaid typical concerning pinpoint polish ingredients. It ’ randomness besides void of benzophenone-1 and benzophenone-3 .
We didn ’ thymine detect any specific pinpoint enhance or discipline agents included in this formula, thus get ’ s omission to the pros and cons .
Olive + June Pros
- By far the most robust amount of shade options available here out of all our picks.
- A hard finish and not susceptible to creasing or denting.
- Shininess held up for days and didn’t dull over time.
- Two coats delivered a totally opaque coverage (no streaking).
- And at $8, the price is definitely a pro too.
overall O+J is a bang-up experience. I love that this is a difficult, more integrated ending. This polish was able to take more of a beat without chipping and held up for DAYZZZ. You can see day 5 ( photograph below ) looked about equally good as day one, less a bantam nick on my hitchhike .
I besides received their uninfected Up Brush and I LOVE IT. I ’ ve ruined so many manis and makeup brushes trying to turn a lip brush into a nail polish remover joyride. This one is great and it ’ s lone $ 8 !
RELATED : Check out my summer nail polish solicitation in collaboration with Olive & June .
Olive + June nail polish [DAY 3]
Olive + June Cons (Considerations)
- SUPER wide brush that may be too big for narrower nail beds. I mean, I have wide nail beds and I even struggled a bit to control the color.
- There is a lot going on over at the O+J website. There’s Olive University, master classes, boot camp….they even have beginner, intermediate and advanced formulas (?). IDK, I found it to be a little overwhelming but maybe that’s just me.
- In that same vein, I was sent a full kit and I found most of the tools to be superfluous. I would recommend just ordering the shades you want and bypassing their systems or kits.
Olive + June nail polish [DAY 5]
Huella nail polish in Heavenly Lights [DAY 1]
HUELLA | $18
vegan + made in the USA
Huella caught our eye with their chic packaging and benzophenone-free recipe. This line presently comes in 34 fun and fresh colors in varying finishes .
Founder Georgia Assaf created Huella when she couldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate find an choice she felt comfortable letting her young daughter use. She specifically wanted to create something that was high-shine + benzophenone-free .
We are smitten with Huella ’ s angular top that can actually be removed ( or kept on ) so you can use the baton with a grip that suits you. Or…
Georgia explains, “ The cap not only looks beautiful but actually has a function. When removed, you can set your finger on it to raise each nail down to make it easier to polish. ”
Huella presents an edit, no-frills formula. Georgia adds, “ Many of the brands on the marketplace are actually the like formula, so I set out to find a formula that works just arsenic well but even cleaner. Our polish is easy to remove and won ’ t wrong your nails, yet is hush created to last for days. ”
- Stylish, eye catching packaging and a fun range of colors.
- Professional-grade flat brush for an even finish.
- Dries hard. Beautiful shine.
Huella nail polish in Heavenly Lights [DAY 3]
Huella Cons (Considerations)
- This is a thinner formula which I love because it dries fast but it needs to be applied “correctly.”
- Huella has a technique guide listed in the description of each polish that emphasizes sealing the edge of your fingertips with every single layer. Personally, this is hard for me to do because I keep my nails so short but someone with longer nails may have better success and consequently, longer wear time.
Huella caught our eye with their chic promotion and benzophenone-free formula. This argumentation presently comes in 34 playfulness and fresh colors in varying finishes .
Sally Hansen GOOD. KIND. PURE. nail polish in Soothing Slate [DAY 1]
SALLY HANSEN GOOD. KIND. PURE. | $6.72
The most shock discovery of this entire study was realizing Sally Hansen made it to our top 5. I mean, GO SALLY !
sortie Hansen ’ s polish touts itself as “ the first plant-based 16-free vegan nail polish ” ( 16-free 😂 ). It comes in 30 shades, is 77 % naturally derived and besides includes “ a modern plant-based brush. ” And I ’ ve got ta say, the brush is actually everything here. It ’ s wider than normal but not clunky and it delivers a seamless, make bold I say, PRO application .
wisecrack Hansen GOOD. KIND. PURE is formulated without the aforesaid concerning breeze through polish ingredients and it ’ s besides invalidate of benzophenone-1 and benzophenone-3 a well .
In fact, Sally Hansen goes above and beyond adding the following alimentary ingredients into their polish formulas :
- Methylthioppopylamido acetyl methionine: An antioxidant peptide that has DNA protection, cell protection and light protection benefits.
- Persea gratissima (avocado) fruit extract: An effective skin conditioner.
- Camellia sinensis leaf extract: Contains antioxidants and is effective for protecting skin cells against damage from sun exposure.
- Spinacia oleracea (spinach) leaf extract: An effective skin conditioner.
Sally Hansen Pros
- Number one: the price.
- Also, accessibility. You can find Sally Hansen at most drugstore stores like CVS and Walgreens.
- Great wear time.
- The brush delivers a seamless application and was EASY to apply.
- Dries pretty quickly.
Sally Hansen GOOD. KIND. PURE. nail polish [DAY 3]
Sally Hansen Cons (Considerations)
- The color range has some gems but overall it’s a little lackluster and dare I say dated?
- In the right light, it can look streaky—some shades may need three coats.
And if you dig through the component list, you will see some ingredients like EDTA that are less than ideal. Kate Noonan, molecular biologist, and cosmetic pharmacist explains that “ Although EDTA can be a concerning ingredient in skin care, it ’ s used in a super-minute amount in nail polishes. ”
The GOOD. KIND. PURE. production line doesn ’ triiodothyronine have an obvious al-qaeda coat but after reading through all the options, it looks like the Hardener can be used as a basis coat ( or as a moment greatcoat ). We tested it both ways .
Without the Hardener as a free-base coat, it looked capital for 2 broad days and with the Hardener, it lasted a bite longer. And in both instances, we used the G.P.K. Top Coat excessively .
This formula dried heavily enough—like if you painted your nails at 4 promethium, you would be all right overnight with little to no rumple .
then arouse to recommend this sword as an accessible and low-cost choice !
sally Hansen GOOD. KIND. PURE .
sortie Hansen ’ s plant-based, 100 % vegan breeze through polish offers beautiful coloring material and fall with no compromise .
Dazzle Dry nail polish in Foxy [DAY 1]
Dazzle Dry | $18
not tested on animals + vegan + made in the USA
Dazzle Dry doesn ’ thymine actually belong in this mail because it ’ s not a “ traditional ” nail polish. It ’ s actually classified as ( and behaves arsenic ) a mousse sol, if you ’ re looking for a barter for a gelatin mani, girl, THIS IS IT .
This is a 4-step nail system that promises a 2-week wear time. And I got 14 days out of my mani, so I’m including it here as an option!
Founder Dr. Vivian Valenty launched this system in 2007 as the “ only quick-drying, durable natural smash manage arrangement of its kind. ”
It ’ south detached from all of the aforesaid ingredients to consider including benzophenone. The brand ’ s top coat does contain aroma and cyclomethicone—which again are credibly not concerning when percentages are factored into the equation .
On the flip, Dazzle Dry shares that their formulas besides “ do not contain cellulose nitrate, which can cause complete plates to yellow and nail polish to degrade. ” They continue, “ Because of this, our products never expire and your nails never yellow. ”
Dazzle Dry nail polish [DAY 5]
Dazzle Dry Pros
- LONG LASTING + QUICK DRYING. A better swap to conventional gel formulas and conventional gel application.
- I loved everything about the performance here. The quick-dry and the long-wear benefits are GAME CHANGERS. It’s a paint and go experience that pays dividends for weeks (yes, “weeks” as in plural! 😂).
Dazzle Dry nail polish [DAY 14]
Dazzle Dry Cons (Considerations)
- Price. You have to buy the entire system, which is an initial $60 investment.
- The multi-step system presents a bit of a learning curve.
1. Boyle, Peter, M.D. IARC Classifies Formaldehyde as Carcinogenic. Oncology Times, July 2004. ( hypertext transfer protocol : //journals.lww.com/oncology-times/fulltext/2004/07100/IARC_Classifies_Formaldehyde_as_Carcinogenic.27.aspx # : ~ : text=The % 20International % 20Agency % 20for % 20Research, formaldehyde % 20as % 20carcinogenic % 20to % 20human )
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5. Kerdivel, Gwenneg ; Le Guevel, Remy ; Habauzit, Denis ; et. aluminum. estrogenic authority of Benzophenone UV Filters in Breast Cancer Cells : Proliferative and Transcriptional Activity Substantiated by Docking Analysis. April 4, 2013. ( hypertext transfer protocol : //doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0060567 )
6. BP-1 was found to be mutagenic in the Ames test ( Wang et alabama. 2018 ) and caused epithelial-mesenchymal passage ( EMT ) of BG-1 ovarian cancer cells ( Shin, et alabama. 2016 ) .
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8. Shin S, Go RE, Kim CW, Hwang KA, Nam KH, Choi KC. Effect of Benzophenone-1 and Octylphenol on the Regulation of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition via an Estrogen Receptor-Dependent Pathway in Estrogen Receptor Expressing ovarian Cancer Cells. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2016 Jul 1 ; 93 : 58-65 .
A list of brands included in this study
- Sally Hansen GOOD.KIND.PURE.
- Kure Bazaar
- Smith + Cult
- Butter London
- Ella + Mila
- Deborah Lipmann
- Jin Soon
- Londontown Lakur
- Olive + June
- Flora 1761
- Nash + Pino
- Nails Inc.
- Dazzle Dry
- Base Coat
- 10 Free Chemistry
- Stella Chroma
CÔTE products that are currently benzophenone-1 free
- 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 27, 32, 38, 41, 43, 46, 50, 55, 56, 61, 71, 96, 98, 99, 110, 111,119,120,121,122, 123, 124, 125 and…
- Growth with Garlic Base Coat
- Protective Base & Top Coat
- Quick Dry Top Coat
- Smoothing Base Coat
- Resurface & Repair Base Coat
- Strengthening Base & Top Coat
Is nail polish toxic? radius formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate that are the alone ingredients to consider when it comes to pinpoint polish. Benzophenone-1 ( BP-1 ) in particular stands out as a concern. Benzophenone-1 is used as a UV absorber in cosmetic products, it ’ s been found to have estrogenic activity ( 5, 6, 7, 8 ) and it ’ s found in a lot of “ XX-free ” smash polishes. And the same goes for benzophenone-3. ( 5 )
What is nail polish made of? Nail polish is paint y’all. therefore, there ’ s no manner it will ever be all 100 % organic jojoba oil and pressed roses…paint needs ingredients like solvents and structure-inducing polymers to make it function. And that ’ s why we don ’ thyroxine see “ organic ” nail polish lining the shelves at Target.