Numerous harsh chemicals are lurking in the ingredients lists of the most popular nail polish brands. Not only are many of these ingredients potentially harmful to our health, they also cause brittle, dry nails that are highly prone to splitting and breaking. Additionally, common nail polishes are rarely cruelty-free. Popular brands are routinely tested on animals and animal-derived ingredients are frequently used to provide pigment and shine.
Unfortunately, many natural nail polishes are low quality, difficult to apply, and poorly pigmented. We tested over 20 non-toxic brands, and found 5 excellent polishes that are as beautiful and long lasting as their harsh chemical-laden counterparts. These polishes give gorgeous manicures with ease, while nurturing your nails back to their healthiest state.
1. Zoya: This luxurious polish is of the highest quality with exceptionally smooth application and incredible staying power. We wear this polish up to two weeks with no chipping. Zoya does not include any of the potentially harmful ingredients listed above and offers hundreds of shades to choose from. We are currently most impressed by the recently launched Naked Manicure kit, which provides a natural but flawless look.
2. Smith & Cult: Smith & Cult’s brilliant shine and flawless application make it worth every penny! Nearly indestructible, this polish remained chip resistant for ten days. While the color selection isn’t as expansive as Zoya, the hues range from light and summery to bold and edgy. With its perfect consistency, this polish applies like a dream! Free of all of the chemicals listed above, Smith & Cult is one of our all-time favorites.
3. Black Dahlia Lacquer: For fun sparkles and gorgeous holographic shades, Black Dahlia Lacquer is or go-to polish. This lacquer can be somewhat challenging to apply due to its slightly thick consistency, but it is absolutely worth it for the rich, opaque colors and impressive resistance to chipping. We adore the iridescent shades in this non-toxic polish line.
4. Ella & Mila: We can’t get enough of Ella & Mila’s ever growing color selection. The brand offers new color collections every few months based on trends and customer requests. While its staying power is closer to one week, it had the least odor of all of the polishes we tried and seemed the most gentle on our nails.
5. Adrianne K: These highly pigmented polishes are nourishing and long-lasting. With three coats, this polish had gel-caliber staying power. Adrianne K polishes apply very smoothly and we appreciate the bold, creative colors and rapid dry time of this durable line.
Bonus: The Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Remover
Karma Naturals Nail Polish Remover is 100% soy-based and biodegradable. The oil base of this polish nourishes your nails while gently removing polish. Unlike standard nail polish removers, which leave nails stripped and dry, this remover leaves your nails incredibly moisturized and healthy.
After removing polish, make sure to use a moisturizing nail oil, (our favorite is Argan Oil) to provide additional hydration and vitamins to your cuticles and nail beds. It is also beneficial to leave your nails polish-free for a day or two between manicures.
We noticed a dramatic change in the health of our nails almost immediately after switching to a vegan diet. Whether it’s due to the increase in our consumption of vegetables and healthy plant fats, or the lack of calcium-leaching dairy products in our diet, we’re not sure, but the results are undeniable and nothing short of amazing! Our number one tip for nail health (as well as hair and skin health!) is to cut down on animal products and up your intake of whole plant foods.