While we’re staying home and social distancing, at home manicures and pedicures have been the perfect way to pass the time and add some sense of normalcy to your week. I thought now would be a good time to mention my favorite nail polish brands that focus on quality ingredients and are cruelty free.
I’d like to say that these are “natural” nail polish brands, however, I don’t think nail polish can ever really be what I define as natural or from natural ingredients. While acknowledging this, there are still brands that do a huge part in focusing on using MORE natural ingredients and creating quality formulas that are not filled with toxic chemicals.
That being said, what even are the ingredients that these brands avoid, and why are they important to avoid?
Formaldehyde may be more of a known toxic ingredient, however the many other “popular” chemicals are not as commonly known.
According to LeafScore (www.leafscore.com), the three most important ingredients to avoid are Formaldehyde, Toluene, and Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and other plasticizers in nail polish. (Camphor, ethyl tosylamide, triphenyl phosphate)
Formaldehyde is not only toxic to ingest, but while it is used in many nail hardeners, with continued use it can make your nails brittle and more prone to breakage, splitting, and peeling. When this happens it can be easier for other chemicals to easily absorb into your nail beds. It is also a known carcinogen, as is Toluene. It is a VOC (volatile organic compound), which is known to cause infertility, miscarriage and severe fetal and newborn development.
DBP is a plasticizer that is dangerous primarily with young children, causing liver and kidney failure. It is also classified in the EU as a suspected endocrine disruptor and reproductive toxin.
Camphor and other plasticizers are extremely important to avoid, as camphor can cause severe illness in adults if consumed including nausea, headache, shortness of breath, irritation to skin, nose, lungs, eyes, and central nervous system issues that can cause convulsions, breathing difficulties, and even death.
Additionally, you may want to watch out for these ingredients as well: Xylene, Benzophenones, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, and Butyl Alcohol.
These ingredients are not as dangerous to the environment or your health, but they are important to actively avoid. Especially if you are doing work to make natural and sustainable switches in your day to day beauty routine, nail polish and your weekly or monthly beauty products are important as well!
I recommend reading this article as I found the information very useful about why we should actually be avoiding these ingredients, for more reasons than that it’s bad for your nails. (https://www.leafscore.com/nontoxic-cosmetics/nail-polish-what-to-watch-out-for/)
With that being said, I like to purchase nail polish brands like Zoya, Orly, and Olive & June who avoid chemicals such as those listed.
Zoya was the first brand to remove ingredients such as toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP (dibutyl phthalate) from their formula. Which is likely why Zoya is more known as the “natural” nail polish brand. This may be why Zoya has (in my opinion) more shades than most of the other nail polish brands; they have been doing this for a while! Zoya is also one of my favorites for their naked nail polishes, which are lightly tinted clear polishes for a brighter, healthier natural nail look. I definitely recommend checking them out if you haven’t already!
ORLY Nail Polish is one of my favorites. I find their bottles and brush handles super easy to work with. ORLY is formulated without Toluene, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, MEHQ/HQ, MIT, Parabens, Animal Derived Ingredients or Gluten. These are the most toxic chemicals I’ve seen omitted from a high quality nail polish brand, which is why ORLY is one of my favorites! There are also the Breathable polishes which offer a formula that does not need a base coat or top coat, and gives your nails a treatment while also looking cute. Orly has had some great sales recently, and they are currently offering a $5 nail polish sale until tomorrow (March 31st), with free US shipping over $25.
Olive & June
Finally, I wanted to include Olive & June because they are one of my newer, favorite brands to use. Olive & June has a super long lasting formula, while also being 7-free (formulated without dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, or xylene), as well as cruelty free! Olive & June is one of my favorite brands not only because they have a great formula, but because they encourage everyone being able to do their own “at home mani”. With a polish that is so long lasting, you won’t even need to return to your salon for your favorite gel manicure. I highly suggest checking out their website because they are currently offering Free Shipping!
Check out these brands, and please reach out to me if you have any questions or comments! I hope you found this post interesting and informative.