Anyone else feel virtually unstoppable after a mani-pedi? There’s just something about having a fresh, glossy coat on your nails that screams, heck yeah, I got this.
Unfortunately, most conventional nail polishes you can find at drugstores or at the nail salon are formulated with toxic chemicals. These include formaldehyde, parabens, and other ingredients harmful to human health. They’ve been known to dry out skin, disrupt reproductive hormones, and sometimes even cause cancer.
Mani-pedis without the toxins are possible, however! There are plenty of non-toxic formulas on the market, and they’re just as good as, if not better than, conventional polishes. Check out some of our favorites for an at-home mani-pedi:
Photo by Jakob Owens
1. Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure
At only $9 a pop, this vegan, plant-based polish is made of what’s known as a “16 free” formula. That means it doesn’t contain 16 harsh chemicals commonly found in nail polishes, such as parabens, formaldehyde, acetone, sulfates, xylene, and phthalates. Even the brush is made of plant-based material.
2. Orosa Pure Cover Nail Paint
For an eclectic mix of bold and bright colors, check out Orosa, whose formulas are quick-drying, vegan, and 14 free (free of 14 toxic chemicals). You can also purchase sets to mix and match the colors.
3. J. Hannah
J. Hannah’s elegant, luxurious nail polishes are characterized by warm, earthy tones. All of J. Hannah’s polishes are non-toxic, cruelty-free, and made in the USA. Additionally, all proceeds from their Dune polish are donated to human rights non-profits, including the Minnesota Freedom Fund and the NAACP.
Photo by Toa Heftiba
Suncoat’s toxin-free polishes don’t contain any chemical solvents typically found in nail polish (toluene, acetates, and others). Instead, these toxins are replaced by water. As a result, not only are these polishes toxin-free, but they’re also virtually odorless.
5. Dazzle Dry
Dazzle Dry is a safe, nontoxic alternative to gel manicures. These polishes are quick-drying, long-lasting, and don’t require a UV light to dry.
A winner of Refinery29’s Innovator Awards for sustainability, Talon is on a mission to create both products that are good for people and the planet. Not only is their formula 12 free, it also repurposes every empty glass bottle you send back with their recycling program.
Photo by Christina Chauskina
With 400 color options and a non-toxic formula to boot, Zoya might just be everything you’ve ever needed in a nail polish. What’s more, each bottle is only $10 apiece.
Online reviewers swoon over JinSoon’s impressive longwear, 8-free formula. This brand is especially great for those who like dark nail polish, which tends to make signs of chipping more obvious.
9. Ella + Mia
Ella + Mia’s ELITE is a burgundy, wine-colored collection, peppered with some lighter hues throughout. The formulas are 7 free and certified cruelty-free by PETA.
Sundays is one of the trendiest nail salons in New York City, and you can get their 10 free, vegan, cruelty-free polishes delivered straight to your door.
Cecilia is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She writes largely about sustainability, especially as it applies to beauty, wellness, and the future of technology. She is a graduate of the journalism department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is based in Los Angeles, CA.