Watch out for your nail polish, it can be very poisonous. Learn to identify the safest


Conventional nail polish can be one of the most toxic beauty products around, as many contain a host of harmful chemicals. These chemicals are especially harmful to children and pregnant women.

Problems with Nail Polish

Nail polishes often include:

  • Toulene– A chemical known to cause reproductive harm and dizziness. It is also found in gasoline and the CDC warns that it can cause central nervous system problems.
  • Formaldehyde– This known carcinogen is found in many nail polishes. It is also used to preserve dead things and when used in lab preparations, there are strict warnings to avoid inhalation or skin contact.
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) -This chemical is banned in Europe and is known to cause reproductive problems, especially in boys. The Environmental working group classifies this chemical as the highest danger level and warns that it can cause organ problems and endocrine disruption.
  • Assorted other chemicals.

Nail polish removers are equally problematic and the fumes are especially harmful.

Are There Safe Options?


I stay far away from conventional nail polish, but with three daughters, I wanted to find some less-toxic options that they could use occasionally. Many brands claim to be safe and natural but after a lot of research, my daughters and I tested some of the top options that had a safe rating in the Environmental Working Group database.

We had great results with several of the brands we tried and some didn’t work well at all. I’ve shared our top picks below but it is important to note that even these safer options still have some chemicals in them and I wouldn’t use them all the time.

If you’ve been using conventional nail polish, I’d suggest stopping right away but please also dispose of conventional nail polish carefully. The EPA classifies nail polish as household hazardous waste and requests that it is disposed of in a proper hazardous waste disposal site. You can use this directory (in the US) to find a hazardous waste disposal site near you.

It is also important to note that nail salons typically do not use non-toxic nail polish options and that the air in nail salons is usually highly contaminated with chemicals. I suggest avoiding nail salons entirely, but if you do go to one, ask about the nail polish and removers they use and look for safer options.

Non-Toxic Nail Polish Options

These are our favorite nail polish options of all of the brands I researched and all of the ones we tried. I enlisted my daughters as testers on these since they are typically very tough on their nails.


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