safer nail polish & diy or buy remover

if you haven’t gotten the memo, typical commercial nail polish is NOT safe to use. so this post is coming from a very sad nail polish junkie that very recently started to kick her nail polish habit (coughcough, ME).

this is gonna be a quick post, but still has all the good info in it 🙂

safer nail polishes and removers (polishes with less harsh chemicals)

why is nail polish toxic?

nail polish contains toxic chemicals that affect the body, such as:

  • dibutyl phthalate
  • toluene
  • formaldehyde
  • camphor
  • FD & C colors

these chemicals have been linked to-

  • cancer
  • asthma
  • birth defects
  • irritation of the eyes, throat and lungs (i always cringe at the smell)
  • nervous system damage

knowing this, where do you even start?

types of nail polish you want to look for:

  • water-based nail polishes (wear off easily & quickly)
  • 3-free (free of the first 3 chemicals listed above)
  • 4-free (free of the first 4 chemicals listed above)

“safer” nail polish is PRICEY (well, except for pure ice). hopefully that’ll change as the organic and chemical conscious movement gains more ground

a word about “#-free” nail polishes…
a study completed by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control tested 25 randomly selected nail polishes and thinners. and ya know what? they found  (despite advertisements) some nail polishes STILL contained some of the harmful chemicals listed above. so do your research!!

now what do you do when you wanna remove it/switch up colors?

i haven’t found a nail polish remover i’m okay with. but i guess chemicals are indeed needed to remove hardened paint on nails…sigh. here are some that are a little better than others.

and since i’m not a fan of typical nail polish remover, here’s

version 1
– mix equal parts white vinegar and lemon juice (i saw one recipe that added 1/2 part rubbing alcohol. please don’t do that.)
– soak nails in warm water for 10-15 minutes beforehand (shower?)
– dip cotton ball into mix and hold on each nail for 10-15 seconds before wiping
– hold/wipe on each nail

*the vinegar/lemon juice didn’t work as fantastically on me as it has for other people i guess. but everyone’s different and i very well could’ve done something wrong 😉

version 2- jank & scary
– spray one nail with either body spray/perfume/hair spray
– use a q-tip to remove the polish (now you see why i don’t use this crap…blegh!)
– repeat with all your nails

i think that about does it! this post isn’t about nail health and all that. that’s a whole other story 🙂

any “safer” nail polishes out there you love? let’s add to the list!


34 thoughts on “safer nail polish & diy or buy remover

  1. Hi, I’ve recently been considering dropping all of my store bought junk and found your blog! I love it! I am a serious nail polish junkie though and will be super sad if I have to give it all up! What are your thoughts on Essie nail polish? Thanks!

  2. Today I bought the new nail polish from German brand Logona. You should check it out (I don’t know if they sell in US though). They are the first certified natural cosmetics nail polish worldwide :-D. I got Soft Rose and just tried it on my pinky finger. I love it! However, I don’t know yet how long it will last. It’s about a month I have started a crunchy life step by step. But I couldn’t stop using nail polish either, hahaha ^^. Anyway, I hope this information is interesting or even helpful for someone.

  3. Any thoughts on nail wraps like Jamberry nails? they claim to be non toxic and because they are dry you dont have any fumes to breath in. They also say they are safe for children and pregnant women

  4. hello Alex! I am now quitting forever nail polish, and im sad that my toenails are looking unhealthy, im a yoga teacher and i spend a lot of time barefoot and of course, i want beautiful looking toenails. do you do anything special to take care of your toenails? im also curious why is it that my nails look great but not my toenails? 😦
    ive been reading about applying oils, egg yolks, milk… just wanted to know about what you do 🙂
    thank you so much for all the useful info! this blog has really inspired a habit/life change.
    Mali – México

  5. Hey Alex,
    I was wondering your opinion is on the nail polish by Jenna Hipp? I couldn’t find the ingredients but she claims that her brand is 5-free.

  6. Feel a little arrogant advertising my own nail polish brand but all my nail polishes are made with either 3-free or 5-free suspension base!
    I’ve always been surprised by all the horrible chemicals in nail polishes, so when I decided to make my own, I wanted them to be as non-toxic as possible 😀

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