Last Updated on October 13, 2022
Nail polish is a staple in every woman’s beauty arsenal.
It might seem like a small detail, but never underestimate the power of a good manicure.
The problem with traditional nail polish however is that most are made with toxic chemicals that can cause harm to the environment, as well as your skin.
Toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate are the big toxic trio found in nail polish. When it inevitably ends up in a landfill, these chemicals saturate the soil.
Most gel and acrylic nails are toxic waste and are non-biodegradable. Meanwhile, glitter polish has microplastics that can harm our ocean and aquatic life.
By choosing products made with natural ingredients and recycled packaging materials, we’re taking steps toward protecting our environment from pollution caused by harmful toxins in the air and water.
The damaging effects of nail polish ingredients are not new to the beauty community. In the early 2000s, the industry introduced “3-free” nail polishes made without three toxic substances.
Nowadays, you can find up to 16-free polishes, but it still doesn’t guarantee it’s 100% eco-friendly.
More and more brands are becoming conscious of what’s going into their polishes and their impact on the environment.
Here are five brands I recommend.
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Green Flash Nail Polish in Mimosa, £19 – buy now
Manicurist eco-friendly polishes are vegan and cruelty-free, so anyone can wear the colour they want without the guilt of animal testing! They pride themselves on their gorgeous polishes with 84% natural ingredients.
Even their packaging is environmentally friendly! They are made from 100% corn starch, water-soluble, and can be used as dry material for a compost heap.
These are applied with the help of an LED lamp, which gives them staying power of up to 10 days.
Shop Manicurist at manicurist.com.
Nature Nirvana Plant Power Vegan Nail Polish, £9 – buy now
Nails Inc prides itself on its cruelty-free and 21-free nail polishes.
Their formulations are free from toxic substances and use mostly eco-friendly ingredients. Their Plant Power Nail Polish collection contains a recyclable, sustainable, eco-friendly 100% FSC beech wooden cap.
But the brand isn’t 100% vegan-free. Some products have animal-based ingredients like carmine, lanoline, beeswax, and silk-derived substances. However, the nail polish brand offers a few vegan-friendly products.
According to their website, they are taking significant steps to become planet-friendly and vegan-free.
Jane’s Jewels, £10 – buy now
Peacci is all about their beauty, not cruelty philosophy. Their products are 100% vegan-free, with no trace of animal-based ingredients in their polishes. Peacci’s formulas are also free from toxic heavy metals, like carcinogens and formaldehyde.
So you can enjoy their highly pigmented base, high gloss finish polishes guilt-free!
Sally Hansen’s Good Kind Pure Range
Good Kind Pure Nail – 310 Pomegranate Punch, £8.99 – buy now
Sally Hansen’s first plant-based, 16-free, 100% vegan nail polish collection is a big step towards the brand’s journey to cleaner, eco-friendly beauty. The gorgeously glossy, high-performance shades are also inspired by the true beauty of nature, with names like Coconut Milk, White Tea, Romantic Peach, and Almond Tan.
Sadly, not all of Sally Hansen’s nail polish products are plant-based. The brand still has a long way to go before being 100% vegan, toxic-free and eco-friendly.
Rimmel Kind & Free
Kind & Free Nail Polish Sapphire Soar, £5.99 – buy now
Rimmel’s Kind & Free range is jumping on the eco-friendly beauty bandwagon. Their 100% vegan collection offers dermatology-approved and tested formulations that are good for you and the environment.
Their website mentions that their Kind & Free range showcases the brand’s commitment to eco-friendly products. Their nail polishes don’t have animal-based ingredients like honey and no other toxic additives like mineral oil.
Even their packaging materials contain some recycled plastic. By 2025, Rimmel hopes that 100% of its packaging will be recycled or recyclable, reusable, or compostable.