Well-groomed nails is a must for me and a big part of my WellBeing, but i have to admit i wasn’t as well-informed about the world of non-toxic nail polish and nail polish removers as i should have been. I didn’t know where my nail polishes fall on the non-toxic scale. Do you know where your nail polishes fall on the non-toxic scale?

In this blog post i share a list of popular nail polish brands and were they fall on the non-toxic scale, because even in the world of non-toxic nail polishes there are varying degrees of non-toxic formulas. I hope you find this helpful.

I came across an article demonstrating the damage toxic nail polish has on the body within 10 hours of applying it, and it freaked me out. I posted the article to my AnitaGoaTv Facebook page and Stefani, (one of my online Goa Flow-ers) wrote back that she didn’t like articles that didn’t give alternatives and shared an article featuring non-toxic nail polishing options.

I am so glad Stefani did, because it prompted me to ask myself: “Where do my nail polishes fall on the non-toxic scale?.’ I am embarrassed to say; i had no idea. I decided to pull up my sleeves and spent two days researching. In true Scorpio nature, i got obsessed, but now i feel so much better informed.

I am very excited to share the information i found with you. At the very least i hope this will inspire you to look at what you are using and to ask the brand(s) you use (if it’s not clear) where they fall on the non-toxic scale. The more educated we are as consumers, the more pressure it puts on the cosmetic companies to up their game and keep improving the non-toxic formulas and to be transparent about it.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a great beginning to know what brands you might want to look for to ensure you are protecting yourself, your wellbeing and our Earth.

If you find this helpful, please share it with your friends.
If you have information i am missing, please share and i will add it.


The harmful chemicals you want to avoid are:
formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Camphor, Formaldehyde Resin
xylene, ethyl tosylamide, triphenyl phosphate (TPHP)

When nail polish first came on the market they were filled with harmful chemicals, but over time nail companies have created formulas that are safer for our body and our Earth. It started with a formula called 3-Free which means the polish is free from the 3 harmful chemicals; formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl. This was the gold standard for some time.

Then new formulas were created that removed more harmful chemicals, and now you can find 4-Free, 5-Free, 6-Free, 7-Free, 8-Free, 12-Free as well as Non-Toxic/Free from all chemicals. There are also formulas that are Vegan, Cruelty Free, Gluten Free and HALAL.

Amazing, right?

Below I share each Free-From Formula and what (i call) free-from scale some of the most popular nail polish brands fall under. I had a lot of fun figuring this out, and i find it very helpful to know.

The nail polishes i’ve been using most recently (Kiko Milano, Nails Inc, Priti NYC) are in the 5-Free range (phew!), but moving forward i will invest more in the 7-Free, 8-Free and 12-Free range. I am upgrading my base coat to 8-Free and 12-Free (ButterLondon, TenOverTen, Nailberry). It’s important the base coat is as toxin free as possible, as it’s the closet to the nail bed.

When we know better. We do better.
(Maya Angelou)

Turns out we can “have it all” in the nail polish department and that my dear friends is a good thing for peace of mind for our body, our wellbeing and our dear Earth.

Please keep in mind

  • Check where you live how to dispose of your nail polish and nail polish remover. Do not through them in the trash/rubbish can. They need to be disposed of carefully.
  • Nail polish and nail polish removers can’t be shipped outside of a country because of being a hazardous item.



I am listing a lot of brands under each free-from formula, and i have linked most of them. I am located in London, UK (hence a lot of UK links). You can do a quick google search to see if the brand you are interested in is available where you live.

3 free / Free from Formaldehyde, Toluene, Dibutyl.
Three/3-free used to be the gold standard. Most nail polishes these days are at least 3-Free, but be aware; there are still polishes on the market that aren’t even 3-free. At the very least make sure you are using a 3-free nail polish.

Deborah Lippman, it depends on the line, looks like she has various formulas on the market.
Nars three free
OPI – I called them and got this confirmed. Across the board in all their products they are 3-free. For being such a popular brand, i do feel they could do better than 3-Free. When you see the list below of companies that are offering better formulas, it seems a bit old fashioned to only be 3-free. Do you agree?

4 free / Free from Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, Camphor
Nail Berry line 4 free

5 free // Free from Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor
Priti NYC (used to be 3 free. good job, Priti!)
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Nails Inc Nail Kale,
Zoya Professional Lacquer
Mineral Fusion
OPI Infinite Shine 2
Jin Soon
KIKO Milano
Londontown Lakur
CND Shellac
Sheer lust

6 free // Free from DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde resin, Animal derivatives, Camphor.
Nails Inc

7 free // Free from TPHP, toluene, Formaldehyde, DBP (phthalate), Camphor, Formaldehyde resin, Xylene, and Parabens
Karma Hues
LVX (considered the Chanel of clean nail polish)
Deborah Lippman gel lab pro
Pacifica Beauty (says 7-Free on bottle. Bravo, Pacifica!)
Butter London (the brand went from being the original three-free nail polish to the first to ring in the age of seven-free options.
ella + mila

8 free // free from formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP),

TenOverTen  (i am so eager to try out this NYC brand. need to pick up some bottles on next NYC visit 🙂
Butter London Nail Lacquer

12 free // free from Phthalates including DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Xylene, Ethyl Tosylamide, Triphenyl Phosphate, Alcohol, Parabens, Animal Derivatives & Gluten.

Nailberry is the only brand i have found to be 12 free. Amazing!!


These nail polishes are great for kids as they are free from all chemicals, water based and have a peel-able formula.

Piggie Paint “This advanced, water-based formula is better than 3 free, better than 5, 7, or 10 free – it’s free of ALL harsh chemicals!”

Brands i have yet to figure out where they fall on the Non-Toxic scale:

Sephora // I have used the Sephora Nail Polishes a lot and i really like them. Do you know where they fall on the non-toxic scale?
Dior, YSL, Armani, Tom Ford, Chanel etc // I have not researched these high-end brands and i have never tried them. If you have any information on these brands, i’d love to hear it.



What makes a nail polish vegan?
the company doesn’t test on animals
the company doesn’t include animal-derived ingredients like lanolin, beeswax, carmine and ….more)
Most of the brands that are vegan/cruelty free are also free of the major toxins, but the formula differs (anywhere along the scale of 3-Free to 12-Free). Research the brand you like and ask them where on the free-from scale they range (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12).

The Leaping Bunny Program manifesto is a program provides the best assurance that no animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories or suppliers.
Peta also approves.

All of the brands listed below are vegan and cruelty free. There are so many.

TenOverTen 8-Free honours the Leaping Bunny Program manifesto.
e.l.f. // 3-Free
ella + mila 7-Free (has a cute mommy + me set)
Mineral Fusion 7-Free
Karma Hues 7-Free
Julep 7-Free
Londontown Lakur 7 Free
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics 5-Free (i am most sure this is the formula. it might be 7-free)
RMS 7-Free
Nails Inc 7-Free
Nail Berry 12-Free
Tuesday in Love

The Body Shop // 100% vegan and cruelty free as you would expect from The Body Shop, when i asked them in the store where they fall on the Free-from formula range i was told they are ‘in the mid-range.’ So maybe 5-Free? The Body Shop has discontinued selling nail polish in their store, but you can still find them on their website. (I was asked to send an email but it would take about a month to get a reply. I personally think this is information that should be labeled and at the very least a Body Shop product expert should know …).

OPI // OPI does not perform animal testing, nor does OPI contract to have it performed elsewhere. When “live” testing is necessary, it is performed on informed, consenting, paid human volunteers – not animals.  This has always been their policy since their founding in 1981, and remains unchanged since our purchase by Coty in late 2010.

Most OPI products are free of animal ingredients, including our famous acrylic systems.  The few exceptions recently or currently in production are as follows:
Avoplex High Intensity Hand Cream  — contains Hydrolyzed Keratin from a certified BSE free source, New Zealand wool.
OPI Gelcolor and Axxium Soak-Off Gels – some shades contain Carmine (INCI name: CI 75470), an insect-derived pigment.  This material is also known as Cochineal.
Ridge Filler – contains silk (INCI name:  Serica), an insect derived fiber.
Nail Lacquer — Three (3) current shades — Dulce de Leche, Kennebunk-port, and Tutti Fruitti Tonga — contain Guanine (International name:  CI 75170), which is derived from fish scales.  These are legacy colors; there are are no plans to use guanine in future shades.
Over the last several years, our trend and the general cosmetic industry trend has been to move away from most animal ingredients (beeswax excepted).
Always check the label and call OPI if you are uncertain about a specific product.

ESSIE  // Essie is owned by L’oreal. I got it confirmed from L’Oreal Paris Customer Care that the Essie product line is Cruelty Free, but not all products are vegan.


TenOverTen 8-Free
NailBerry 12-Free
Londontown Lakur 7-Free

Do you know of other brands?

Halal nail polishes use a breathable formula that can be worn by women of the Muslim faith.

Here is a great article explaining it:–death-creator-means-live-success.html

Tuesday in love



Here are some brands that offer a non-toxic formula for nail polish remover.

LIVE IN THE LIGHT Soy Nail Polish Remover (AMAZON.CO.UK)
I am presently using this one. I love the name and i love the product.
Removes the nail polish just as easy. The only thing is, it leaves fingers oily and you need to wash your hands with soap to remove it before applying the nail polish, but it does’t bother me at all.

KARMA ORGANICS // Plant-based and non-toxic. This is a nail polish remover i want to try. The company is located in New Jersey, USA. Unfortunately they don’t sell it in the UK. Next time i’m in NY i’m picking this one up!

They offer two versions: Lavender and Unscented with Vitamin E Oil
They also have wipes, which are so handy when travelling.

TENOVERTEN wipes. I am excited to give these a try soon.

ZOYA remover


SUN COAT Nail polish remover plant-based

SUN COAT nail polish remover gel


Ok, that’s it folks. Please let me know if you found this helpful.

Love & Light,
Anita Goa 🙂



A lot of my research happened on brand websites to find details on nail polish formula. But i also found valuable information on these link:

wellness mama:



What makes nail polish vegan?

What Makes Nail Polish Vegan?

Vegan Nailpolish brands:

Vegan Nail Polish Brand List

Vegan Beauty Review:


10 common cosmetics ingredients that are derived from animal products:

10 Common Cosmetic Ingredients That Are Derived From Animal Products

Nail polish go non-toxic:


The difference between 3, 5 & 7 free nail polish

The best 3, 5, free nail polishes: allure:

These companies test on animals:

Beauty Brands You Thought Were Cruelty-Free But Aren’t

13 animal products in cosmetics

13 Animal Products in Cosmetics

All information on OPI from

OPI statement on the environment and sustainability







  • Stefani
    Posted at 16:28h, 08 June Reply

    Wow, you’ve really been thorough! I’m far too lazy to do my nails these days, but who knows, occasionally I give in to the itch to add color to my summer. What a handy list to have!
    I also found it very interesting and kind of scary to learn how hazardous working in a nail salon is, due to the toxic ingredients! I’ll be a good number of people don’t ever consider that when they get their nails done.

    I’d like to add that I enjoyed your full moon newsletter, as always, and am quite excited that you’re working so hard on your book!


    • Anita Goa
      Posted at 21:24h, 12 June Reply

      Thank you, Stefani!! I am glad you enjoyed this and the newsletter. And yes, it is so worth mentioning the benefit of non-toxic nail polish/removers on the nail salon workers. Thank you for mentioning that. Namaste 🙂

  • Marie
    Posted at 03:28h, 16 June Reply

    Wow, what a list!
    I hope you don’t mind me making a suggestion to be added to your list.
    My daughter wanted me to paint her nails (she’s 2) but I didn’t want to use regular nail polish on her little nails. So I did some research and found a truly non-toxic nail polish I can use on her and not be worried. It’s called Bo-Po (
    It peels off (which is actually quite stress relieving haha)
    The colors are vibrant, it smells great and my daughter absolutely loves it. I let her do my nails all the time and I don’t have to worry about it staining or hard to remove from my skin.
    Thanks for the hard work you put in to make the list!

    • Anita Goa
      Posted at 08:39h, 16 June Reply

      I love that you share. Thank you! At the bottom of my list i have some child-friendly polishes but from your comment i see how it can be helpful to create a children friendly section. Next week i will update and add to the list in general, as i have some more information to share 🙂 I appreciate your positive feedback. I had a lot of fun collecting this information. xo

      • Marie
        Posted at 14:53h, 30 June Reply

        Thank you for your kind response.
        Child-friendly is definitely important as there are many little girls out there that want to be just like mommy.
        Thanks for taking my suggestion!!


  • Farah
    Posted at 21:37h, 21 June Reply

    I didn’t see they have halal 7 free non toxic nail polish as well.

  • Ashley Ritter
    Posted at 13:12h, 13 July Reply

    So overwhelmed with the list of products you have! Nonetheless, thanks. It is very helpful, especially those with the non-toxic formulas.

    • Anita Goa
      Posted at 13:26h, 13 July Reply

      Sorry to hear it was overwhelming, it wasn’t meant to be. It was more meant show where various nail polishes fall on the free-from scale and show where the one you use might be falling.

  • lara king
    Posted at 16:27h, 30 January Reply

    Hi Anita, Cant find anything about Nailberry being 12-free. Could you send a link to where you read that please?

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.