We know by the fumes alone that nail polish isn't generally great for you. It is paint, after all. Some of the more dangerous chemicals in your favorite polishes include formaldehyde (a highly toxic substance found in photo-development solutions), toluene (found in paint thinner), and dibutyl phthalates (a thickener used to make ink), just to name a few.
But there are lacquer brands out there selling formulas that leave out these toxic ingredients. When a polish is made without certain chemicals, it's labeled as "five-free" or "seven-free," depending on how many of the traditionally used chemicals are missing.
Lately, the colors from these health-conscious brands have been better than ever. Here are our favorites!
The O.G.: Zoya
Why It's Healthier: Art of Beauty was started in the mid-'80s and led to the creation of Zoya, one of the first polish brands to eliminate formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and camphor (a flammable chemical found in pest control solutions and explosives) from their formulas.
The Scientific Experts: Treat Collection
Why It's Healthier: Based in both Berlin and Los Angeles, Treat offers gluten-free formulas that are devoid of harsh chemicals. On their website, they keep their customers informed about the scientific research behind their work with blog posts dedicated to individual ingredients in their products.
The Cool-Kid Brand: Floss Gloss
Why It's Healthier: Started by Janine Lee and Aretha Stock, Floss Gloss is a five-free polish brand that is known for its wild color options. The latest ingredient they've pulled from their recipe is camphor.
The Beauty Heir: Lauren B. Beauty
Why It's Healthier: Lauren B. is the niece of Philip B., the famed hair-care guru. This is one of the few vegan, animal-friendly, and USA-made lacquers that lives up to its claim of long-lasting color.
The Vegan Go-To: RMS
Why It's Healthier: Rose-Marie Swift, makeup artist and RMS founder, suffers from a high metal toxicity, which forced her to pay close attention to ingredients used in some of her go-to products. After comparing what was in her cosmetics with the chemicals that make her sick, she decided to start her own organic and clean brand. The nail polishes are vegan, cruelty-free, six-free, and paraben-free, the latter of which can irritate sensitive skin.
The Healing Collection: Londontown
Why It's Healthier: This nine-free brand doesn't test on animals and has gluten-free and vegan formulas. The coolest thing, though, is that Londontown incorporates their own technology called Florium Complex that fuses cucumber, garlic, and chamomile extracts, as well as vitamins and primrose, to strengthen and treat nails throughout polish wear.
The Celebrity Favorite: Jinsoon
Why It's Healthier: In 2012, legendary nail artist Jin Soon Choi (her clients have included Taylor Swift and Sarah Jessica Parker) started her own nail polish line, which is five-free, and is now used in her namesake salons.