The 15 Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands of 2023 for a Healthier Mani-Pedi

Get richly pigmented and chip-free manicures the safe way

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Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands for 2023

InStyle / Marcus Millan

Looking down at your hands to see your perfectly polished nails can be such a simple yet powerful mood-booster. The problem is that many nail products, including mainstream regular polish, gel polish or acrylics, contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your skin and even potentially cause more serious health issues with repeated use. That’s why many people are turning to non-toxic nail polish, and with more and more amazing brands rushing to meet the demand, you don’t have to sacrifice a thing to get a gorgeous — and safe — mani-pedi.

Best Overall

JINsoon Quintessential Collection Nail Lacquer

JINsoon Quintessential Collection Nail Lacquer


What We Love: The colors are varied and beautiful, and a mani with this polish can last up to several weeks without chipping.

What We Don’t Love: Lighter shades may need a third coat to get maximum color payoff.

Created by celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi, JINsoon nail polish is a real fashion-girl must-have. While the brand is an InStyle fave for cuticle oil, nail stickers and nude polish, they also shine when it comes to their gorgeous color range. Quality over quantity is the name of their game: They have fewer color options than some of the other brands on the list (though they still have tons, let’s be real), but each is a beautifully curated shade inspired by flowers, art or architecture. It’s no wonder, then, that JINsoon is so often the nail polish of choice on NYFW runways.

As for its non-toxic properties, JINsoon boasts an impressive 21-free formula. While professional nail artists and healthcare providers are sometimes dubious about nail brands that claim to be free of such a large number of chemicals, JINsoon is super transparent about the 21 chemicals they never formulate with. Aside from animal derivatives, the vast majority of these are in fact chemicals often or sometimes found in nail products which have been shown to potentially have negative health effects. 

In particular, Dr. Dana Stern, a board certified dermatologist and nail health expert, cites the following ingredients as ones to stay away from (all of which are excluded from JINsoon’s formula): Formaldehyde, phthalates, toluene, formaldehyde resin, camphor, triphenyl phosphate, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, and parabens. 

This polish is also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, plus it’s designed to be long-lasting, with many people finding it lasts up to several weeks without chipping. Um, amazing?

Price at time of publish: $18

Colors: 86 | Free Of: 21-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Budget

China Glaze Eco Glaze Nail Lacquer Collection

China Glaze Eco Glaze Nail Lacquer Collection


What We Love: Its formulation is almost entirely made from plant-based ingredients.

What We Don’t Love: Colors look slightly different in real life than online.

If you’ve been a regular at your local nail salon at any point in your life, you’ll be very familiar with the ubiquitous China Glaze. That’s certainly the case for celebrity nail artist Kim Cao, who comes from a family of nail artists. “Being that I grew up in a nail salon, China Glaze is literally a household name,” she says. “Seeing that they're making strides towards conscious nail care through their vegan formula and bio-sourced materials shows me that the big wigs really listen to the people.” This planet-friendly line from China Glaze consists of polish that’s 14-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and made in the USA from natural ingredients including cotton and sugar cane.

It’s a high-performing product, too, of course. “The actual polish is heavily pigmented (giving the look of a gel manicure), fast-drying, and long lasting,” Cao adds. 

Take a close look at the shade before purchasing, as the colors can sometimes be lighter in person than they look online. 

Price at time of publish: $10

Colors: 41 | Free Of: 14-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Splurge

Hermès Les Mains Nail Enamel

Hermès Les Mains Nail Enamel

Saks Fifth Avenue

What We Love: It feels shockingly luxurious.

What We Don’t Love: Some of their specs are unclear, including whether it’s cruelty-free.

An ideal treat if you’re looking to splash out on a designer item but don’t have $30k for a Birkin, Les Mains also makes a great present for your besties — or your mom. Hermès’ signature nail polish is 8-free, compared to Chanel and Dior’s 5-free formulas, which is why one expert loves it so much. 

“On the luxury end, Hermès’ nail enamel is impressive with 71 percent of its ingredients from natural origin,” says celebrity podiatrist Marion Yau, whom you can find on YouTube as Miss Foot Fixer. “It is made without formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, and TPHP.” 

However, I couldn’t find any information about whether or not they test on animals to make this polish, which frankly doesn’t inspire confidence. Though the line includes 24 color options, you’re not going to find every shade under the sun here. However, each one is obviously carefully thought out to complement various skin tones and perk up any outfit. 

I have a particular soft spot for Orange Poppy and Rose Coquille, and I also love that it comes in a gorgeous bottle, tucked away in one of the brand’s iconic orange boxes for good measure.

Price at time of publish: $45

Colors: 24 | Free Of: 8-free | Cruelty-Free: No | Organic: No

Best Long-Lasting

Nails Inc. Plant Power Vegan Polish

Plant Power Nail Polish


What We Love: It doesn’t chip for up to two weeks.

What We Don’t Love: We wish there was more color variety.

Another 21-free product, Nails.INC’s Plant Power range gets a lot of things right. As well as being made without some of the main nasty ingredients, this product is also 73 percent plant-based, vegan, cruelty-free and halal-friendly. The wooden cap is also FSC-certified, meaning the trees used in the production process were harvested responsibly and the workers involved were treated fairly. 

If you’re excited to switch to non-toxic polish but concerned it won’t last as long without the extra chemicals, this range is proof you don’t have to choose. It glides onto the nail like a charm and legend (OK, the reviews section) has it that it can stay on for up to two weeks. We love it so much that we really need more colors.

Price at time of publish: $10

Colors: 42 | Free Of: 21-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Application

Lights Lacquer Nail Polish

Lights Lacquer Nail Polish

Lights Lacquer

What We Love: It’s a minority-owned and female-founded business.

What We Don’t Love: They’re only available from the brand’s website right now.

Lights Lacquer may be a smaller brand, but it gives the mainstream ones a run for their money, thanks to beautiful bottles, curated shades, and a commitment to ethical production. “I love that they are a minority-owned, female-founded small business,” says celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec. “They are a vegan, cruelty-free nail lacquer brand that offers polishes, press-on nails, and nail care treatments.” 

Lights’ formula is 12-free, meaning the products don’t contain any of the main toxins often found in nail polish, and they work exclusively with factories that meet labor law requirements in the US and the EU.

As with every other polish on this list, this one doesn’t fall short performance-wise, either. “They have quality long-lasting pigment and I love the brush — it’s one of the best in the game,” Kandalec says. 

The brush is fan-shaped, so you can cover a larger area of the nail in one stroke, without compromising on precision. Lights is looking to expand into brick and mortar stores, but they’re only available from the brand website for the moment.

Price at time of publish: $9-$11

Colors: 136 | Free Of: 12-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Cruelty-Free

Orly Nail Lacquer

Orly Nail Lacquer


What We Love: Animal welfare is central to ORLY’s business philosophy.

What We Don’t Love: The texture varies depending on the shade.

The vast majority of non-toxic nail polishes are also cruelty-free (because the health of people and the health of the planet are so interconnected), but ORLY goes the extra mile on this front. They’re super transparent about their animal welfare policies, which includes never testing products or ingredients on animals, never using suppliers who test on animals, never funding animal testing, and never selling their products in countries that require animal testing. All of their products are also 100 percent vegan, i.e. made with zero animal byproducts.

The texture of this polish may take some getting used to — it can be too thick to spread, yet also not provide enough coverage once it’s on the nail, but it looks like that depends on the shade you pick. That said, Cao has actually found that this brand is great for those who don’t enjoy the process of getting a manicure. “A few of my clients struggle with sensory anxiety when getting their nails serviced,” she says. “In these cases, we do minimal filing and buffing, and ORLY has been proven to be the polish of choice for those who are allergy-prone or anxious.” This, she says, is because “the formula is lightweight and doesn't irritate the nail bed or cuticle.” Also, this polish is long-lasting, which extends the time between manicures, according to the expert.

Price at time of publish: $11

Colors: 18 | Free Of: 13-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Plant-Based

Nailtopia Plant-Based Bio-Sourced Chip-Free Nail Lacquer

Nailtopia Plant-Based Bio-Sourced Chip-Free Nail Lacquer


What We Love: It’s great for trying your hand at nail art.

What We Don’t Love: Some shades require three coats for an opaque finish.

“With Nailtopia, the solution is thinner and more translucent — perfect for doing designs with regular polish because if you make a stroke in the wrong direction, it's easy to wipe off,” says Cao. The flipside of this is that it will probably not be the best choice for you if you want a really opaque finish and it may take three coats to get there. 

Thankfully, the brand has plenty more going for it. “The available color palette gives me late ‘90s nostalgia,” says Cao. “They're the type of polishes you would pick out when your mom used to have you tag along to get a mani-pedi. Only, in this case, you don't have to wait under the nail dryers for 30 minutes, because the current formula dries pretty quickly.”

Importantly, this is a super clean polish, free of 19 toxins plus animal-derived ingredients and gluten. That means it’s also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, as well as packed with nail boosting natural ingredients such as orange and spinach leaf extracts. The result is a formula that delivers calcium, biotin, proteins and vitamins, all of which are thought to promote healthier, stronger nails — at least in supplement form. All in all, this product is wonderful if you’re looking to go as natural as possible, even with sky blue or hot pink nails.

Price at time of publish: $10

Colors: 98 | Free Of: 21-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Indie

Blü Nail Lacquer



What We Love: You can send in a color swatch and order a custom shade!

What We Don’t Love: The existing colors are mostly shimmery.

Who doesn’t love a great independent business? Blü is Black-owned, based out of North Carolina, and born out of sheer love for nail polish. Creator ​​Keyah used her background as a science teacher to start coming up with the exact shades of polish she wanted to wear. As she learned to create her formula, she became committed to offering a vegan, non-toxic product, which is free of 10 common harmful ingredients and is never tested on animals. The result is a gentle polish made with plant-derived ingredients where possible. 

They carry a respectable 72 colors and though most of the existing range consists of shimmery brights, the best thing about Blü is that you can send them a swatch and request any color you want, which is so much fun. While the brand is only available in select brick and mortar stores in Charlotte, you can order it online from across the United States.

Price at time of publish: $12

Colors: 72 | Free Of: 10-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Color Range

Olive & June Nail Polish

Olive & June Nail Polish


What We Love: They put extra thought into every shade of polish.

What We Don’t Love: The Quick Dry range doesn’t look as glossy.

Olive & June is quickly becoming a cult brand thanks to their non-toxic nail polishes, mani-pedi systems, press-ons and more. Courtney Moseley, a board-certified physician assistant known as The Plastic PA, loves the brand’s 15-free nail polishes, which are also vegan and cruelty-free, so you can always feel good about using them.

Both Olive & June’s Long-Lasting and Quick Dry collections are formulated to last a week or more, offering a shiny finish that looks like you’re wearing gel. The Quick Dry polish is designed to dry in just a minute, which, big if true! And according to the reviews, it really does do as advertised — the only thing is the finish is a little less glossy on the quick-drying formula, but people are really happy with the result anyway.

Olive & June also carries a very respectable number of shades for a smaller brand, but they get extra brownie points for curating each one to inspire a mood (confidence, fun, coziness) or to remind you of something beautiful (a jewel, a season, a flower). “For those of us who want to do our nails at home but need more experience, they break down their colors into three levels: easy, intermediate and advanced,” Moseley explains. “This way, you can choose based on your skill level.” 

I also love that they have tutorials from founder Sarah Gibson Tuttle on their website for a little extra — ahem — hand-holding, if you need it.

Price at time of publish: $9

Colors: 120 long-lasting + 20 quick dry | Free Of: 15-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Glitter

Zoya Vegan Nail Lacquer

What We Love: Whether you’re looking for a bold glitter or a discreet shimmer, Zoya has got you covered.

What We Don’t Love: The consistency is quite thick.

The sheer number of shades Zoya carries is almost ridiculous, so there’s bound to be something for everyone. That said, I find where they really ~shine~ (sorry) is in the glitter department. They have fine shimmers, metallics, solid glitters, iridescents, foil-flecked colors, sparkly top coats, all in every color you could possibly imagine — from a galactic purple glitter that would have made my seven-year-old heart sing to a much more subdued pale pink with a touch of shimmer. It can also last up to two weeks without chipping, which is seriously impressive.

While many of Zoya’s nail polishes are a respectable 10-free, the brand is weirdly secretive about its formula, with little information to be found on their website. Based on a little digging, it looks like all of their polishes are at least 5-free, but only shades that are listed as Big 10 Free Breathable Formula on their individual product page can be trusted not to contain 10 of the main toxic ingredients commonly found in nail polish. Just something to double-check if it’s important to you! With that in mind, both Dr. Stern and Kandalec recommend the brand as an easily accessible, reliable, vegan polish option.

Price at time of publish: $12

Colors: 684 | Free Of: 5-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Pastel

ella+mila Nail Polish



What We Love: ella+mila polish is 17-free, vegan, cruelty-free and PeTA-certified.

What We Don’t Love: It’s prone to chipping.

Browsing through ella+mila’s color collection seriously feels like choosing a fruity popsicle flavor on a sunny beach in the summer. Lemon sherbet? Check. Key lime pie? Check. Strawberries and cream? Check, check, check. These happy colors come in a cute elephant-adorned square bottle and are formulated without 17 key toxins often found in mainstream nail polish, which means they’re safe for everyone from your young niece to your expecting bestie. They’re also vegan, cruelty-free, PeTA-certified and made in the USA.

Like so many non-toxic brands these days, ella+mila nail polish is also simply a great product: Celebrity nail artist Trenna Seney loves how easy it is to apply this polish flawlessly, and Cao agrees. “The brand is easily accessible and easy to use for the earliest of nail novices,”  says Cao. 

You’ll often only need one coat to achieve opaque coverage, and Seney says it dries faster than any other brand she uses — though if you want it to stay on nicely for a few days, make sure you also use a base and top coat (which is good practice anyway) or it’ll chip after a couple days.

Price at time of publish: $11

Colors: 205 | Free Of: 17-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Red

Essie Nail Polish

Essie Nail Polish


What We Love: There truly is a shade for everyone.

What We Don’t Love: It can take a little longer to dry than other options on this list.

“Essie is a drugstore brand that is committed to transparency in their ingredient choices,” says Yau. “They are 100 percent vegan and 8-free, and formulated without formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene and triphenyl phosphate.” 

That goes for every Essie nail polish — including their original Nail Enamel, longwear Gel Couture, and quick dry Expressie ranges. Some people find the original formula can take a little longer to dry, so go for the Expressie if you’re worried about smudging. “The non-toxic polish takes me back to my training days given that the paddle brush is perfect for beginners,” Cao adds, which is always good to know for those of us with less than steady hands.

Though, as Cao puts it, Essie offers a “wide array of opaque and translucent colors,” their selection of reds stands out, with a shade for everyone — because red may be the most common nail color, but that doesn’t mean every red is a winner for you. Essie has poppy reds, magentas, oxbloods and more to suit every style of red polish-wearer, and most are super highly rated. Plus, their website makes it super easy to find the exact shade you’re after thanks to a handy drop-down menu.

Price at time of publish: $8

Colors: 37 | Free Of: 8-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Black

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro

What We Love: It’s a great non-toxic alternative to gel.

What We Don’t Love: Some shades are more likely to chip.

If nothing less than a dark-as-night black will do, Deborah Lippmann’s Fade To Black full coverage nail color is as good as it gets. The whole Gel Lab Pro Color range is beloved for its mock-gel effect without the extra chemicals and damage from heat lamps. It’s 10-free, cruelty-free and vegan, and contains lovely strengthening ingredients such as keratin, biotin and bamboo. It’s also just a really well thought out product, which glides on easily, dries fast, delivers gel-like shine, and stays on without chipping for a week or even two for some people, though some shades unfortunately don’t stay on as well as others and will chip within days. 

Apart from that, there’s not much else I would look for in a nail polish, but there is the added bonus that the brand was founded by a celebrity nail artist who has worked with everyone from Kate Winslet to Penelope Cruz, so you’ll love it if you’re prone to practicing your Oscars speech in the bathroom mirror.

Price at time of publish: $20

Colors: 80 | Free Of: 10-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best White

sundays Nail Polish

sundays Nail Polish


What We Love: They make a perfect white that doesn’t feel like you’re applying Wite-Out.

What We Don’t Love: Some shades provide streaky coverage.

Sundays doesn’t have a huge range of nail colors, but their white is called No.01, so you know they mean business with this one. While creams and off-whites are great, there’s nothing quite like a white-white nail color, and they really nailed it here (pun intended).

Beyond the shade itself, white nail polish can often feel like you’re applying Wite-Out to your nails, with a clumpy, rough texture, so you’ll be happy to hear that’s decidedly not the case here. It provides even, glossy coverage and also makes a great base for getting creative with nail art or perfecting your French tips. 

There are a lot more reasons to love sundays than just their ability to make a perfect white polish: It’s a BIPOC-founded company dedicated to delivering non-toxic products that are safe to use, and their nail colors are 10-free, vegan, never tested on animals, and made in New York. Lots of wins, in short.

Price at time of publish: $18

Colors: 61 | Free Of: 10-free | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Neutral

Sienna Nail Polish

Sienna Nail Polish


What We Love: Sienna nail polish is nature-inspired, non-toxic, vegan, breathable, and so much more.

What We Don’t Love: They’re not transparent enough about their ethical production standards.

You know what you’re getting at first glance with Sienna Byron Bay nail polish, which comes with a textured wooden lid that signals the nature-inspired, non-toxic, breathable, vegan formula inside. “Their products are cruelty-free, aluminum-free, and have so many other perks,” says celebrity nail artist Aaliyah Smith. 

They’re also micro plastic- and nano-particle-free, B Corp-certified, halal, and certified non-toxic by Safe Cosmetics Australia. Sienna is also committed to reducing their carbon footprint and production waste as much as possible, and their nail polish is made using nature-derived ingredients, such as cassava and sugar cane.

Sienna aims to put both planet and people first. They use a green raw ingredients manufacturer in France to make all their products, and explain that all their ingredients “must meet our standards for sustainable and ethical production.” However, while they guarantee that their supply chain is child labor-free, they don’t go into detail about what their standards for ethical production consist of, so more transparency would be great on that front. Still, the brand gives back to charities working on some amazing causes, and they prioritize inclusivity thanks to their halal certification and their efforts to be gender-inclusive in their marketing.

As for Sienna’s performance, “I love the way the polish dries to a beautiful finish and doesn’t need a lot of coats to get the true color,” says Smith. And on that note, despite not having a huge color selection, the shades the brand does have are stunning, especially when it comes to earthy neutrals and skin-matching shades.

Price at time of publish: $22

Colors: 54 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Organic: No

What to Keep in Mind


When purchasing any nail polish, try to stay far away from the “Big 3” toxins that are thankfully less common these days: Formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Beyond that, essentially, the higher the number before the word “free” (so, “7-free,” “15-free,” “21-free,” etc.), the less toxic the formula, and the better for your overall health and safety. 

There isn’t a convention for what toxins are included in these numbers, so check the product description if you want to know which ingredients each brand has excluded from their nail polish formula. Sometimes brands stretch the definition of a toxin, including things like “animal-derived ingredients” for instance.

Color Range

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to nail color ranges: Sometimes a curated small line such as those from Hermès and Nails.INC offers some gorgeous options. That said, it is always fun to browse a rainbow selection like those from Zoya or Essie, especially if you’re a bit of a nail polish collector. 

Lastly, some brands are especially skilled at creating specific tones, like sundays’ white or ella+mila’s pastels, so if you have something specific in mind, it pays to know which brands are best for which colors.


With non-toxic as with “regular” nail polish, you ideally don’t want it to chip or fade in, like, a day. If you’re worried that a more natural product means it won’t stay put, don’t worry — plenty of non-toxic polishes are actually designed to be long-lasting. Nails.INC, JINsoon and Zoya’s formulas are winners here, with reviewers saying they stay on for up to two weeks, but most of the other brands on our list also don’t chip for a good while.

Your Questions, Answered

What makes nail polish non-toxic?

There isn’t much regulation as to which brands get to call their nail polish non-toxic, so it helps to educate yourself on common toxins so you can differentiate them yourself. “What separates a natural polish compared to its toxic counterparts all lies in the ingredients,” Yau says. “Formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate are the top three offenders in being harmful but also unnecessary in creating a long-lasting polish. As a result, you want to look for polishes that are at least ‘3-free.’”

In addition, Dr. Stern lists the following as ingredients to avoid wherever possible: all phthalates, formaldehyde resin, camphor, triphenyl phosphate, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, and parabens. “The term “non-toxic” is in reality more of a marketing term than a scientific definition as there is no clear or real definition as it applies to polish,” the expert cautions. “Let’s establish something here: All polishes contain chemicals. Nail polish formulations consist of pigments suspended in a volatile solvent to which film formers have been added. Therefore if you are truly looking for something that is chemical-free, you can’t use polish.” However, the picks on this list are some of the best formulations you can find if you want something as natural as possible.

Is nail polish healthy to wear?

In general, it’s perfectly fine to wear nail polish — especially so if you choose a more non-toxic formula. “Nail polish can serve as a protective layer for the nail that shields the nail plate from the elements,” Dr. Stern explains. “In that sense, it can be protective against breakage, peeling and even water exposure. Polish can also be very helpful for nail biters and pickers.”

It’s actually not wearing the nail polish that’s the most problematic part. “The problem with polish usually lies in the removal process,” Dr. Stern continues. “Acetone removers are very dehydrating to the nail and can lead to brittleness, peeling and breakage. But ultimately, the nail is a canvas and polish is going to perform better — go on smoother, be less apt to chip — if you maintain the health of that canvas.” These are some of our favorite nail care products, BTW.

Is non-toxic nail polish long-lasting?

One of the concerns people have when considering making the switch to non-toxic nail polish is whether it will perform as well as the more chemical stuff, especially when it comes to staying power. For Dr. Stern, whether or not a specific polish is long-lasting “is dependent on the formula.” If this is the most important factor for you, there are plenty of picks on this list that will deliver amazing results, sometimes lasting up to two weeks without chipping. Nails.INC, ORLY and JINsoon are great options.

Why Shop With Us

Iris Goldsztajn is a Paris-born, London-based freelance writer with 10 years of experience covering fashion, beauty, wellness and lifestyle for the likes of InStyle, Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Refinery29 and many more. As the former associate editor for Her Campus, she was responsible for all style and beauty news coverage. In order to write this article, she did a deep dive into non-toxic nail polish brands’ websites and spoke to a range of nail experts: board certified dermatologist Dana Stern, M.D.; celebrity nail artists Kim Cao, Julie Kandalec, Trenna Seney, and Aaliyah Smith; celebrity podiatrist Marion Yau; and Courtney Moseley, a board-certified physician assistant known as The Plastic PA.

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