8 Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Removers of 2022 For Better-Looking Nails

NailTopia Avocado Nail Polish remover takes off tough polish, while also hydrating dry, dull nails

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Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Removers

Amazon / Cote / NCLA Beauty

All good things must come to an end — including your manicure. But removing nail polish can be a pain, regardless of the polish you use. Plus, if you use acetone-based nail polish remover, it can be rough on your nails, leaving your nail beds and cuticles dry and dull. The good news is that there are a number of acetone-free formulas on the market, many of which are infused with nourishing plant-based extracts and vitamins that moisturize nails and help maintain nail health. And as a bonus, they don't have the overpowering smell of acetone-based polish removers.

To help you find the best remover for your manicure, we researched the most effective non-toxic formulas that can remove all types of manicures, including glitter polish, gel manicures, press-on nails, and more. We were particularly impressed with our best overall pick, NailTopia Avocado Nail Polish Remover. It’s loaded with vitamins to help moisturize and condition your nails while it removes your old polish.

For anyone looking for more choices, though, here are the best moisturizing nail polish removers to shop right now.

Best Overall: Nailtopia Fresh Avocado Nail Polish Remover

Nailtopia Fresh Avocado Nail Polish Remover

Amazon

What We Love: It noticeably hydrates nails.

What We Don’t Love: It has a strong odor.

This no-frills bottle impressed us from the first wipe. Unlike other non-acetone removers whose gentle formulas come with the tradeoff of aggressive rubbing in order to budge stubborn polish, this vegan version wipes nails clean with ease. 

 For the best results, soak a cotton pad with remover, press and hold firmly against your nail for about ten seconds, then wipe away to whisk away any trace of polish without stripping nails and cuticles of moisture. “I love the Nailtopia remover because it’s plant-based, acetone-free and it actually works,” says Miss Pop, a New York-based celebrity nail artist whose stylish manicures can be regularly found on fashion runways and celebrities, like Ariana Grande and Gwen Stefani. “My polish comes off quickly without drying out my nails and fingertips. It’s a fabulous alternative to acetone-based removers,” she added.

 The only downside is it has a strong odor, which might be a turn-off for some. But that same ingredient that causes the odor (avocado), actually softens cuticles and conditions nails. It boosts keratin proteins and vitamin E to strengthen nails and provide a healthy shine.

Price at time of publish: $13

Size: 8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Stand-out ingredients: Avocado

Best Value: NCLA Take It Off Soy Based Nail Polish Remover

NCLA BEAUTY TAKE IT OFF SOY BASED NAIL POLISH REMOVER

NCLA Beauty

What We Love: It doesn’t dry out nails.

What We Don’t Love: It only comes in very small bottles.

The bottle may be small, but the ingredients packed inside are mighty and nourishing. The ingredient list reads more like a nail treatment than a remover, with conditioning ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba seed oil, and tea tree oil. This nourishing trio gives a pampering finish to the whole polish removal process, leaving nails smooth and hydrated, instead of stripped and stinging.  

Price at time of publish: $4

Size: 2 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Stand-out ingredients: Vitamin E, jojoba seed oil, tea tree oil

Best Drugstore: Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover

What We Love: The supremely hydrating formula contains vitamins A, C, and E to condition your nails.

What We Don’t Love: It won’t remove gel polish.

If you get headaches from the overpowering scent of many traditional nail polish removers, Ella + Mila's unscented soy-based polish remover was made with you in mind. The vitamin-infused remover is loaded with a hydrating trio of vitamins A, C, and E that help to condition each nail as you remove your polish. It can be used to take off any nail polish that isn't gel, and won’t leave your fingers and cuticles dried out and cracking. 

Price at time of publish: $11.50

Size: 4 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Stand-out ingredients: Vitamins A, C, and E

Best Splurge: Sundays Pr.01 – Soy Polish Remover

Pr.01 – Soy Polish Remover

Dearsundays

What We Love: The chic bottle design is made from glass, and it’s recyclable.

What We Don’t Love: The bottle is quite small. 

Don’t be fooled by looks alone. While Sundays' glass bottle will look gorgeous in your bathroom, the actual remover will do wonders for your nails, too. The soy-based formula is infused with nourishing vitamins A, C, and E to prevent nails from getting dried out during the removal process. It also has moisturizing grapefruit essential oils which give it a light, citrus scent. 

 The soy polish remover is kind to nails and easy to use, but will take an ounce of patience—you’ll want to let a remover-soaked cotton ball sit on each nail for about 30-seconds for an easy wipe clean. While it is effective at wiping away any trace of paint polish, it’s important to know that soy polish removers won't remove gel polish and acrylics.

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: 4 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Stand-out ingredients: Vitamins A, C, and E and grapefruit essential oils

Best Wipe: Côte Takeoff Towels Non Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Côte Takeoff Towels Non Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Côte 

What We Love: The citrusy orange scent.

What We Don’t Love: The excess waste that comes from individually packaged wipes.

Whether you want to eliminate the risks of spills or take your polish off on the go, these convenient nail polish remover-soaked pads are your solution. The gentle acetone-free formula effectively wipes off the polish easily. Each wipe provides enough surface area and saturation for all ten fingers (or toes). They require a gentle rub over nails at first wipe, but once the solution blankets the polish, it wipes away smooth and mess-free. The non-drying formula also leaves nails impressively hydrated and comes with an energizing orange scent that adds to the pleasant and pampering experience. 

Price at time of publish: $14

Size: Set of 8 towels | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Stand-out ingredients: Horsetail extract, rosemary leaf extract, aloe

Best Pot: Olive & June Polish Remover Pot

Olive & June Polish Pot Remover

Olive & June

What We Love:  No need for wipes or cotton balls.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not alcohol-free.

For anyone who manages to spill polish remover every time they use it, this Olive & June pot is going to save the finish on your wood kitchen table. The clever pot houses a soft foam sponge soaked in the acetone-free solution, so you can insert your finger into the center gap, then wiggle it around a bit, so the sponge gently breaks down and removes any trace of polish. It’s a mess-free and mindless way to effectively and gently remove your nail polish without any aggressive rubbing. The genius sponge-top lid can also be used on pedicure polish removal too. 

The remover is not alcohol-free, and it doesn’t contain any beneficial ingredients for your nails, but the ease of use makes it worth so much more.

Price at time of publish: $10

Size: 2 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Stand-out ingredients: None

Best for Damaged Nails: Tenoverten The Rose Soak

THE ROSE SOAK

Violetgrey

What We Love: The chic, minimalist bottle is counter top-worthy.

What We Don’t Love: The floral rose scent isn’t for everyone.

This soft rose-scented remover makes taking your nail polish off at home a pampering, spa-like experience. The meticulous formula swaps the typically drying ingredients — like acetone, sulfates, parabens, and synthetic fragrance — with conditioning ingredients, like essential oils, vitamins, and extracts. The result isn’t just clean nails that are polish-free and ready for your next paint job; it’s healthy-looking, hydrated nails that are soft and shiny, instead of brittle and rough. The formula includes strengthening plant extracts like horsetail leaf extract, aloe, and Vitamin E, which help to maintain nail health long term, soothing cracked nail beds and cuticles.

Price at time of publish: $14

Size: 4 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Stand-out ingredients: Horsetail leaf extract, aloe, and vitamin E

Best for Glitter: Static Nails 100% Non-Toxic Hydrating Nail Polish Remover

100% NON-TOXIC, ODORLESS POLISH & POP-ON REMOVER (SOFT PINK)

Static Nails

What We Love: Works on lacquer, press-on nails, glitter, and nail glue.

What We Don’t Love: It’s expensive.

This unique pink-tinted acetone-free remover doesn’t look like a traditional nail polish remover – or smell like one (woo!) – and that’s precisely what we love about it. It’s an exceptionally clean formula that is gentle on the skin but powerful on polish, so much so that it can be used to remove stubborn glitter polish, press-on nails, pop-on nails, nail glue, and even non-UV gels. The dropper dispenser eliminates any potential for spillage and also helps to maximize each drop, which is appreciated given the price tag. There’s absolutely no smell whatsoever, which is a welcome change from the potent alcohol odor of traditional removers, and despite its gentle natural ingredient lineup, this stuff effectively (and gently) removes every bit of color, glue, or gunk from your nail.  

Price at time of publish: $24

Size: 2.16 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Stand-out ingredients: Propylene Carbonate

What to Keep in Mind

Delivery System

While a bottle of liquid remover applied to a cotton swab is the most traditional form of nail polish remover, new delivery systems have popped up on shelves making the nail polish removal process more convenient — and in some cases more pampering — than ever before. Now you can find nail polish remover in individually packaged, pre-soaked wipes, in mess-free gel form, or even in a pot where you dip your finger into a pre-soaked sponge for easy removal. For an innovative delivery experience, try Olive & June’s pot, Côte Takeoff Towel, or Static Nails dropper remover.

Ingredients

Look for nail polish remover formulas that are spiked with hydrating ingredients, like vitamin E or aloe vera seen in pretty much all of the formulas mentioned above. Their conditioning ingredients provide nails with a blanket of hydrating benefits that keep them from drying out during the removal process. 

Your Questions, Answered

How does nail polish remover work?

Nail polish removers are a solvent base (albeit acetone, or non-toxic alternatives like soy-based propylene carbonate) that, when applied to nail polish, quickly break apart the varnish so you can effectively wipe away and remove from the surface of your nails.

What makes a nail polish remover non-toxic?

From our standpoint, the biggest known toxin in nail polish remover is acetone, so when rounding up our favorite non-toxic removers, this was the key ingredient we steered clear of. It’s also often combined with added fragrance to help cover up the potent alcoholic odor, and is the reason your nails are left bone dry after use. We focused on non-acetone removers that swapped in more conditioning ingredients that effectively removed polish, and also nourished nails in the process.

Why Shop With Us

Lindsay Colameo has over 10 years’ experience as a writer, editor, and beauty industry expert for leading beauty publications including InStyle, Allure, and Byrdie. She has tested and expertly reviewed thousands of beauty products, sifting through an ever-multiplying assortment of products, to bring readers the tried, true, and vetted, best-of-the-best across makeup, nail care, haircare, and skincare. For this feature, we consulted Miss Pop, a New York-based celebrity nail artist to celebrities like Ariana Grande and Gwen Stefani, for her favorite non-toxic nail polish remover and insights into these gentler formulas.

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