There are a lot of gross chemicals in standard nail polishes, such as formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which aren’t good for you or the environment. Since more people have been hopping on the eco-friendly band wagon, companies and individuals have been searching and making different options that are both friendly for you and friendly for the earth!
First Option: 3-Free
3-Free nail polishes are made without the known carcinogens formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). They still have some not nice stuff in them, but it lessens the gross chemicals hanging out on your fingers and gives the same performance as standard nail polishes.
Second Option: 5-Free
5-Free nail polishes exclude what 3-free polishes do along with the chemicals camphor and formaldehyde resin. Less junk and all of the color and shine!
The downside with some 3- and 5- free polishes is that some companies will replace the chemicals they don’t include with other toxic ones. It’s definitely an area to do your research! There are also some newer companies that have come out with water-based polishes.
Third Option: Homemade Nail Polish
For all of the experimental DIY’ers! Most recipes have a plant base oil, a natural colorant (such as a clay, henna, berries, roots, etc), and beeswax. The advantages are the ability to totally customize your nail polish and they are super moisturizing with the natural oils and beeswax! The disadvantages are they take a long time to dry, don’t last as long, and can stain your nails the color of the polish.
So many options, so little time! Remember, always do your research. Many companies will put a label of “natural” on their cosmetics even though the products don’t have any eco or health benefits.