Non-Toxic Nail Polish

Gabriel color card

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It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that nail polish is not the healthiest thing to put on your body.

After all, nail polish is paint.  It doesn’t wash off.  It (usually) doesn’t chip.  That can’t be healthy, right?

It turns out that–as you might imagine–most nail polish contains at least three major toxins: Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Toluene and Formaldehyde.  

I won’t spend time detailing the ill effects of these chemicals; you can read all about them from the links at the end of the post.  They’re bad stuff.

What we’re looking for is “Three-Free” polish, meaning it is free of those three nasty chemicals.  

Now, you should also be aware that “Three-Free” polish is much better than regular nail polish, but is still not technically a healthy, natural product to apply to our bodies.

But, if you’re like me, you still want to paint your toe nails, even if it’s slightly risky.  So, here are a few “Three-Free” polishes I’ve tried, with good results.

(You may also want to check out the links below, for additional “Three-Free” options.)

Three-Free Nail Polish 

1.  Sally Girl

Sally Girl polish comes in teeny, tiny bottles, which is perfect for me.  I use polish only on my toes, and change it so infrequently that I’ve never, ever gone through an entire bottle of nail polish.

sally girl store display
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The Sally Girl display at my local Sally Beauty Supply. (My apologies for the poor quality phone pic.)

Sally Girl polish is actually aimed at little girls, which is why it’s free of the three major chemicals, and why the bottles are so small.

It’s also the reason why mostly only bright colors are available, with no “mature” shades.  I happen to love the three colors I selected (see first photo above), especially for summer time.

Sally Girl blue
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Sally Girl polish bottles are so tiny, there didn’t seem to be any room for color names. I call this one “Sally Girl Blue.” Original, I know.

Another bonus: the tiny bottles are only $.99 each (available at Sally Beauty Supply stores).



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This is the base coat used at my local nail salon.

2.  Spa Ritual

My nail salon introduced me to this brand of Three-Free polish.  They’ve got an amazing array of shades!

Unfortunately, my salon doesn’t sell the polish.  They use the clear base coat on all clients, which is fantastic.  I haven’t tried any SpaRitual color polishes, because I always take my own color in order to do touch ups at home, if necessary.

SpaRitual polish can be purchased online, and I would imagine that more and more salons will begin to carry the line.  I even saw some random colors recently at Marshall’s!



3.  Gabriel

This line of polish is available at My Favorite Health Food Store, which is how I came to own the clear polish and the shimmery Guava Glaze.

Gabriel Guava Glaze
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The quality of the polish seems good, but I didn’t wind up loving the color I chose.  I should have realized it was a “glaze” and would have more of a shimmery transparent look, as opposed to the shiny, opaque look I was going for.  (Seems obvious now, when I look at the picture above, and at the color card below.  Oh-well.)

Gabriel color card
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I’d still love to try some of their other shades.


Do you have a favorite Three-Free nail polish?


Sources and Additional Reading

Looking for Non-Toxic Personal Care Products?




Gabriel color card
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Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. Angela on 09/04/2013 at 1:39 pm

    I like Deb Lippmann’s nail polish..I usually get on HSN or at Nordstrom as they are also without these 3

    • Kathleen on 09/06/2013 at 10:22 am

      Haven’t heard of that brand–will have to keep an eye out for it. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Katie B on 09/08/2013 at 10:38 pm

    Zoya is 3 free. Supposedly, they were the first brand to do so. Aveda Institutes use spa ritual polish and they will give you a small bottle for touch ups. Plus, their prices are great since they are a cosmetology school. I have also heard OPI is 3 free even though it doesn’t strive to be a “natural” brand.

    What nail polish remover do y’all use?

    • Kathleen on 09/09/2013 at 11:16 am

      Katie–Yes, I’ve heard of Zoya. Have you used their polish? And is Aveda Institutes different from a regular Aveda salon? I’m surprised that OPI is 3-Free. I just got rid of a bunch of it, because I thought it was not! Bummer, but I’m glad to know. Thanks for all this great info!

      Oh, and I haven’t research polish remover yet. Honestly, I rarely remove my own polish (it’s only on my toes). I just let them do it at the nail salon, and I’m not sure what they use there. Sorry I can’t be more helpful…

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