Chemicals plastered to your nails for a week? Um, no thanks. Until fairly recently, our digits were often subjected to five sketchy—and outright toxic—ingredients every time we got a mani-pedi. We’re talking formaldehyde (yes, the stuff they use to preserve dead bodies), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor, which can do a bunch of nasty things to your body, from triggering allergies to disrupting your endocrine system. If you’ve been on the hunt for formaldehyde free nail polish, you’re not alone.
To the rescue is a group of trailblazing, wellness-savvy lines like Priti and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics who are helping change the nail game big time. Now, even more manicure companies are jumping on the 5-free bandwagon—and they don’t skimp on quality, color, or creativity, either.
With so many healthier mani options on the market, does that mean chemical-heavy formulas will soon be a thing of the past? We have our (well-polished) fingers crossed.
Want formaldehyde free nail polish? Keep reading for 23 top picks.
Known for: Super-shiny, edgy polishes created by Dineh Mohajer, the beauty mastermind who launched Hard Candy.
Shade to try: Kundalini Hustle, $18, a classic color that goes from office to yoga mat in a single breath.
Known for: Its 85 percent natural formulation (it’s based on wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes, and corn), and cool concepts are influenced by its founder, Brazilian-model Kartika Luyet.
Shade to try: Cappuccino, $16—the ultimate go-to nude.
Known for: Chip-resistant lacquers in shades inspired by each season’s fashion trends.
Shade to try: Paraiso, $16, a serene sky blue, which pairs perfectly with your leather jacket and leggings.
Known for: Fresh, high-pigment hues that span the rainbow—plus, they’re vegan, gluten-free, and developed by a doctor (true story).
Shade to try: My 2 Jeffs, named after founder Dr. Cary Gannon, MD’s ex-husband…and new BF. Irony goes with everything.
Known for: Super fun sparkles, metallics, opaques, and holographics—if you can dream it, NCLA has probably made it.
Shade to try: Saltwater Baths, $18, because the only thing more transfixing than glittery nail polish is holographic glitter nail polish.
Known for: Simple, wear-anywhere hues with minimal streakage, from the cult-fave natural beauty brand.
Shade to try: Myth, $15, for those days when you just need a little shimmer.
Known for: Vegan lacquers in almost every shade imaginable, and one-handed grippable handles.
Known for: Inventive, professional-grade polishes made for literally every occasion—including red carpet affairs. (Lippman is a celeb and fashion editor favorite.)
Shade to try: Beauty School Dropout, $20. Dusty rose totally works as a neutral.
Known for: Being one of the first 5-free polish brands to offer bold, creative colors.
Shade to try: Tecnhopagen, $10. Consider it a fashionable shout-out to your dark side.
Known for: An impressive lineup of more than 54 non-toxic colors, the Berlin-based company also has a soy polish remover, too—it gets the job done sans toxins or weird smell.
Shade to try: Arthouse, $18. Because sometimes all you need is a rich, dark hue to channel your inner iconoclast.
Known for: Super-rich (yet wallet-friendly) vegan lacquers in tons of solid shades, metallics, and shimmers.
Shade to try: I’m So Over Him, $12, a surprisingly wearable bright purple.
Known for: Chic vegan lacquers that are high-shine and have a UV inhibitor.
Shade to try: #1976, $14.99, a blast of minty freshness without the added sugar.
Known for: Show-stopping nail wraps. But you should also know about the brand’s creamy, 5-free lacquers for when you want to keep things clean and simple.
Shade to try: Metallic Chrome Silver. An $8 answer to a fail-proof high-end nail job.
Known for: Being a backstage go-to at New York Fashion Week. (Priti’s been spotted on model hands at The Row, Coach, H&M, and Acne Studios.)
Shade to try: Ice Plant, $9.99, for those moments when you need to feel more grounded.
Known for: A constantly rotating roster of polish colors available a la carte or as part of a monthly subscription Maven box.
Shade to try: Maggie, $14, for days when you just want to wear purple glitter.
Known for: Going the distance with 7-free formulas and a wide,100 percent vegan paint brush.
Shade to try: Nirvana Nirvana, $9, to give yourself instant vacay vibes.
Known for: Chip-proof, salon-quality paints that last up to ten days, and Fashion Week cred galore.
Known for: Gel-caliber staying power and a new color collections launched every few months.
Shade to try: Barefoot, $10.50, for when you want a little something on your toes during yoga.
Known for: Its Los Angeles-based, toxin-free nail art salon and more than 100 hand-poured polish colors.
Shade to try: No. 92, $18. There’s nothing basic about this shiny black.
Known for: Mini polish sets created by Hipp, who is known as the “Celebrity Green Nail Stylist.”
Shades to try: Air Kisses, $9.95, to finally replace your go-to chemical-laden Mademoiselle and Ballet Slippers hues.
Known for: A mind-blowing array of color options (seriously, there are so many) and a new Naked Manicure nail correction system that makes roughed-up tips look like new.
Shade to try: Evergreen, $10, for the perfect electric touch.
Known for: Runway-ready manicures (Jin Soon is a New York Fashion Week staple) in the chicest-of-chic hues.
Shade to try: Kookie White, $18, perfect for when you want a clean look without going full-blown white.
Known for: Going beyond 5-free with an 8-free, vegan polish line, available online and at Tenoverten salons.
Shade to try: Cliff, $18, the perfect burnt orange for fall.
Nail polish isn’t the only beauty staple getting a clean makeover. There’s a whole clean beauty revolution going on. And if you want to go all out, here are seven tips to help make the transition to all-natural makeup.