There’s no such thing as organic nail polish. Lacquers are made from chemicals, FD&C dyes (approved by the F.D.A. as safe), and possibly colorants derived from the cochineal beetle, which are commonly used in cosmetics. But a handful of brands are now free of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, and formaldehyde—ingredients that either have confirmed or suspected health risks to you and the nail techs that paint fingers and toes eight hours a day. These “three-free formulas” aren’t available everywhere, so it’s best to do as we suggest with pedicure tools: Buy your own polishes and bring them to the spa with you. (All the better to touch up any chips, as well.)
Our favorite “three-free formulas”:
We miss Kim D’Amato’s tiny East Village organic spa, but her 100-plus polishes and soy-based remover are alive and well online and at eco-friendly spas and boutiques around the city including the Apothecary at ABC Carpet and Home (888 Broadway at 19th St.). Priti Polish, $12.50, www.pritinyc.com
Every Fashion Week finds CND artfully coating the claws of the catwalk. But this year the models wore the new range of 50 custom colors (you layer them with 15 variously shimmered effects), all formulated without the bad stuff.
Where to get polished: Visit CND for spas that will be carrying the new colors, $9, www.goindulge.com and www.CND.com
The glamorous green sister brand to OPI is also vegan. That means no insect-derived colorants. The fall colors rock. Or are inspired by them, as well as minerals, metallics, and gems, like Regal (pictured). Where to get polished: Great Jones Spa (29 Great Jones St., 212-505-3185). SpaRitual, $10, www.sparitual.com
Do you bring your own nail polish to spas? Tell us, here!