7 Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands

The Clean Beauty Movement is gaining traction. With the rise of non-toxic nail polish brands, you can see the effects of the global movement on the nail care industry.

Being able to use a product without putting your health at risk is what clean beauty is all about. For this to happen, there needs to be a clean and safe list of ingredients.

In response to this, nail care brands have agreed on a list of potentially harmful chemicals to avoid. Non-toxic nail polish brands have also become more transparent with listing their ingredients.

This transparency allows consumers to become more conscious of the ingredients that they put in their bodies, homes, and even the products they purchase.

The "Toxic Trio" also known as the "Big 3"

Mainstream nail polish and nail lacquer products contain potentially toxic chemicals.

Researchers at Duke University and Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a study and found that chemicals in nail polish can soak through the nail and absorb into your body. You can read more about the study here.

After the results of this study became known, nail polish brands began removing ingredients from their products that could potentially be harmful to you, the consumer.

The following three ingredients in particular were identified and considered to have a high potential to disrupt your body:

  1. Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)
  2. Toluene
  3. Formaldehyde

These ingredients are known as the "Toxic Trio" also known as the "Big 3".

Dibutyl Phthalate, or DBP

Dibutyl Phthalate, or DBP is a plasticiser that's commonly added to nail polish to make it more durable and less prone to chips and cracks.

This chemical however, has been found to be an endocrine disruptor, and has been linked to reproductive issues.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a document detailing probable serious effects of DBP, here.

While DBP has been banned in Europe, it is still approved for use in the United States.


Toluene is a chemical found in crude oil and added to gasoline. It's also used to keep nail polish smooth and even when applied.

This toxic chemical has been linked to issues affecting the nervous system with symptoms that include dizziness, headaches, nausea and eye irritation.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) published an info sheet about Toluene's impact on the environment and your health, here.

Evidence has also been found that links Toluene to birth defects and developmental problems in children where mothers were exposed during pregnancy. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health published an article about it, here.

Toluene has been banned by the European Union, but it is still approved for use in the United States.


Formaldehyde is a chemical component found in plywood and particleboard, and is often used as a preservative, sterilizer and embalmer.

This chemical is also an ingredient found in a lot of nail polish and nail hardeners.

Product labels may list this ingredient as formaldehyde or by a different name, such as “formalin” and "methylene glycol.”

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and there have been many reports linking it to nasal and lung cancer.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) published a fact sheet about Formaldehyde and cancer risk, here.

What is non-toxic nail polish (3-free, 4-free, 5-free, 7-free, 10-free, 12-free)?

Non-toxic nail polish does not contain the "Toxic Trio" in their ingredients. This is why it's also known as 3-free nail polish.

You may come across variants of non-toxic nail polish that exclude other chemicals and ingredients that may be considered toxic.

These variants are labeled as 3-free, 4-free, 5-free, 7-free, 10-free, and 12-free (the number of chemicals your nail polish is free from).

3-Free Polish

Does not contain the "Toxic Trio."

4-Free Polish

Does not contain the "Toxic Trio" or formaldehyde resin.

5-Free Polish

Does not contain the "Toxic Trio," formaldehyde resin, or camphor.

6-Free Polish

Does not contain the "Toxic Trio," formaldehyde resin, camphor, or parabens.

7-Free Polish

Does not contain the "Toxic Trio," formaldehyde resin, camphor, parabens, or xylene.

10-Free Polish

Does not contain the "Toxic Trio," formaldehyde resin, camphor, parabens, xylene, fragrances, phthalates, or animal ingredients.

12-Free Polish

Does not contain the "Toxic Trio," formaldehyde resin, camphor, parabens, xylene, fragrances, phthalates, animal ingredients, ethyl tosylamide, or triphenyl phosphate.

Top 7 Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands

At Nothing in Between Studio we don't use polishes that contain the "Toxic Trio."

So, if you're looking to get a non-toxic manicure or pedicure in Virginia, you've come to the right place!

Here are the 7 best non-toxic nail polish brands that we use at Nothing in Between Studio.

Dazzle Dry

Dazzle Dry - Nail Lacquer

Dazzle Dry is a brand that offers a high performing four-step system (Nail Prep, Base Coat, Lacquer, Top Coat) that delivers gel-like results without the use of harsh chemicals.

Madam Glam

Madam Glam - Soak-Off Gel Polish

Madam Glam is a brand that offers healthy and natural products with 9-Free, vegan (doesn't contain animal ingredients or by-products), cruelty-free (not tested on animals), and gluten-free nails and gels polishes.


TenoverTen - non-toxic nail polish

TenoverTen is a brand that offers 8-free, but also cruelty-free and vegan nail products.


Zoya - Professional Lacquer (non-toxic)

Zoya is a brand that makes a long-lasting natural nail polish. Zoya offers 4-free nail polish, nail care, and nail polish removers.


CND Vinylux - Weekly Polish

CND is a nail polish brand that offers a 7-free product.

Deborah Lippmann

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro

Deborah Lippmann gel lap pro nail polishes is a 10-free formulation that is also cruelty-free and vegan.

Palate Polish

Palate Polish

Palate Polish is a vegan 10-free polish that is also cruelty-free and vegan.

Where to get a non-toxic manicure and pedicure?

Nothing in Between Studio currently has locations in Falls Church, VA and Tysons, VA.

We offer non-toxic manicure and non-toxic pedicure services at both of our locations.

Learn more about our services, here and book an appointment today!