Nailing It: Dodging Toxic Chemicals in Your Nail Polish Like a Pro

Close up image of woman painting her nails pink

Let’s talk about something that might not be as glamorous as choosing the perfect shade of pink or glittery gold: toxic chemicals lurking in nail polish.

Now, before you start panicking and tossing out your entire nail polish collection, take a breather. As your favorite Toxicologist, I’m here to spill the tea on what’s really going on and how you can keep your nails looking fabulous without exposing yourself to unnecessary toxins.

First things first, let’s chat about some of the usual suspects you might find on the ingredient list of your favorite nail polish bottles:



Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)


These nasties have been known to hang out in traditional nail polish formulas, and they’re not exactly the kind of company you want to keep.

Formaldehyde? Yeah, it’s that stinky stuff they use to preserve dead things (yuck!). Toluene? It’s like the volatile fume that just won’t quit, and it’s been linked to all sorts of not-so-fun health issues. DBP? Let’s just say it’s got a bad reputation for messing with your hormones. And camphor? Well, let’s just say it’s not as chill as it sounds.

But fear not, fellow polish enthusiasts! There are plenty of nail polish brands out there that have sworn off these toxic troublemakers, opting for safer, more eco-friendly formulas instead.

Look out for labels that boast being “3-free,” “5-free,” “7-free,” or even “10-free” – these may seem like they’re free from a whole slew of nasties, making them a much healthier option, but it’s not always true.

According to a 2018 study, manufacturers are claiming to be “#-free” when in actuality, they’re substituting ingredients of concern with other ingredients with similar concerns, but aren’t widely known by consumers. This is called “regrettable substitution” which is devious to say the least (PMID: 30302996).

The way to avoid this is by reading the ingredients list to what you’re buying in the first place, which is exactly what you will learn inside the Safe Ingredient Academy.

Dr. Yvonne Approved Nail Products

Remember, there is no such thing as a “no risk” or “no tox” product, especially when it comes to nail polish. These are my top picks based on the ingredients, which in my opinion, are the least concerning.

Links provided on this page are affiliate links, which means if you click on it and make a purchase I may earn commission. The commission comes at no cost to you and allows me to continue providing free content. Note- I only recommend products that I personally use and trust. I will always disclose whether a link is an affiliate link, and never recommend products solely for the purpose of commission.
Nail Polish & Remover


My favorite nail polish & remover that I use this  on myself & my kids. Manicures last me about 7 days and I'm pretty rough on my hands.

10% off with code DRYVONNE

Nail Polish

Piggy Paint

Safer ingredients but chips easily

Nail Polish & Remover


Also makes great nail polish remover, but check the ingredients on every shade since some contain higher risk ingredients

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