This is how a natural nail polish works with organic nail polish

What harmful substances are hidden in conventional nail polish, what is behind the free label and what are the most beautiful brands for natural organic nail polish?

Organic nail polish free from harmful substances
Source & Copyright by Kester Black

Author: July Becker

  • Organic nail polish is not without it Chemistry, but healthier and more environmentally friendly
  • Pollutants in nail polish can be absorbed into the body
  • The “Free” system shows which ones Nutritional Values are not included

The organic trend has not passed decorative cosmetics by: nail polish without harmful substances can be found in more and more drugstores as well Online Shops. But why is conventional nail polish even problematic and is organic nail polish really completely chemical-free? We give an overview and introduce the most famous brands for organic nail polish.

Related topics: Zero waste bathroom: oasis of wellbeing in the name of sustainability

What's in conventional nail polish?

Conventional nail polish usually consists of synthetic ingredients, at least a few of which are very harmful to health and the environment. The use of these harmful ingredients, among others, is widespread in conventional nail polishes:

  • Phthalates - plasticizers that have been proven to be hazardous to health and may influence the hormonal balance.
  • Toluene - a solvent that may impair fertility and may damage the embryo during an existing pregnancy.
  • Formaldehyde - solvent that can cause redness and irritation.
  • Parabens - preservatives that are also suspected of influencing the hormonal balance.
  • Xylenes - solvents that may cause respiratory irritation.

Several studies have shown that chemicals can be absorbed into the body through the nails. One more reason to use organic nail polish from now on.
But not all organic nail polish is the same. Means: Not every manufacturer does without the same problematic ingredients. Which ingredients are not in an organic nail polish is indicated by the “Free” system.

bio nail polish

Free Label - These ingredients are not in organic nail polish

  • 3-Free: no formaldehyde, toluene or dibutyl phthalate
  • 5-Free: no formaldehyde resin or camphor
  • 7-Free: no animal ingredients or animal testing
  • 10-Free: additionally no parabens, fragrances and xylenes

A natural cosmetic nail polish is only vegan if it has at least the 7-Free label. And natural nail polish cannot do without chemicals: after all, the color should still last a long time, shine brilliantly and be able to be applied without leaving streaks. Nonetheless, less chemistry is of course always healthier and more environmentally friendly than more. The use of natural cosmetics nail polish is definitely worth it.

The fact that experts are now warning against Shellac and gel nails, as these pose a risk of skin cancer that should not be underestimated, motivates even more to ditch conventional nail polish. Above all, UV radiation is harmful to health and the nail cap made of gel is extremely inviting for bacteria and germs that can cause infections of the nail bed.

High-end organic nail polish - our top 5 brands

There are alternatives to Dior, Chanel and Co., which naturally beautify the nails and at the same time miss a luxurious look. These are our favorite brands.

1. Smith & Cult

smith and cult

Smith & Cult shines with impressive, long-lasting colors as well as shapely nail polish bottles that you don't even want to banish in the cosmetics cabinet.

Key facts: 8-Free, cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free
Does not contain: formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, methylbenzene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), camphor, ethyl tosylamides, xylene and triphenyl phosphate (TPP)
Price: approx. 24 euros per bottle

2. Butter London

Butter london

Butter London has been producing organic nail polishes in beautiful colors since 2005, which are not only free from all possible harmful substances, but are also supposed to last for up to ten days.

Key facts: 10-Free, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free
Does not contain: formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, methylbenzene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), camphor, ethyl tosylamides, xylene and triphenyl phosphate (TPP)
Price: approx. 15 euros per bottle

3. Gitti


Gitti is a young label from Berlin, whose nail polishes are not only low in pollutants, but also care for the nails with vitamins. Caution: After applying, keep the paint away from hot water for around four hours.

Key facts: 16-Free, vegan, cruelty-free, odorless, water-based
Does not contain: formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, methylbenzene, phthalates (including DBP), camphor, ethyl tosylamides, xylene, triphenyl phosphate (TPP), ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, N-propyl acetate, cellulose nitrate, UV filters, parabens and fragrances
Price: approx. 18 euros per bottle

4. Kester Black

kester black

The label Kester Black comes from Australia and offers a very large selection of different, great colors that last a long time.

Key facts: 10-Free, vegan, cruelty-free, company supports sustainable production methods
Does not contain: formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, methylbenzene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), camphor, ethyl tosylamides, xylene and triphenyl phosphate (TPP), fragrances
Price: approx. 20 euros per bottle

5. Deborah Lippmann


The nail polishes from Deborah Lippmann are a great alternative to gel manicures. In combination with the base and top coat, the nails will shine for many days.

Key facts: 7-Free, vegan, cruelty-free
Does not contain: formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, methylbenzene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), camphor, ethyl tosylamides, xylene and triphenyl phosphate (TPP), fragrances
Price: approx. 25 euros per bottle

Are there also organic nail polish removers?

If only natural nail polish comes on the nails, the nail polish remover should also be low in pollutants. In fact, when it comes to nail polish removers, it's relatively easy to rely on a natural base. Conventional nail polish removers usually contain the aggressive solvent acetone. This enters the body through the skin and is also inhaled when the fingernails are painted.

The result: irritated airways, eyes and skin. You may also experience dizziness, headaches and nausea. Last but not least, many people also find the smell of acetone nail polish remover very unpleasant. Natural cosmetics nail polish removers are water-based, sometimes completely alcohol-free, and instead of chemicals, organic nail polish removers smell like lemon, peach or nothing at all. Well-known brands for natural nail polish removers are for example Benecos, GG Naturell, Kia-Charlotta and Suncoat.


Absorb even fewer pollutants with two precautionary measures when painting

There is also chemistry in organic nail polish, so here are a few tips that make painting with natural cosmetics nail polish less harmful:

  • When applying the nail polish should not get on the skin. When painting, it is important to ensure that only the nails are actually touched.
  • Nail polish vapors that are inhaled are not necessarily harmless, even with natural nail polish. At best, you paint your nails on the terrace or balcony. If that is not possible, the apartment simply has to be ventilated after painting.

How can I tell whether there are harmful ingredients in a nail polish?

The “Free” system is a very good starting point to distinguish low-pollutant from high-pollutant nail polish. However, not all manufacturers use the “free” system. That is why it is important to look carefully when buying nail polish. In particular, nail polish should not contain the following four ingredients that are hazardous to health:

  1. Dibutyl phthalate (DBT)
  2. toluene
  3. formaldehyde

If you can identify one of these four ingredients on the label of the nail polish, then you should keep your hands off it. Apps like CodeCheck also help to identify and avoid harmful substances in decorative and care cosmetics. And when it comes to nail polish removers, it pays to use natural cosmetics alternatives. If only because nail polish removers without acetone and alcohol are much gentler on the skin.


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