The 6 best non-toxic nail polish removers of 2021


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Nothing makes you feel faster than a fresh manicure or pedicure (or both). There are a number of non-toxic ways to achieve naturally beautiful nails without polish. But it’s also fun to express yourself, improve your look, and take care of yourself by adding color or design to your nails. With the variety of nail color options and styles available today, perhaps the hardest part is choosing the color that currently reflects your personality and mood.

Nail polishes have come a long way from their more toxic early days, although the ingredients in nail polish still vary widely from brand to brand. There are more and more brands of non-toxic and less toxic nail polish on the market as consumers continue to demand them.

The dried and cured part of nail polish is a polymer, usually a form of plastic, made from a combination of pigments, hardeners and binders specially designed to resist wear and tear, making them more difficult to remove. to remove. This emphasis on durability and long-lasting color also means that when it’s time for a change or re-coating, only ingredients that can dissolve plastics will work effectively. These ingredients are called solvents.

Unfortunately, to date, there is no completely non-toxic way to remove nail polish because there is no such thing as a completely non-toxic solvent. Even manual scraping removes layers of healthy nails. So we highlight below the less toxic, effective, well rated and easy to use nail polish removers. Most contain the chemical known as denatonium benzoate, a bitter agent. These agents are used to deter people (including young children) and animals from accidentally drinking it or getting drunk. Always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s safety recommendations.

If you are looking for a non-toxic nail polish remover, here are some of the best options.

Final verdict

Generally speaking, you can skip the nail polish and hence the need for nail polish remover by sticking to a natural manicure. But when choosing to wear polish, opt for Piggy Paint Low Odor No Acetone Nail Polish Remover (see on Amazon) when it’s time to take it off. It uses a less toxic solvent. If you’re willing to spend the time and the elbow grease, try Karma Naturals Organic Soybean Oil Lavender Nail Polish Remover (see on Amazon) to avoid plastic wrap.

What to look for in non-toxic nail polish remover

Solvents and allergens

Most nail polish removers are highly flammable because they contain chemicals called solvents that dissolve the plastics in nail polish. Propylene carbonate is a more harmless solvent than acetone, but it does not work as quickly or easily. If you’re willing to work a little harder on removal, go for solvents that use propylene carbonate as the main ingredient. However, many are combined with soy ingredients, so check the label if you are allergic to soy products.

Acetone and other solvents used to remove nail polish are generally very flammable and can also permanently damage furniture, rugs and especially other fabrics and synthetic surfaces. You will want to avoid sources of ignition like candles, cigarettes, and sources of sparks when using them.

Several brands have started dispensing nail polish remover in a splash-proof pump (see on Amazon). But you can also purchase a reusable pump bottle separately. Pumps generally have a wider base and are more resistant to tipping, and also won’t leak when tipped. The top of the pump allows you to push a cotton ball or swab down onto a spout, receiving one “dose” per pump. It’s much safer than tipping over and pouring the whole bottle over your cotton ball.

Avoid artificial fragrances and the toxic trio

When researching EWG ratings for environmental and human health, we have found that many solvents that use propylene carbonate or acetone based solvents receive poor ratings due to the addition of scents and colors. . Scents are added to help cover the alcohol smells of the solvent ingredients, and while they smell better, they aren’t better for you. Many artificial fragrances are respiratory irritants and some are known mimics of estrogen that can disrupt our delicate hormonal systems through endocrine disruption.

While most nail polish is completely harmless, some are not that harmless. Online and on packaging, you will probably notice the mention of the “toxic nail polish trio” which includes dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde. Each is an industrial chemical used in various ways that is also known to have significant negative effects on the health of humans. Consider choosing varnishes and other nail products marketed under the names “3-Free”, “5-Free”, “7-Free” or “10-Free” because they do not have this toxic trio.


Does non-toxic nail polish remover work on all types of manicures?

Not all non-toxic nail polish is created the same. In general, the softer ones don’t work as well on gel and acrylic nails because they use stronger glues and adhesives. There is therefore no general rule regarding the effectiveness of non-toxic solvents.

Check the label before purchasing. Manufacturers do not want to disappoint their customers because many also sell varnishes, cosmetics and other beauty products. This is why most strippers will make it clear that they work on “all types” of varnish or list the types that they do not work well with.

Is it safe to make my own nail polish remover?

There are a number of DIY recipes online that use non-toxic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, hand sanitizer, and even deodorant to remove nail polish. However, how effective they are depends on the type of polish and how long and hard you work on it, and some don’t work at all. You’ve probably noticed while cooking that your polish doesn’t fall off or go away when you squeeze a lemon or spill vinegar on your hands.

When handling solvents, such as acetone from the hardware store, know where you are working. You will want to pour and work outdoors or in well-ventilated areas free from open flames and sources of sparks that could ignite the solvent or its fumes.

Does non-toxic nail polish remover expire?

While most nail polish removers don’t have an expiration date, the solvents they contain usually evaporate quickly if left in the open for a while. Close containers securely when not in use and safely dispose of any container that appears to be swelling or swelling.

In general, a nail polish remover that is not contaminated and that is stored in tightly closed containers can last for several years. But over a longer period of time, the solvents in nail polish remover can slowly break down. Acetone breaks down when exposed to ultraviolet light from sunlight to gases like methane and ethane. Propylene carbonate can decompose into propylene glycol, a common ingredient in cosmetics, rated “3” by EWG.

If you use the container often, replace it more frequently, for example every year. Otherwise, you can wait a few more years or more if stored properly and out of direct sunlight.

Why trust Treehugger?

To put together this list, we’ve taken a careful look at all the ingredients in a line of popular nail polish removers. We also studied user experiences to make sure the products will do the job.

Unless otherwise noted, each of the brands on this list scored a “1” in the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep database, which ranks products based on the human and environmental toxicity of their ingredients. chemical. We have found that only a small percentage of the products on the market have been evaluated by the EWG and that most contain at least some ingredients known to be harmful at high concentrations and under exposure scenarios.

Lorraine Wilde has only the highest standards for what goes on her family’s skin and in our delicate bodies of water. Lorraine also holds a master’s degree in environmental science with a specialization in toxicology. She firmly believes that consumers can make healthy, informed and environmentally responsible choices to protect their families and our planet.


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