I have a confession: I am a nail polish fein. I probably own more than 50 bottles of nail polish. However, there’s one thing about my collection, it had to through a complete overhaul about 15 years ago when I found out I had an allergy to many toxins found in most nail polishes including formaldehyde, resin, formaldehyde resin, and toluene.
Back then, that meant I didn’t have many choices. I remember searching the internet for something I could use, and when I finally found an option with maybe 5 color options—I ordered them all. And, when they arrived, the consistency was like applying wall paint to my nails. Removing it was just as tough. It was horrible. For a while, I had to keep my nails clear while I continued to search.
Finally, I stumbled upon Zoya, which was one of the first brands to remove toxic ingredients such as toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and DBP from their formulations. Zoya is not sold at discount stores, so for years I shopped solely online, until I was able to find it at a few local salon specialty stores. I use their polish, base and topcoats, and their nail polish remover (a 3-in-1 formula) e is the best in my opinion. The three steps in this formula are a polish remover, a nail prep, and nail conditioner. You can try out a mini of their “lock” system, which includes the remover, base coat, top coat, and dry drops before purchasing a full size.
For when I want something quick and accessible, the tried-and-true Sally Hansen still comes through. The brand recently launched their PURE line, which is plant-based and 16-free, which means it doesn’t contain 16 different toxins, plus it’s vegan. However, all of their lines are safe for those with sensitive skin, as it’s one of the brand’s specialties. (I’ve tried most and haven’t had a reaction.) My personal favorites are the PURE line and the Miracle Gel, which is a long lasting gel-like formula without using the UV LED Nail lamp often used for gel manicures.
Another brand that’s pretty new and easily accessible is Olive & June, which can be found at stores like Target. Two of my favorite products from this line, other than the polishes, are the dry drops (the actually work!) and the cuticle remover, which exfoliates and softens your cuticles so you can push them right off without the need to nip them.