11 Less Toxic Nail Polishes That’ll Replace Your Favorite Shades


Look, I love a good mani/pedi as much as the next person (if not more, mani/pedis are legit one of my favorite hobbies and a mommy/daughter date MUST in our house) but in 2018 there is no excuse for painting your well-manicured hands with toxic nail polish. The trouble is, there are SO many iconic-for-good-reason colors that have some pretty harmful ingredients in them.

The struggle is real for those of us wanting to utilize less-toxic products because the colors and formulas of many of the most-loved polishes are worthy of a ‘mani monday’ post any day of the week. That being said, there are tons of other options out there so I made it my mission to source less-toxic, even cruelty-free options for 10 of the very best shades sans yucky harmful chemicals like Toluene or Formaldehyde.


Smith & Cult

‘Stockholm Syndrome'

If you’ve fallen for Essie’s ‘Chinchilly’, try Smith & Cult ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. It’s 5-free formula and comes in a beautiful bottle you will be glad you have for your next #shelfie.

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Habit Cosmetic’s

Moon Rock

Essie’s ‘Mademoiselle’ deserves a crown even though it’s not the Duchess of Sussex’s favorite color (more on that later). If you love ‘Mademoiselle’ as much as everyone else, try Habit Cosmetic’s Moon Rock. Habit describes it as their answer to pure white polish, it flatters every skin tone. So there you have it, the perfect neutral or wedding color for well, everyone.

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Habit Cosmetics

‘Soft Focus’

Another favorite from Habit Cosmetics is ‘Soft Focus’ is eerily similar to Essie’s ‘Bikini So Teeny’ (a sparkling cornflower blue) and has been my favorite all Summer long. One thing I really appreciate about Habit’s adaptation is that it is matte where ‘Bikini So Teeny’ boasts a sparkle. If you like more of a glitter effect, consider Pacifica’s Rainbow Gloss as a top coat.

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Floss Gloss

'Neon Nacho'

Floss Gloss ‘Neon Nacho’ is not only a drool-inducing name, but also a hot-fire option of you’re crushing on OPI’s ‘Summer Lovin’ Having a Blast!’ shade. Orange might really be the new black, you guys.

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Priti NYC

Pink Jewel Carnation

Of course, I couldn’t talk about iconic nail polish if I didn’t bring up Essie’s ‘Ballet Slippers’ I mean, it’s Meghan Markle approved for crying out loud. She wore it to her wedding Well, Priti NYC Pink Jewel Carnation is a darn close light pink w/ opalescent shine and they’ll help you recycle your old nail polish.

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Everyone needs a classic white shade and OZN ‘Camille’ gives us all the OPI ‘Alpine Snow’ non-toxic dupe we’ve been waiting for. The shade is a versatile one everyone needs, but what I love about this formula is the color payoff. Everyone will compliment your well-done nails on this one.

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'No. 13’

For those days you want something metallic, reach for Côte polishes’ best seller, ‘No. 13’. It is completely reminiscent of Essie’s ‘Penny Talk’, but cruelty-free, vegan and free of the major toxins!

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Lauren B’s

‘Rodeo Drive’

If you’ve been longing for Essie’s popular shade, ‘Forever Yummy’ Lauren B’s lively ‘Rodeo Drive’ shade has got you covered. The bristles of her brushes are top-notch and basically fool-proof. I’m always pretty impressed with myself after I do an at-home mani with this formula.

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Honestly, I’ve loved ‘Angora Cardi’ from Essie so much after discovering it on pinterest years ago while searching ‘best mani colors for every skin tone.’ I recently discovered Zoya ‘Joni’ is almost an exact dupe and it is incredibly long wearing. Zoya’s price point is right too.

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Habit Cosmetics


I love OPI’s ‘Cajun Shrimp’ almost as much as I love actual New Orleans. Luckily, Habit Cosmetics made ‘Tabou’ which similarly bold and striking. It will make you feel like you’re on vacation in the French Quarter.

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Lauren B’s

‘Parade of Peonies’

Okay so Essie’s #1 best-seller last year was ‘Topless and Barefoot’ and it’s probably not just because the name is #lifegoals. The color is universally flattering and so approachable. Lauren B’s ‘Parade of Peonies’ will give you the color your looking for with a brush that’s been pre-lacquered so your polish glides on smoothly and streak-free, plus the formula is chip-resistant.

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With this many safer options, the most difficult part of cleaning up your nail polish game will be not buying them all.

Article and Images by Bethann Wagner. You can view more content by Bethann on her blog bethanimalprint.com and on her Instagram here.

Meet Bethann

Hi, I’m Bethann!  I’m wifed up and have two rambunctious kids. My family and I live in Los Angeles (in less than 1,000 square feet) and I love sharing bits of our life and writing about skincare, fitness and motherhood.

When I’m not chasing kids around or hustling through the influencer grind, I’m looking for ways to be more eco-friendly. I’ve recently challenged myself to give up shopping for a whole year.  It’s given me more more time for things I really love, like weightlifting, making protein smoothies, hanging out with my crazy family or sipping on a big ‘ole glass of local red wine.

You can find me online at bethanimalprint.com.

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