Learn all about good-for-you, but effective polish. Plus, get our top picks—we found a brand with an impressive 16-free formula that you can trust.

By Erica Sloan
February 05, 2020
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Kirsten Francis

If you're tuned into the natural beauty movement, you've likely already learned that nail polish has officially joined the ranks. While there's no FDA-regulated definition for "natural," for anything from nail lacquers to shampoo, more and more companies are excluding chemicals with known or possible health effects from their formulations, says Carla Burns, research and database analyst at the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C.

Her best advice for selecting good-for-you, but effective polish formulas? Look for specific terminology on the bottles: "3-free" means the product doesn't contain formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (polishes by both Essie and OPI fall into this category), while labels like "7-free and "14-free" signify that the company has removed even more questionable ingredients. We're fans of long-lasting, 10-free Zoya and Sundays polishes, as well as Sally Hansen's new Good. Kind. Pure. collection, which boasts 30 chic shades. Even more impressive? The line is 16-free and vegan—right down to the brush, which is made from plant-based fibers especially designed to lay down the varnish smoothly. Below, our favorite colorways to wear—in good health—all year long.

Related: Are Dip Powder Manicures Actually Safe?

Courtesy of Sally Hansen

A true-as-it-gets pink, this feminine, 16-free shade is here to replace your current go-to.

Shop Now: Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure Nail Polish in Be-gone-ia, $6.27, walmart.com.

Courtesy of Sally Hansen

Deepier and moodier than Be-gone-ia, Pinky Clay exudes pure romanticism.

Shop Now: Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure Nail Polish in Pinky Clay, $6.79, target.com.

Courtesy of Sally Hansen

Searching for an earthy terra-cotta-meets-pink hybrid? You've found it in Pink Cardamom.

Shop Now: Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure Nail Polish in Pink Cardamom, $8.99, ulta.com.

Courtesy of Sally Hansen

Speaking of earthy: This aptly-named cross between nude and gray feels vibrant and fresh—never flat.

Shop Now: Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure Nail Polish in Mother Earth, $6.72, walmart.com.

Courtesy of Sally Hansen

Put down your go-to oxblood shade and consider this rich hue—a cross between sepia and maroon—instead.

Shop Now: Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure Nail Polish in Grape Vine, $6.79, target.com.

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